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Carvacrol and thymol: strong antimicrobial agents against resistant isolates

Memar, Mohammad Y.; Raei, Parisa; Alizadeh, Naser; Akbari Aghdam, Masoud; Kafil, Hossein Samadi

Reviews in Medical Microbiology: April 2017 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 63–68
doi: 10.1097/MRM.0000000000000100

Antibiotics have been effective in treatment of infectious diseases, but resistance to these drugs has led to the severe consequences. In recent years, medicinal herbs have been used for the prevention and protection against infectious diseases. Thymol and carvacrol are active ingredients of family Lamiaceae; these components have antibacterial and antifungal effects. In this review, we survey antimicrobial properties of carvacrol and thymol. Available data from different studies (microbiological, retrieve from PubMed, and Scopus databases) about antimicrobial affects carvacrol and thymol was evaluated. Carvacrol and thymol can inhibit the growth of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. These compounds have antifungal and antibiofilm effects. Thymol and carvacrol can also be applied as an alternative antimicrobial agent against antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria. Thus, thymol and carvacrol are recommended for potential medical use; however, more research is required on toxicity and side-effects of the compounds.

aInfectious and Tropical Disease Research Center

bStudent Research Committee

cDrug Applied Research Center

dBiotechnology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

Correspondence to Hossein Samadi Kafil, PhD, Assistant Professor, Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. Tel: +98 9127184735; fax: +98 4133364661; e-mail:

Received 21 October, 2016

Revised 2 February, 2017

Accepted 7 February, 2017

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