Gastroprotective and ulcer healing effects of essential oil from Hyptis spicigera Lam. (Lamiaceae)

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 26;135(1):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Mar 22.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Hyptis Jacq. (Lamiaceae) is being used in traditional medicine to treat fever, inflammation and gastric disturbances. Hyptis spicigera Lam. is a native plant distributed across the central region of Brazil. The essential oil extracted from this plant is used in folk medicine as antipyretic.

Aim of the study: The effects of the essential oil obtained from the aerial parts of Hyptis spicigera (OEH) were evaluated for their gastroprotective and healing activities.

Materials and methods: OEH chemical composition was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The gastroprotective action of the OEH was evaluated in rodent experimental models (ethanol and NSAID). To elucidate mechanisms of action, the antisecretory action and involvements of NO, SH, mucus and PGE2 were evaluated. The acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer model and Western Blot assay (COX-2 and EGF) were also used to evaluate the OEH healing capacity.

Results: GC-MS analysis of OEH indicated three monoterpenes as major compounds: alpha-pinene (50.8%), cineole (20.3%) and beta-pinene (18.3%) and, at the dose of 100 mg/Kg, p.o., OEH provided effective gastroprotection against lesions induced by absolute ethanol (97%) and NSAID (84%) in rats. OEH do not interfere with H+ secretion in gastric mucosa and its gastric protection does not depend on nitric oxide (NO) and sulfhydryl compounds (SH). The gastroprotective action of OEH occurs due to an increase in the gastric mucus production (28%) induced by PGE2 levels. Furthermore, OEH demonstrated a great healing capacity with 87% of reduction in ulcerative lesion area. It accelerated the healing of acetic acid-induced gastric lesions due to an increase in COX-2 (75%) and EGF (115%) expression in gastric mucosa. No sign of toxicity was observed in this study, considering the analyzed parameters.

Conclusions: All these results suggest the efficacy and safety of Hyptis spicigera in combating and healing gastric ulcer. Considering the results, it is suggested that the OEH could probably be a good therapeutic agent for the development of new phytotherapeutic medicine for the treatment of gastric ulcer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid
  • Animals
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Brazil
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds / pharmacology
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Cyclohexanols / pharmacology
  • Cyclohexanols / therapeutic use
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Ethanol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Hyptis / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Monoterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Ulcer / metabolism
  • Stomach Ulcer / pathology


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Cyclohexanols
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ethanol
  • beta-pinene
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • alpha-pinene
  • Dinoprostone
  • Acetic Acid
  • Eucalyptol