Carvacrol and Thymol Support Healthy Immuno-Respiratory Response in vitro

Breathing, the action of air in and air out, is fundamental to human life. Certain immune responses in the cells lining the respiratory tract can make this basic action difficult. Scientists often study isolated cells in petri dishes to better gauge molecular responses. Scientists refer to this type of study as in vitro, Latin for “within-the-glass.”

Researchers in Tehran and San Francisco studied how chitin, a protein mass produced by fungi, insects, and other organisms, can negatively affect the airway epithelial cells in vitro. Chitin exposure was found to stimulate a large molecular response in airway cells. The researchers next tested the ability of carvacrol and thymol, which are the main monoterpenes components of Oregano and Thyme essential oils, to reverse the chitin-induced molecular changes. Fascinatingly, carvacrol and thymol reversed the molecular changes, inhibiting the response to chitin. Though more research is needed, the results of this in vitro study suggest that carvacrol and thymol may play a role in maintaining the health of the lungs and respiratory system.


The mixture of carvacrol to thymol used was 74 percent to 26 percent, respectively. This is similar to the ratio of carvacrol to thymol in two drops of Oregano and one drop Thyme.


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