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The aims of the study were to determine the in vitro cytotoxicity and anti-inflammatory activities of common
edible herbs and spices on cultured human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs). Piper betle L. (betel leaf), P.sarmentosum Roxb.
(wild betel / kadok leaf), P.nigrum L. (black pepper seed), Eugenia caryophyllata L. (clove bud) and Cinnamomum
zeylanicum Blume (cinnamon bark). Essential oils were extracted using steam distillation technique and analysed using
gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The HGFs were exposed to essential
oils at 5 - 0.04 µg/mL in less than 1% dimethylsulfoxide and the number of viable cells was counted to assess cytotoxicity
effect. Anti-inflammatory action was determined via the inhibitory action of Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a major proinflammatory
cytokine in the periodontal tissue inflammation. Treatment of fibroblasts with essential oils resulted in >
70% cell viability. The oils from black pepper seed, clove bud and cinnamon bark showed dose-dependent inhibitory
action on IL-6 on cultured bacterial Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced human gingival fibroblasts. Of all the oils,
cinnamon bark oil showed the most prominent action comparable to acetylsalicylic acid. Conclusion: Essential oils of
selected herbs and spices retained compatibility with gingival fibroblasts in culture and showed inhibitory activity on IL-6
released by LPS-induced HGFs. These findings suggest therapeutic potential for application of assay in the management
of periodontal disease.