beneficial effects of thyme oil

Doug Skrecky (
Mon, 23 Aug 1999 02:44:54 -0700 (PDT)

Youdim KA. Deans SG.
Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Group, Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, South Ayrshire KA6 5HW, UK. Title
Beneficial effects of thyme oil on
age-related changes in the phospholipid C20 and C22 polyunsaturated fatty acid composition of various rat tissues. Source
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1438(1):140-6, 1999 Apr 19. Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine any age-related changes in phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, in particular C20 and C22 fatty acids in rat liver, brain, kidney and heart, and to assess and compare the effects of dietary supplementation (42.5 mg/kg body weight/day) of the natural antioxidant thyme oil and its major component thymol throughout the rat life span. The fatty acid composition in the various tissues from young (7 months) and aged (28 months) rats was determined and compared. Livers from aged control, thyme oil and thymol treated rats exhibited an increase in 22:6(n-3). In contrast, 22:6(n-3) content of brain, kidney and heart declined in aged rats in all three dietary groups. However, aged rats treated with thyme oil and thymol displayed significantly higher levels of 22:6(n-3) than the respective age-matched controls. Tissue compositions of 20:4(n-6) were found to be significantly lower in the liver and kidney from aged control rats but not those fed either thyme oil or thymol. In aged rats, the composition of 20:4(n-6) in all tissues was highest in rats fed either thyme oil or thymol. These results show that dietary supplementation with thyme oil tended to maintain higher PUFA levels in all tissues studied. The majority of protection provided by thyme oil was by virtue of its thymol component, which comprises 49% of the whole oil. Thymol administered alone did not provide significantly higher protection than the whole oil, suggesting that other components within thyme oil are also contributing antioxidant activity.