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Medicinal properties of Thymus vulgaris essential oil: a review

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Naturally-occurring mixtures of phytochemicals present in plant foods are proposed to possess tumor-suppressive activities. In this work, we aimed to evaluate the antitumor effects of Thymus vulgaris L. in in vivo and in vitro mammary carcinoma models. Dried T. vulgaris (as haulm) was continuously administered at two concentrations of 0.1% and 1% in the diet in a chemically-induced rat mammary carcinomas model and a syngeneic 4T1 mouse model. After autopsy, histopathological and molecular analyses of rodent mammary carcinomas were performed. In addition, in vitro evaluations using MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were carried out. In mice, T. vulgaris at both doses reduced the volume of 4T1 tumors by 85% (0.1%) and 84% (1%) compared to the control, respectively. Moreover, treated tumors showed a substantial decrease in necrosis/tumor area ratio and mitotic activity index. In the rat model, T. vulgaris (1%) decreased the tumor frequency Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 1749 2 of 28 by 53% compared to the control. Analysis of the mechanisms of anticancer action included well-described and validated diagnostic and prognostic markers that are used in both clinical approach and preclinical research. In this regard, the analyses of treated rat carcinoma cells showed a CD44 and ALDH1A1 expression decrease and Bax expression increase. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and VEGFR-2 expression were decreased in rat carcinomas in both the T. vulgaris treated groups. Regarding the evaluations of epigenetic changes in rat tumors, we found a decrease in the lysine methylation status of H3K4me3 in both treated groups (H3K9m3, H4K20m3, and H4K16ac were not changed); up-regulations of miR22, miR34a, and miR210 expressions (only at higher doses); and significant reductions in the methylation status of four gene promoters-ATM serin/threonine kinase, also known as the NPAT gene (ATM); Ras-association domain family 1, isoform A (RASSF1); phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN); and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 (TIMP3) (the paired-like homeodomain transcription factor (PITX2) promoter was not changed). In vitro study revealed the antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of essential oils of T. vulgaris in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells (analyses of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium) (MTS); 5-bromo-20-deoxyuridine (BrdU); cell cycle; annexin V/PI; caspase-3/7; Bcl-2; PARP; and mitochondrial membrane potential). T. vulgaris L. demonstrated significant chemopreventive and therapeutic activities against experimental breast carcinoma.
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Biological activity of the distilled essential oil, ethanol extract, and infusion of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) was evaluated on the growth of group A ß-hemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes, the primary cause of faryngoamygdalitis. Sensitivity tests and measurements the zones of inhibition in vitro was performed. The distilled essential oil showed the greatest effect (inhibition halo of 3.2 cm), superior even to penicillin (2.4 cm). The ethanol extract had less effect, and the infusion showed no effect. The essential oil and the ethanol extract were analyzed by gas chromatography to determine the concentration and purity of their principal components and to compare these to the commercially available pure essential oil of thyme. These analyses allowed us to establish the presence of thymol and to a lesser extent carvacrol, both of which are known to inhibit bacterial growth.
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Cancerous tissue transformation developing usually over years or even decades of life is a highly complex process involving strong stressors damaging DNA, chronic inflammation, comprehensive interaction between relevant molecular pathways, and cellular cross-talk within the neighboring tissues. Only the minor part of all cancer cases are caused by inborn predisposition; the absolute majority carry a sporadic character based on modifiable risk factors which play a central role in cancer prevention. Amongst most promising candidates for dietary supplements are bioactive phytochemicals demonstrating strong anticancer effects. Abundant evidence has been collected for beneficial effects of flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and organosulfur compounds affecting a number of cancer-related pathways. Phytochemicals may positively affect processes of cell signaling, cell cycle regulation, oxidative stress response, and inflammation. They can modulate non-coding RNAs, upregulate tumor suppressive miRNAs, and downregulate oncogenic miRNAs that synergically inhibits cancer cell growth and cancer stem cell self-renewal. Potential clinical utility of the phytochemicals is discussed providing examples for chemoprevention against and therapy for human breast cancer. Expert recommendations are provided in the context of preventive medicine.
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Our understanding of the role of oxygen in cell physiology has evolved from its long-recognized importance as an essential factor in oxidative metabolism to its recognition as an important player in cell signaling. With regard to the latter, oxygen is needed for the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which regulate a number of different cellular functions including differentiation, proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and contraction. Data specifically concerning the role of ROS-dependent signaling in cutaneous wound repair are very limited, especially regarding wound contraction. In this review we provide an overview of the current literature on the role of molecular and reactive oxygen in the physiology of wound repair as well as in the pathophysiology and therapy of chronic wounds, especially under ischemic and hyperglycemic conditions.
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Objectives The treatment of wounds accounts for a considerable fraction of health expenses as well as serious socioeconomic problems. The use of natural substances stands out as a source of new therapeutic discoveries for the wound healing. Thus, this review compiled scientific findings on the applicability of carvacrol and thymol, or essential oils containing at least one of these compounds, for the treatment of wounds. Methods This review was performed at PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science databases using keywords as wound healing, thymol/carvacrol and essential oils. Thirteen studies were selected for discussion. Key findings Thymol/carvacrol was able to act in the three phases of wound healing. In the first phase, they showed modulatory effect of the inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress and antimicrobial power. In the second phase, they promoted re‐epithelialization, angiogenesis and development of granulation tissue. Finally, in the third phase, they improve the collagen deposition and modulated the growth of fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Conclusions These compounds present a high potential for the development of new therapeutic for wound repair. However, dose, efficacy and safety of these compounds for the treatment of wounds, as well as the mechanisms by which those effects can be observed, are challenges for future studies.
