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Pregledni rad – Review Paper

BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY AND ETHNOMEDICINAL USE OF Thymus vulgaris AND Thymus serpyllum

By
Aleksandar Čančarević ,
Aleksandar Čančarević

Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Innnovation center, Belgrade, Serbia

Branko Bugarski ,
Branko Bugarski

Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Belgrade, Serbia

Katarina Šavikin ,
Katarina Šavikin

Institute for Medicinal Plants Research ,,Dr Josif Pančić’’, Belgrade, Serbia

Gordana Zdunić
Gordana Zdunić

Institute for Medicinal Plants Research ,,Dr Josif Pančić’’, Belgrade, Serbia

Abstract

The Lamiaceae family, which contains about 200 genus and 3000 species, has a cosmopolitan distribution. Plants of this family are rich in essential oils and phenol compounds. Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) is perennial, subshrub plant which belongs to family of Labiates. Calyx and corolla are covered by dense gleaming glands that eradiate essential oil. Leaves or herba, and essential oils are used. Thymus serpyllum (Wild Thyme) is perennial, herbaceous plant. Leaves are evergreen, small and oval. Commitee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) classifies thyme herba and essential oil as a traditional herbal medicine used as expectorant in cough associated with cold. It is used in folk medicine to treat many diseases, including respiratory disease (cough pertussis, bronchitis and asthma), and has analgesic properties. Wild Thyme is approved for use in treatment of cough and bronchitis. It is unproven to treat kidney and bladder disorders. It is also used internally for dysmenorrheal, colic-like pain, and whooping cough. Thymol and carvacrol from essential oils of Thyme and Wild Thyme inhibit lipid peroxidation and manifest strong antimicrobial activity against different kinds of microorganisms. All the aromatic and medicinal plants available worldwide have been used for their preservative and medicinal values. Polyphenolic phytochemicals in traditionally used medicinal plants act as powerful antioxidants, which aroused an increasing interest in their application in functional food development. Recently, there has been growing considerable interest in extracts and essential oils of aromatic plants for the development of alternative food additives, in order to prevent the growth of food-borne pathogens or to delay the onset of food spoilage.

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