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- The analgesic action of thymol suggests effects in both skeletal and smooth muscle (1,2).
- Thymol has a long-lasting antibacterial action (8), and has shown good efficacy against some antibiotic-resistant strains (5,6).
- Thymol inhibits the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans, an opportunistic fungus that often causes problems in the last phase of AIDS (10).
- The antimicrobial action of thymol is suggestive of therapeutic effects in infections of the skin, gums, throat, lungs, and GI tract.
- The anti-inflammatory action of thymol involves inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2, and so is similar to medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Thymol also inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis (12).
- Thymol is one of the most potent antioxidant essential oil constituents.
- Its antioxidant action has been experimentally linked to inhibition of erythrocyte cell death, suggesting possible use in counteracting anemia or the impairment of microcirculation (19).
- Experimental evidence suggests antioxidant-related protection that could minimise the side-effects of gamma radiation (16).
- Thymol has shown in vitro antitumoral effects in cells for mouse melanoma (23).
- Medicines that inhibit acetylcholinesterase are used in cases of cognitive dysfunction, for example people with Alzheimer's disease (26,27).
- Thymol can cause skin irritation if used at 5% or more, though this is uncommon. At 1% it has never been known to cause any adverse skin reaction (Robert Tisserand, private communication).
- Thymol inhibits platelet aggregation (29, 30). Essential oils high in thymol should therefore be avoided, especially in high or oral doses, before major surgery, and in anyone taking blood-thinning medication, or with blood coagulation issues.
- Thymol is found in greatest quantity in the thymol chemotype of thyme oil (up to 74%), Monarda citrodora var citriodora (60%) and ajowan (up to 55%).
- Thymol is isomeric with carvacrol, and their pharmacological properties are similar. They are invariably found together in essential oils.
- Beer A-M, Lukanov J, Sagorchev P (2007) Effect of thymol on the spontaneous contractile activity of the smooth muscles. Phytomedicine 14:65-69.
- Haeseler G, Maue D, Grosskreutz J et al (2002) Voltage-dependent block of neuronal and skeletal muscle sodium channels by thymol and menthol. European Journal of Anaesthesiology 19:571-579.
- Knobloch K, Pauli A, Iberl B et al (1989) Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oil components. Journal of Essential Oil Research 1:119-128
- Mohammed MJ, Al-Bayati FA (2009) Isolation and identification of antibacterial compounds from Thymus kotschyanus aerial parts and Dianthus caryophyllus flower buds. Phytomedicine 16:632-637
- Palaniappan K, Holley RA (2010) Use of natural antimicrobials to increase antibiotic susceptibility of drug resistant bacteria. International Journal of Food Microbiology 140(2-3):164-168
- Shin S, Kim JH (2005) In vitro inhibitory activities of essential oils from two Korean thymus species against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Archives of Pharmaceutical Research 28(8):897-901
- Trombetta D, Castelli F, Sarpietro MG et al (2005) Mechanisms of antibacterial action of three monoterpenes. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 49(6):2474-2478
- Zarrini G, Delgosha ZB, Moghaddam KM et al (2010) Post-antibacterial effect of thymol.Pharmceutical Biology (6):633-636
- Ahmad A, Khan A, Singh N et al (2010) Proton translocating ATPase mediated fungicidal activity of eugenol and thymol. Fitoterapia 81(8):1157-1162
- Viollon C, Chaumont JP (1994) Antifungal properties of essential oils and their main components upon Cryptococcus neoformans. Mycopathologia 128(3):151-153
- Ahmad A, Khan A, Akhtar F, et al (2011) Fungicidal activity of thymol and carvacrol by disrupting ergosterol biosynthesis and membrane integrity against Candida. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 30(1):41-50
- Azuma Y, Ozana, N, Ueda Y et al (1986) Pharmacological studies on the anti-inflammatory action of phenolic compounds. Journal of Dental Research 65(1):53-56
- Marsik P, Kokoska L, Landa P et al (2005) In vitro inhibitory effects of thymol and quinones of Nigella sativa seeds on cyclooxygenase-1- and -2-catalyzed prostaglandin E2 biosyntheses. Planta Medica 71:739-742
- Aeschbach R, Loliger J, Scott BC et al (1994) Antioxidant actions of thymol, carvacrol, 6-gingerol, zingerone and hydroxytyrosol. Food & Chemical Toxicology 32:31-36
- Alam K, Nagi MN, Badary OA et al (1999) The protective action of thymol against carbon tetrachloride hepatotoxicity in mice. Pharmacological Research 40:159-163
- Archana PR, Rao BN,Ballal M et al (2009) Thymol, a naturally occurring monocyclic dietary phenolic compound protects Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts from radiation-induced cytotoxicity Mutation Research 680:70-77
- Braga PC, Dal Sasso M, Culici M et al (2005) Antioxidant potential of thymol determined by chemiluminescence inhibition in human neutrophils and cell-free systems. Pharmacology 76:61-68
- Jimenez J, Navarro MC, Montilla MP et al, (1993) Thymus zygis oil: its effects on CC14-induced hepatotoxicity and free radical scavenger activity. Journal of Essential Oil Research 5:153-158
- Mahmud H, Mauro D, Foller M et al (2009) Inhibitory effect of thymol on suicidal erythrocyte death. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 24(5-6):407-4014
- Vardar-Unlu G, Candan F, Sokmen A et al (2003) Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the essential oil and methanol extracts of Thymus pectinatus Fisch. et Mey. var. pectinatus (Lamiaceae). Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry 51:63-67
- Beer A-M, Lukanov J, Sagorchev P (2007) Effect of thymol on the spontaneous contractile activity of the smooth muscles. Phytomedicine 14:65-69
- Van Den Broucke CO, Lemli J A (1982) Antispasmodic activity of Origanum compactum. Planta Medica 45:188-190
- He L, Mo H, Hadisusilo S et al (1997) Isoprenoids suppress the growth of murine B16 melanomas in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Nutrition 127:668-674
- Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P (2010) Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research 24(5):673-679
- Futami T (1984) [Actions and mechanisms of counterirritants on the muscular circulation]. Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshi 83:219-226
- Jukic M, Politeo O, Maksimovic M, et al (2007) In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties of thymol, carvacrol and their derivatives thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone. Phytotherapy Research 21(3):259-261
- Orhan I, Kartal M, Kan Y, et al (2008) Activity of essential oils and individual components against acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung C 63(7-8):547-553.
- Muhlbauer RC, Lozano A, Palacio S et al (2003) Common herbs, essential oils, and monoterpenes potently modulate bone metabolism. Bone 32:372-380
- Enomoto S, Asano R, Iwahori Y et al (2001) Hematological studies on black cumin oil from the seeds of Nigella sativa L. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 24:307-310
- Okazaki et al (2002) Human platelet aggregation inhibitors from thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.). Phytotherapy Research 16(4):398-399