Binary and Tertiary Mixtures of Satureja hortensis and Origanum vulgare Essential Oils as Potent Antimicrobial Agents Against Helicobacter pylori

Phytother Res. 2016 Mar;30(3):476-84. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5552. Epub 2015 Dec 21.


Essential oils possess strong antimicrobial activity, even against multiresistant Helicobacter pylori. Available therapies against H. pylori infection have multiple disadvantages, indicating a great need for a development of new therapeutics. The purpose of this study was to develop a potent natural product based anti-H. pylori formulation. First, anti-H. pylori activity of nine essential oils was determined, after which the most active oils were mixed in various ratios for further testing. Satureja hortensis, Origanum vulgare subsp. vulgare and O. vulgare subsp. hirtum essential oils expressed the highest activity (MIC = 2 μL mL(-1)). Their binary and ternary mixtures exhibited notably higher antimicrobial activity (MIC ≤ 2 μL mL(-1)). The most active was the mixture of S. hortensis and O. vulgare subsp. hirtum oils in volume ratio 2:1, which expressed 4 times higher activity than individual oils (MIC = 0.5 μL mL(-1)). According to GC-MS, both oils in the mixture were characterized by high content of phenols (48-73%), with carvacrol as the main carrier of antimicrobial activity. Presented in vitro study pointed out binary mixture of S. hortensis and O. vulgare subsp. hirtum essential oils in volume ratio 2:1 as promising candidate for further in vivo studies targeting H. pylori infection.

Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum; Satureja hortensis; antimicrobial activity; carvacrol; essential oils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cymenes
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Synergism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects*
  • Monoterpenes / analysis
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Origanum / chemistry*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Satureja / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cymenes
  • Drug Combinations
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • carvacrol