Carvacrol is the main chemical compound in Oregano, comprising 60-80% of the essential oil. It is also found in Thyme essential oil in smaller quantities of up to 16%. Carvacrol is chemically classified as a monoterpene phenol since it is derived from two isoprene units and contains a benzene ring with an alcohol group. Carvacrol has been heavily researched due to its many health benefits; a search for “carvacrol” in the National Institute of Health’s PubMed research database returns over 1,400 research studies.
Carvacrol benefits multiple body systems
Carvacrol is known for supporting the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Its activity can help maintain neuron health in the brain.1 It also has neuroprotective effects via other mechanisms.2,3 For instance, carvacrol can help facilitate the inactivation of unhealthy cells in the brain.3 In the circulatory system, carvacrol exerts relaxing effects on the vasculature and may also help support the health of heart and arterial tissue.4,5
Hundreds of studies have demonstrated carvacrol’s potential to support cellular health in many body systems. For example, in vitro experiments suggest that carvacrol may support cellular health of cells in the digestive tract, including colon, stomach, mouth, and liver cells.6-9 Carvacrol may also support cellular health in the reproductive organs, including prostate and breast tissue.10,11
Carvacrol protects against many types of environmental threats
Carvacrol is able to completely inactivate microscopic environmental threats at concentrations as low as 0.5%.12,13 It may also provide protection against blood-sucking insect parasites, such as ticks and mites.4,14 Carvacrol is actually used as a natural insecticide to control mosquito populations by reducing egg hatchability and by inducing sterility in adult mosquitoes.15
A multitude of studies show that carvacrol can also inhibit the growth of fungus in stored food.4 Carvacrol is a powerful food preservative. It is used commercially to prevent the growth of bacteria in foods such as rice, grape tomatoes, apple juice, milk, kiwi, and honeydew melon.4 From this research data, one great way to use carvacrol is to put a few drops of Oregano oil in a glass spray bottle with water and vinegar. After buying vegetables from the grocery store, spritz the mixture over them a few times before you store them in the fridge.
Soothing effects of carvacrol
Due to its ability to affect sodium channel dynamics, carvacrol also has soothing properties.16 Carvacrol affects inflammation signaling pathways and promotes a healthy inflammatory response.17 It can also help soothe tension and occasional discomfort in muscles.4
Carvacrol is an essential oil compound with a host of wellness benefits. Its ability to preserve food, protect against environmental threats, and soothe discomfort give it many daily life applications. Its powerful effects on cellular health in the reproductive, digestive, and nervous systems make it a smart choice for dietary use as well. Try doTERRA Oregano essential oil to enjoy the benefits of carvacrol, its main chemical constituent.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.