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J Med Food. 2012 Nov;15(11):984-91. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0102. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activities of carvacrol, a monoterpene present in the essential oil of oregano.

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Medicinal Plants Research Center, Federal University of Piauí, Teresina, Brazil.


This study reports a pharmacological evaluation of anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activities of carvacrol, a phenolic monoterpene constituent of essential oils produced by oregano and other several aromatic plants and spices, in experimental models of edema induced by different phlogistic agents and gastric lesions induced by acetic acid. In models of paw edema induced by dextran or histamine, carvacrol was effective at 50 mg/kg (46% and 35%, respectively); in these models, cyproheptadine reduced edema formation (61% and 43%, respectively). In edema induced by substance P, carvacrol (100 mg/kg) and ruthenium red (3 mg/kg) also decreased the edema formation (46% and 40%, respectively). Carvacrol significantly reduced the ear edema induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol acetate and arachidonic acid at 0.1 mg per ear (43% and 33%, respectively), similar to indomethacin at 0.5 mg per ear or 2.0 mg per ear (55% and 57%, respectively). Carvacrol (at doses of 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg) showed a healing capacity on gastric lesions induced by acid acetic (60%, 91%, and 81%, respectively) after 14 days of treatment. These results suggest that carvacrol acts on different pharmacological targets, probably interfering in release and/or synthesis of inflammatory mediators, such as the prostanoids, and thus favoring the healing process for gastric ulcers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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