Posted on Apr 24, 2019, 3 p.m.
Essential oils can be helpful for uses other than aromatherapy in alternative medicine options to treat mild ailments and improve emotional well being. Along with being aromatic essential oils contain compounds that possess other benefits such as antimicrobial properties. The compound carvacrol, found in a variety of essential oils, has been extensively studied due to its wide range of clinical applications and can be found as the most abundant phenol in oregano oil.
Carvacrol, a volatile compound found in oregano, thyme, pepperwort, and wild bergamot is one such compound with powerful antimicrobial properties. A study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research examining the antimicrobial activity of compounds derived from essential oils found carvacrol to be particularly potent against a multi drug resistant pathogen called Acinetobacter baumannii which usually causes hospital derived infections.
Gaseous contact assay was used to determine the minimum inhibitory dose of the tested compounds to examine their strengths against different pathogens. A variety of strains of A. baumannii were isolated known to infect those with weak immune systems from different specimens. Microdilution assay was then used to make a profile of the pathogens based on polymerase chain reaction, followed by crystal violet assay staining to visualize DNA to help confirm the formation of biofilm which is proof of surface attachment of microorganisms.
Carvacrol was observed to exhibit high potency with minimum inhibitory dose lower than what it needed to kill other nosocomial MDR pathogens when tested against different strains of A. baumannii; 3 strains of the pathogen had very high drug resistance profiles and showed variable biofilm production, and findings suggest carvacrol may be used clinically to treat illnesses caused by nosocomial MDR bacterial like A. baumannii.
It’s antimicrobial activity can be attributed to the ability to affect structural and functional properties of cell membranes making it effective against food borne pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Bacillus cereus; studies have shown it to be effective against Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes.
Antifungal activity is particularly effective against Candida, which commonly causes yeast infections in the mouth and vagina; in vitro studies show it is an effective treatment for oral candidiasis and denture stomatitis.
Antioxidant activity of carvacrol has been shown to provide protection to food by inhibiting the formation of oxidative compounds that contribute to the deterioration of food to help preserve and prevent rancidity.
Carvacrol has shown promising results for its anticancer activity effects on cancer cells in lung, liver, and breast cancer studies such as one published in the journal Cytotechnology which revealed high concentrations of carvacrol to kill lung cancer cells, caused irregularities in cancer cell shape, and to decrease cancer cell protein content; suggesting carvacrol can induce cell death in lung cancer cells.
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This article is not intended to provide medical endorsement, advice, diagnosis or treatment.