Thyme oil can inhibit COX2 and suppress inflammation

January 13, 2010

For those who do not drink, researchers have found that six essential oils -from thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot—can suppress the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, in a manner similar to resveratrol, the chemical linked with the health benefits of red wine. They also identified that the chemical carvacrol was primarily responsible for this suppressive activity.

These findings, appearing in the January issue of , provide more understanding of the health benefits of many botanical oils and provide a new avenue for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Essential oils from plants have long been a component of home remedies, and even today are used for their aromatherapy, analgesic (e.g. cough drops), or antibacterial properties. Of course, the exact way they work is not completely understood. However, Hiroyasu Inoue and colleagues in Japan believed that many essential oils might target much like compounds in wine and tea.

So, they screened a wide range of commercially available oils and identified six (thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot) that reduced COX-2 expression in cells by at least 25%. Of these, thyme oil proved the most active, reducing COX-2 levels by almost 75%.

When Inoue and colleagues analyzed thyme oil, they found that the major component -carvacrol- was the primary active agent; in fact when they use pure carvacrol extracts in their tests COX-2 levels decreased by over 80%.

Explore further: New insights into costly destruction of subsurface petroleum

More information: "Carvacrol, a component of thyme oil, activates PPAR-gamma and suppresses COX-2 expression" by Mariko Hotta, Rieko Nakata, Michiko Katsukawa, Kazuyuki Hori, Saori Takahashi, and Hiroyasu Inoue, Journal of Lipid Research.

Related Stories

New insights into costly destruction of subsurface petroleum

September 25, 2006

Scientists are reporting an advance toward understanding and possibly combating a natural process that destroys billions of dollars worth of subsurface petroleum. Called biodegradation, it occurs as bacteria and other microbes ...

More fish oil, less vegetable oil, better for your health

July 26, 2007

Scientists have provided new evidence that using more fish oil than vegetable oil in the diet decreases the formation of chemicals called prostanoids, which, when produced in excess, increase inflammation in various tissues ...

Study: Celecoxib can cause arrhythmias

January 15, 2008

U.S. medical researchers have determined the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex) can adversely affect heart rhythm in fruit fly and rat models.

Bacteria manage perfume oil production from grass

October 31, 2008

Scientists in Italy have found bacteria in the root of a tropical grass whose oils have been used in the cosmetic and perfumery industries. These bacteria seem to promote the production of essential oils, but also they change ...

Source of major health benefits in olive oil revealed

April 2, 2009

Scientists have pinned down the constituent of olive oil that gives greatest protection from heart attack and stroke. In a study of the major antioxidants in olive oil, Portuguese researchers showed that one, DHPEA-EDA, protects ...

Recommended for you

Chemists solve major piece of cellular mystery

August 27, 2015

Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double membrane, called the nuclear envelope, serves as a wall, protecting the contents ...

Study reveals how nanochannels select potassium ions

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—One of the mysteries in biology is how cells can selectively diffuse potassium across a membrane. Biological systems rely on a delicate balance between these potassium and sodium ion concentrations in the surrounding ...

Unusual use of blue pigment found in ancient mummy portraits

August 26, 2015

Mostly untouched for 100 years, 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits and panel paintings were literally dusted off by scientists and art conservators from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.