The polyphenolic composition and anti-inflammatory activity of selected Thymus species (T. longicaulis C. Presl, T. praecox Opiz subsp. polytrichus (A. Kerner Ex Borbás) Jalas, T. pulegioides L., T. serpyllum L. subsp. serpyllum and T. striatus Vahl) was studied in comparison with T. vulgaris, as an officinal medicinal plant, to evaluate the biomedical potential of these Croatian wild-growing species. This paper provides a first insight into the polyphenolic profiles of T. praecox subsp. polytrichus and T. striatus. Also, some flavone and hydroxycinnamic derivatives were at first identified in the other studied species by LC-DAD-ESI–MS/MS analysis. Rosmarinic acid and glycosides of scutellarein and luteolin were found to be the most abundant polyphenolic constituents. The Thymus extracts inhibited Src tyrosine kinase activity and they reduced the production of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 in Balb/C mice splenocytes. The obtained results highlighted T. longicaulis as a potential source of herbal drugs with anti-inflammatory properties and/or novel functional food rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Stahl-Biskup E, Sáez F (2002) Thyme, the Genus Thymus. Taylor and Francis, London
Begrow F, Engelbertz J, Feistel B, Lehnfeld R, Bauer K, Verspohl EJ (2010) Impact of thymol in thyme extracts on their antispasmodic action and ciliary clearance. Planta Med 76:311–318
Galasso S, Pacifico S, Kretschmer N, Pan SP, Marciano S, Piccolella S, Monaco P, Bauer R (2014) Influence of seasonal variation on Thymus longicaulis C. Presl chemical composition and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Phytochemistry 107:80–90
Kindl M, Blažeković B, Bucar F, Vladimir-Knežević S (2015) Antioxidant and anticholinesterase potential of six Thymus species. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015:1–10
Vladimir-Knežević S, Kosalec I, Babac M, Petrović M, Ralić J, Matica B, Blažeković B (2012) Antimicrobial activity of Thymus longicaulis C. Presl essential oil against respiratory pathogens. Cent Eur J Biol 7:1109–1115
Pereira OR, Cardoso MS (2013) Overview on Mentha and Thymus polyphenols. Curr Anal Chem 9:382–396
Netea MG, Balkwill F, Chonchol M, Cominelli F, Donath MY, Giamarellos-Bourboulis EJ, Golenbock D, Gresnigt MS, Heneka MT, Hoffman HM, Hotchkiss R, Joosten LAB, Kastner DL, Korte M, Latz E, Libby P, Mandrup-Poulsen T, Mantovani A, Mills KHG, Nowak KL, O’Neill LA, Pickkers P, van der Poll T, Ridker PM, Schalkwijk J, Schwartz DA, Siegmund B, Steer CJ, Tilg H, van der Meer JWM, van de Veerdonk FL, Dinarello CA (2017) A guiding map for inflammation. Nat Immunol 18:826–831
Yao X, Huang J, Zhong H, Shen N, Faggioni R, Fung M, Yao Y (2014) Targeting interleukin-6 in inflammatory autoimmune diseases and cancers. Pharmacol Ther 141:125–139
Kültür S (2007) Medicinal plants used in Kırklareli Province (Turkey). J Ethnopharmacol 111:341–364
Redzić SS (2007) The ecological aspect of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology of population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Coll Antropol 31:869–890
Sekeroglu NS, Deveci M, Buruk CK, Gurbuz B, Ipek A (2007) Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Anzer tea essential oil. J Sci Food Agr 87:1424–1426
Ćavar Zeljković S, Maksimović M (2015) Chemical composition and bioactivity of essential oil from Thymus species in Balkan Peninsula. Phytochem Rev 14:335–352
Jelić D, Lower-Nedza AD, Brantner AH, Blažeković B, Bian B, Yang J, Brajša K, Vladimir-Knežević S (2016) Baicalin and baicalein inhibit Src tyrosine kinase and production of IL-6. J Chem 2016:1–6
Anouar E, Kosinová P, Kozlowski D, Mokrini R, Duroux JL, Trouillas P (2009) New aspects of the antioxidant properties of phenolic acids: a combined theoretical and experimental approach. Phys Chem Chem Phys 11:7659–7668
Zimmermann BF, Walch SG, Tinzoh LN, Stühlinger W, Lachenmeier DW (2011) Rapid UHPLC determination of polyphenols in aqueous infusions of Salvia officinalis L. (sage tea). J Chromatogr B 879:2459–2464
Pereira OR, Peres AM, Silva AMS, Domingues MRM, Cardoso SM (2013) Simultaneous characterization and quantification of phenolic compounds in Thymus x citriodorus using a validated HPLC–UV and ESI–MS combined method. Food Res Int 54:1773–1780
Dapkevicius A, van Beek TA, Lelyveld GP, van Veldhuizen A, de Groot A, Linssen JP, Venskutonis R (2002) Isolation and structure elucidation of radical scavengers from Thymus vulgaris leaves. J Nat Prod 65:892–896
Li Q, Wang L, Dai P, Zeng X, Qi X, Zhu L, Yan T, Wang Y, Lu L, Hu M, Wang X, Liu Z (2015) A combined strategy of mass fragmentation, post-column cobalt complexation and shift in ultraviolet absorption spectra to determine the uridine 5′-diphospho-glucuronosyltransferase metabolism profiling of flavones after oral administration of a flavone mixture in rats. J Chromatogr A 1395:116–128
