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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 657026, 10 pages
Research Article

Effects of Thymol and Carvacrol, Constituents of Thymus vulgaris L. Essential Oil, on the Inflammatory Response

1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic, State University of Maringá, 870020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Department of Medicine, State University of Maringá, 870020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
3Department of Pharmacology, Federal University of Paraná, 80060-000 Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Received 9 February 2012; Accepted 7 May 2012

Academic Editor: Ke Ren

Copyright © 2012 Fernanda Carolina Fachini-Queiroz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L., Lamiaceae) is an aromatic and medicinal plant that has been used in folk medicine, phytopharmaceutical preparations, food preservatives, and as an aromatic ingredient. The effect of Thymus vulgaris essential oil (TEO) and its isolated constituents thymol and cavacrol (CVL) were studied in the following experimental models: ear edema, carrageenan-induced pleurisy, and chemotaxis in vitro. In the pleurisy model, TEO, CVL, and thymol significantly inhibited inflammatory edema. However, only TEO and CVL inhibited leukocyte migration. In the in vitro chemotaxis experiment, CVL inhibited leukocyte migration, whereas thymol exerted a potent chemoattractant effect. In the ear edema model, CVL (10 mg/ear), applied topically, reduced edema formation, exerting a topical anti-inflammatory effect. Thymol did not reduce edema formation but rather presented an irritative response, probably dependent on histamine and prostanoid release. Our data suggest that the antiinflammatory effects of TEO and CVL are attributable to the inhibition of inflammatory edema and leukocyte migration.