Abstract: The effects of some Iranian herbal essences have been evaluated on the function of immune system using experimental animals. Rabbits received Zataria multiflora, Geranium pelargonium, Myrth, Lemon essences and normal saline (control group), 6 times with 6 days of interval. Five days after the last injection of the essences, Candida albicans antigens were injected into all the animals. Phagocytosis and killing assays and lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) were carried out on blood samples. The cellular immunity was significantly stimulated against C. albicans antigens and Con-canavalin A (Con-A) mitogen in animals that injected subcutaneously with Z. multiflora and G. pelargonium in comparison with the control group, whereas Myrth essence had no considerable effect and Lemon essence suppressed the cellular responses. Zataria multiflora, Myrth and Lemon essences stimulated innate immunity when injected subcutaneously, whereas G. pelargonium essence had no significant effect. Humoral responses to Candida antigens were significantly decreased in animals injected with Lemon essence as compared to other essences (p< 0.05).
Key words: Candida albicans, zataria, Geranium, immunostimulation, innate immunity.