Thyme extract shown to inhibit Helicobacter pylori
Peptic ulcers are sores in the lining of either the small intestine (duodenal ulcers) or the stomach (gastric ulcers). Ulcers cause painful, burning sensations and can often result in more serious complications such as stomach bleeding, tarry or red stools, or increased weight loss. An estimated 10% of the entire population will suffer from an ulcer, which can often recur.
Many researchers agree that “Helicobacter pylori [bacteria] is an important [causal] agent of chronic gastritis, peptic ulceration and gastric cancer in humans.”
Treatment of H. pylori often includes dietary intervention and combination drug therapy, consisting of antibiotic, antifungal, and acid reducing medications. Unfortunately, long-term use of these medications may produce adverse side effects such as diarrhea or colitis.
As stated by M. Tabak and colleagues in the Journal of Applied Bacteriology, it is “not surprising therefore, the search for novel antibacterials, such as plant extract compounds, has gained renewed [momentum].”
In search of alternative treatments, researchers conducted a study of 10 plant extracts known to exhibit antimicrobial properties, and thus possess therapeutic potential. In this study, each plant extract was immersed in a solution inoculated with H. pylori and then assessed for its ability to inhibit bacterial growth.
According to researchers, “Among the plant extracts tested, those of thyme [Thymus vulgaris] and cinnamon [Cinnamonum zeylanicum] showed the highest inhibitory effect on H. pylori…” In addition, “Compared to several common antibiotics thyme yielded a rather equivocal picture of its antibacterial potential.”
Researchers concluded that studies evaluating the effectiveness of thyme in treating H. pylori infection are currently in progress, and hopefully they will reveal the full potential of thyme as an antibacterial agent.
J Appl Bacteriol 1996;80(6):667-72.
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