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In this study, we have investigated the effects of different doses of thymol (T) and carvacrol (C) on sperm quality oxidative stress and antioxidant system. For this purpose, 49 rats were divided into seven groups (7 rats in each group): 1st Group (control); 2nd Group T-10 (thymol 10 mg/kg), 3rd Group T-20 (thymol 20 mg/kg), 4th Group C-10 (carvacrol 10 mg/kg), 5th Group C-20 (carvacrol 20 mg/kg), 6th Group T + C-10 (thymol 10 mg/kg + carvacrol 10 mg/kg) and 7th Group T + C-20 (thymol 20 mg/kg + carvacrol 20 mg/kg). The duration of the experiment was 10 weeks for all animals. During the study, sperm quality parameters (motility, concentration, abnormal spermatozoa and live–dead sperm ratio), biochemical parameters [malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione(GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), catalase (CAT), AST, ALT, GGT, urea and creatinine] were analysed, and histopathological examination was performed. The study results showed that monotherapies of thymol and carvacrol significantly decreased MDA levels in testicles, liver and kidney tissues compared to the control group (p < .001). GSH levels increased only with the thymol administration and GSH-Px and catalase activity increased only with the carvacrol administration compared to the control group (p < .05). The combined administration of these two agents did not cause any significant change in any parameter. Regarding the sperm quality parameters, only the spermatozoa concentration and motility increased significantly in the thymol and carvacrol groups compared to the control group (p < .01). However, these parameters decreased in the 7th Group (T + C-20) compared to the control group (p < .001). Considering the dead sperm ratio decreased significantly in the 2nd (T-10), 3rd (T-20), 4th (C-10), 5th (C-20) and 6th Group (T + C-10) compared to the control group (p < .001). In respect of spermatozoon anomaly, there was a significant decrease in thymol and carvacrol monotherapy groups. The histopathological analysis of the testicle, liver and kidney tissues of the animals showed no difference between the groups. In conclusion, we have determined that thymol and carvacrol administration decreased the oxidative damage and increased the antioxidant levels and improved the sperm quality parameters. However, the combined use of these two active ingredients had a limited therapeutic effect on the mentioned parameters.
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Wound healing involves the integration of biological and molecular events and, in case of chronic wounds, the use of drugs can be associated to side effects. Therefore, there is a search for alternatives therapeutics that encompass minimal toxicity. The use of natural compounds is an attractive approach for treating inflammatory disorders, wounds and burns. In this context, thymol has antimicrobial, antioxidant and antiseptic properties and is a promising compound in wound healing and inflammation management. However, essential oils and their constituents such as thymol present high volatility and can also easily decompose, thereby the encapsulation of these compounds into nanoparticles may be an efficient approach to modulate the release of the active ingredient, to increase the physical stability and to eventually reduce the toxicity. The aims of this work were to encapsulate thymol in nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) composed of natural lipids and assess its in vivo anti-inflammatory and antipsoriatic activity. The carrier containing thymol was produced by sonication method and showed 107.7 (±3.8) nm of size, zeta potential of -11.6 (±2.9) mV and entrapment efficiency of 89.1 (±4.2)%. Thymol-NLCs were incorporated into a gel and the final formulation presented rheological characteristics and pH suitable for topic application. In addition, the gel containing thymol-NLCs was tested in vivo on two different mouse models of skin inflammation, showing anti-inflammatory activity. Finally, this formulation was tested in an imiquimod-induced psoriasis mouse model and showed improved healing, compared to negative control. Therefore, thymol-NLCs is an interesting formulation for future treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.
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Carvacrol, a monoterpenic phenol present in Origanum vulgare (oregano) and Thymus vulgaris (thyme), possesses anti‑inflammatory effects; however, little is known about the effects and underlying mechanism of carvacrol on chondrocytes in osteoarthritis (OA). The present study aimed to investigate the protective effects of carvacrol against inflammation in interleukin 1β (IL‑1β)‑stimulated human chondrocytes. The results indicated that carvacrol inhibited nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production, and decreased the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX‑2). Carvacrol also suppressed the protein expression levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)‑3 and MMP‑13 in IL‑1β‑stimulated human OA chondrocytes. Furthermore, carvacrol suppressed the activation of nuclear factor (NF)‑κB signaling pathway in IL‑1β‑induced human chondrocytes. In conclusion, the present results demonstrated that carvacrol was able to inhibit IL‑1β‑induced NO and PGE2 production, as well as iNOS, COX‑2 and MMPs expression in human chondrocytes by suppressing the activation of NF‑κB signaling pathway. Thus, carvacrol may have potential therapeutic functions for the treatment of OA.
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Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide. Over 90% of all breast cancer cases are of different 'sporadic' cell types, thus placing emphasis on the need for breast cancer prevention and new effective treatment strategies. In recent years, pre-clinical research provides growing evidence regarding the beneficial action of bioactive plant-derived substances - phytochemicals, on multiple cancer-related biological pathways. The important natural source of various phytochemicals with anti-oncogenic properties are plant-based functional foods. It is hypothesized that a significant anti-tumour activity of plant-based functional foods are the result of a combination of various phytochemicals rather than an isolated agent. The mixture of phytochemicals with various biological activities present in whole foods could have additive or synergistic effects against carcinogenesis. Clinically, it is very important to compare the effect of the isolated phytochemicals against the mixture of phytochemicals present in specific plant-based functional foods. Therefore, the purpose of this review article is to compare anticancer activities of isolated phytochemicals and plant-based functional foods for the prevention and therapy of breast carcinoma. Our conclusion supports the hypothesis that a mixture of wide range of phytochemicals with a plethora of biological activities present in whole plant-derived foods could have additive or synergistic effects against breast cancer. Although, the lack of parallel comparative studies between whole natural foods versus isolated plant compounds limits our conclusion, future pre-clinical and clinical studies evaluating this issue is required.