Phytoncides are antimicrobial allelochemic volatile organic compounds derived from plants. The word, which means "exterminated by the plant", was coined in 1928 by Dr. Boris P. Tokin, a Russian biochemist from Leningrad University. He found that some plants give off very active substances which prevent them from rotting or being eaten by some insects and animals. Various spices, onion, garlic, tea tree, oak and pine trees, and many other plants give off phytoncides. Oak contains a substance called greenery alcohol; garlic contains allicin and diallyl disulfide; Sophora flavescens contains sophoraflavanone G; and pine contains alpha-pinene, carene, myrcene and other terpenes. More than 5000 volatile substances defend the surrounding plants from bacteria, fungi and insects. Phytoncides work by preventing the growth of the attacking organism.
- J. Jung Antibakterielle und antifungale Hemmstoffe in höheren Pflanzen
Literaturübersicht - in Journal Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt Publisher Springer Berlin / Heidelberg ISSN 0015-8003 (Print) Issue Volume 83, Numbers 11-12 / November, 1964 Pages 358-374
- Tambiev AKh, Agaverdiev ASh. The ability of volatile fractions of certain phytoncide-forming compounds to increase the chemiluminescence of oleic acid
Biofizika. 1966;11(1):175-7. (in Russian)
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- Li Q, Nakadai A, Matsushima H, Miyazaki Y, Krensky AM, Kawada T, Morimoto K. Phytoncides (wood essential oils) induce human natural killer cell activity. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2006;28(2):319-33.
- Li Q, Kobayashi M, Wakayama Y, Inagaki H, Katsumata M, Hirata Y, Hirata K, Shimizu T, Kawada T, Park BJ, Ohira T, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y.
Effect of phytoncide from trees on human natural killer cell function. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct-Dec;22(4):951-9.
- Li Q, Morimoto K, Kobayashi M, Inagaki H, Katsumata M, Hirata Y, Hirata K, Shimizu T, Li YJ, Wakayama Y, Kawada T, Ohira T, Takayama N, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y. A forest bathing trip increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins in female subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2008 Jan-Mar;22(1):45-55.
- Li Q, Morimoto K, Kobayashi M, Inagaki H, Katsumata M, Hirata Y, Hirata K, Suzuki H, Li YJ, Wakayama Y, Kawada T, Park BJ, Ohira T, Matsui N, Kagawa T, Miyazaki Y, Krensky AM. Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2008 Jan-Mar;21(1):117-27.
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