Martins N, Barros L, Santos-Buelga C, Silva S, Henriques M, Ferreira IC (2015) Decoction, infusion and hydroalcoholic extract of cultivated thyme: antioxidant and antibacterial activities, and phenolic characterisation. Food Chem 167:131–137
de Beer D, Joubert E, Malherbe CJ, Jacobus Brand D (2011) Use of countercurrent chromatography during isolation of 6-hydroxyluteolin-7-O-β-glucoside, a major antioxidant of Athrixia phylicoides. J Chromatogr A 1218:6179–6186
Koprivica MR, Trifković JĐ, Dramićanin AM, Gašić UM, Fotirić Akšić MM, Milojković-Opsenica DM (2018) Determination of the phenolic profile of peach (Prunus persica L.) kernels using UHPLC–LTQ OrbiTrap MS/MS technique. Eur Food Res Technol 244:2051–2064
Guimarães R, Barros L, Dueñas M, Calhelha RC, Carvalho AM, Santos-Buelga C, Queiroz MJ, Ferreira IC (2013) Nutrients, phytochemicals and bioactivity of wild Roman chamomile: a comparison between the herb and its preparations. Food Chem 136:718–725
Raudone L, Zymone K, Raudonis R, Vainoriene R, Motiekaityte V, Janulis V (2017) Phenological changes in triterpenic and phenolic composition of Thymus L. species. Ind Crops Prod 109:445–451
Boros B, Jakabová S, Dörnyei A, Horváth G, Pluhár Z, Kilár F, Felinger A (2010) Determination of polyphenolic compounds by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in Thymus species. J Chromatogr A 1217:7972–7980
Turumtay EA, İslamoğlu F, Çavuş D, Şahin H, Turumtay H, Vanholme B (2014) Correlation between phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of Anzer tea (Thymus praecox Opiz subsp. caucasicus var. caucasicus). Ind Crop Prod 52:687–694
Turumtay EA, Turumtay H, Demir A, Selvi EK, Yazici E, Sandalli C, Yazici ZA (2015) Anthocyanins profiling of Thymus praecox opiz subsp. caucasicus var. caucasicus. Ind Crop Prod 77:748–753
Fecka I, Turek S (2008) Determination of polyphenolic compounds in commercial herbal drugs and spices from Lamiaceae: thyme, wild thyme and sweet marjoram by chromatographic techniques. Food Chem 108:1039–1053
Sonmezdag AS, Kelebek H, Selli S (2015) Characterization of aroma-active and phenolic profiles of wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) by GC–MS-Olfactometry and LC–ESI–MS/MS. J Food Sci Technol 53:1957–1965
Vergara-Salinas JR, Pérez-Jiménez J, Torres JL, Agosin E, Pérez-Correa JR (2012) Effects of temperature and time on polyphenolic content and antioxidant activity in the pressurized hot water extraction of deodorized thyme (Thymus vulgaris). J Agric Food Chem 60:10920–10929
Lagouri V, Nisteropoulou E (2009) Antioxidant properties of O. onites, T. vulgaris and O. basilicum species grown in Greece and their total phenol and rosmarinic acid content. J Food Lipids 16:484–498
Kim E, Yoon KD, Lee WS, Yang WS, Kim SH, Sung NY, Baek KS, Kim Y, Htwe KM, Kim YD, Hong S, Kim JH, Cho JY (2014) Syk/Src-targeted anti-inflammatory activity of Codariocalyx motorius ethanolic extract. J Ethnopharmacol 155:185–193
Byeon SE, Yi YS, Oh J, Yoo BC, Hong S, Cho JY (2012) The role of Src kinase in macrophage mediated inflammatory responses. Mediat Inflamm 2012:1–18
Patterson H, Nibbs R, McInnes I, Siebert S (2014) Protein kinase inhibitors in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Clin Exp Immunol 176:1–10
Lee JO, Yang WS, Park JG, Jeong D, Kim HG, Yoon KD, Aravinthan A, Kim JH, Kim E, Cho JY (2017) Src and Syk contribute to the anti-inflammatory activities of Achyranthes aspera ethanolic extract. J Ethnopharmacol 206:1–7
Mueller M, Hobiger S, Jungbauer A (2010) Anti-inflammatory activity of extracts from fruits, herbs and spices. Food Chem 122:987–996
Vigo E, Cepeda A, Gualillo O, Perez-Fernandez R (2004) In-vitro anti-inflammatory effect of Eucalyptus globulus and Thymus vulgaris: nitric oxide inhibition in J774A.1 murine macrophages. J Pharm Pharmacol 56:257–263
This research was funded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia (number of the project: 006-0061117-1238). The authors want to thank Gordan Lukač, PhD (NP Paklenica), and Associate Professor Antun Alegro, PhD (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany and Botanical Garden) for their assistance in collection and identification of the plant material. We also thank Fidelta In vivo Pharmacology Department for mouse splenocyte isolation.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Compliance with ethics requirements
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
The effect of the methanolic extracts of selected Thymus species and poyphenols on the viability of LPS-stimulated Balb/C mice splenocytes evaluated by MTS assay is available as Supplementary data. (DOCX 19 kb)
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Kindl, M., Bucar, F., Jelić, D. et al. Comparative study of polyphenolic composition and anti-inflammatory activity of Thymus species. Eur Food Res Technol 245, 1951–1962 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00217-019-03297-x
- Thymus spp.
- Rosmarinic acid
- Src tyrosine kinase