CLINOPODIUM VULGARE AS A PROMISING MEDICINAL PLANT
Roman Lysiuk, Yulia Lutsenko
assistant professors of the Department of Pharmacognosy and botany
at Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University
Approximately 80% of the world’s population relies on traditional healing
modalities and herbals for primary healthcare and wellness. Some 25% of all
prescription drugs are derived from plant sources and of them most were discovered
because of their prior use by traditional healers . Therefore, plants of folk
medicine are promising sources for development of new effective medicines. Among
such plants may be considered wild basil - Clinopodium vulgare (Lamiaceae), widely
applied nowadays in Bulgarian traditional medicine.
Clinopodium vulgare (L.) Fritsch (Calamintha clinopodium Spenn., Satureja
vulgaris L.) grows throughout Ukraine (except of the Southern steppe areas) on the
edges of deciduous and mixed forests, in brushwoods, and may occur as an adulterant
of Origanum vulgare, collected in wild.
The objectives of the research comprise summarizing of data concerning
distribution, main morphological characters, constituents, pharmacological effects,
current application and promising uses of Clinopodium vulgare.
The species grows well in dry grassy places along banks and hedgerows and
open woodland, widely distributed in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. It is
also found in Canada and has been introduced to the United States . The plant
occurs in light forests, shrubberies, shady meadows, calcareous grounds; in all
Carpathian territories .
Clinopodium vulgare L. is an erect up to 45 cm tall perennial herbaceous plant.
The oval leaves are supported by a short stem and are toothed at the edges. The
flowers with tubular lipped corollas of a pinkish colour are arranged on the stem in
several crowded bristly rings .
The species from the genus Clinopodium contain a number of triterpenes and
triterpenoid saponins . Several saikosaponin homologues, called clinoposaponins
have been isolated from C. vulgare. Saikosaponins are well known to have an anti-
hepatotoxic activity. The species of the genus were found useful as a saikosaponin
Wild basil also contains the saturated hydrocarbon gentriacontan (C31H64) ,
flavonoids . Feruluc, cis-cinnamic and p-coumaric acids are among the prevalent
phenolcarboxylic acids .
GC–MS analysis of the oil resulted in the identification of 40 compounds,
representing 99.4% of the oil; thymol (38.9%), c-terpinene (29.6%) and p-cymene
(9.1%) were the main components . The chemical composition of the essential oil
of Clinopodium vulgare L. ssp. arundanum (Boiss.) Nyman was analysed by means
of GC and GC-MS. Thirty-seven compounds were identified, representing 89.6-
90.5% of the samples. The main constituents of the oils were germacrene-D, β-
caryophyllene and β-caryophyllene oxide .
In Bulgaria Clinopodium vulgare L. is a well known medicinal plant mainly
used for healing wounds and treating warts due to virus infection; its aqueous extract,
prepared by boiling grounded blades for 5 min, is recommended for antitumour
The herb is widely used in Bulgarian traditional medicine for treatment of skin
irritation and swelling, and relieving the symptoms associated with mastitis and
prostatitis. Based on the ethnopharmacological use, a gel containing 20% ethanol
extract of the plant (brand name ClinogelTM) was developed by the pharmaceutical
group Sopharma Ltd. for treatment of inflammatory-related skin conditions and
prevention of skin aging. Clinopodium vulgare infusions are also used in traditional
medicine to treat infirmities such as gastric ulcers, diabetes, and cancer .
Aqueous extract of Clinopodium vulgare L. showed strong antitumour activity
when tested in vitro on A2058 (human metastatic melanoma), HEp-2 (epidermoid
carcinoma, larynx, human) and L5178Y (mouse lymphoma) cell lines. The saturated
hydrocarbon gentriacontan (C31H64), extracted with chloroform, has been proved to
have antitumour properties when tested on Ehrilch ascitic and Lewis pulmonary
tumour cells, as well as on permanent cell lines of human lymphotic cells MOLT-4
and K- 562 .
Cytotoxic activity of methanolic extract from crude Clinopodium vulgare in the
brine shrimp lethality test against MCF-7 cell line (LC(50): 60.4 micro g/ml) was
Two of the main components of the Clinopodium vulgare essential oil fraction,
oxygenated monoterpene thymol and monoterpene hydrocarbon γ-terpinene, exhibit
significant antioxidant activity [3, 9].
The study  provides evidence for the traditional use of the plant infusions as
an anti-inflammatory drug. Compounds present in the aqueous extract have high
potential to reduce the levels of NO and some pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibit the
activity of MMP-9 and xanthine oxidase, and act as free radical scavengers.
The investigation  proved its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. The
results of the work  indicate the potential antibacterial efficacy of Clinopodium
vulgare ethanol, ethyl acetate and acetone extract against tested pathogenic bacteria.
The significant amount of phenols and flavonoids contribute in total biological
activity of this plant.
Considering the sufficient resource base in Ukraine and presented data on
potent cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it may be concluded that
Clinopodium vulgare deserves a significant attention for development of new
promising phytopharmaceuticals, comprising the valuable medicinal plant.
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