Anti-inflammatory and cicatrizing activities of thymol, a monoterpene of the essential oil from Lippia gracilis, in rodents

Riella KR, Marinho RR, Santos JS, Pereira-Filho RN, Cardoso JC, Albuquerque-Junior RL, Thomazzi SM
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2012


Lippia gracilis Schauer (Verbenaceae) has long been recognized in folk medicine as a medicinal plant. The essential oil of Lippia gracilis has antimicrobial activity and is used externally to treat cutaneous diseases, burns, wounds, and ulcers. Recently, our research group demonstrated that the essential oil of Lippia gracilisleaves possesses antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory actions and its major component identified was thymol. The objective of this study was to assess the anti-inflammatory and wound healing activities of thymol in rodents.

For the anti-inflammatory analysis the paw oedema and peritonitis models were used, followed by the assessment of the mieloperoxidase (MPO) activity, total cell counting, and histological analysis. The animals were treated (i.p., n=6/group) with thymol (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg), dexamethasone (2 mg/kg), or vehicle (1% Tween 80). In order to assess the wound healing potential, thymol was vehiculated into collagen-based dressing films and a biological wound healing test was conducted. The retraction index of the wounds and histological analysis were performed on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, and 21th days, split into three groups: undressed wounds (CTR), dressed with collagen-based films (COL), and dressed with collagen-based containing thymol (COLTHY) films.

Thymol reduced significantly the oedema (100 mg/kg, P<0.001) and, besides, diminished the influx of leukocytes to the injured area (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg), according to the assessment of MPO activity (P<0.001), total cell count (P<0.05), and histological analysis. Wounds dressed with COLTHY films showed significantly bigger wound retraction rates (7 and 14 day, P<0.05) and improved the granulation reaction, as well provided better collagenization density and arrangement during wound healing.

This study suggests that thymol is a promising compound to be used in treatment of inflammatory processes as well as wound healing. The pharmacological actions of Lippia gracilis in popular medicine practices may be related, at least in part, to the presence of thymol in the essential oil.


Riella KR, Marinho RR, Santos JS, Et Al. Anti-inflammatory and cicatrizing activities of thymol, a monoterpene of the essential oil from Lippia gracilis, in rodents. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;143(2):656-663.

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