Binary mixture of Satureja hortensis and Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum essential oils: in vivo therapeutic efficiency against Helicobacter pylori infection

Helicobacter. 2017 Apr;22(2). doi: 10.1111/hel.12350. Epub 2016 Aug 31.


Background: Helicobacter pylori can cause many gastrointestinal and also extra-gastrointestinal disorders and is a major risk factor for gastric carcinoma and MALT lymphoma. Currently, numerous antibiotic-based therapies are available; however, these therapies have numerous drawbacks, mainly due to increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic agents against H. pylori infections.

Materials and methods: In this study, the anti-H. pylori activity of 2:1 mixture of Satureja hortensis and Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum essential oils (2MIX) was investigated in vivo. After screening in vitro cytotoxicity of 2MIX on mammalian cell lines, the therapeutic efficiency was studied in a mouse model, where changes in H. pylori colonization were detected by PCR and histology of gastric samples. The immune reaction of mice was tested based on cytokine and chemokine production, and the in vivo toxicity of 2MIX was also investigated by measuring ALT and AST enzyme activities and Cyp3a11 and HO-1 mRNA levels in livers of mice.

Results: 2MIX had not shown in vitro cytotoxicity against cell lines, only the highest concentration caused significant decrease in their survival rates. In the in vivo experiments, 2MIX successfully eradicated the pathogen in 70% of the mice. We could not detect toxicity or altered cytokine and chemokine balance after in vivo treatments in mice.

Conclusions: These results show that 2MIX is effective in reducing H. pylori colonization suggesting that this essential oil mixture has great potential as a new, effective, and safe therapeutic agent against H. pylori.

Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; essential oils; phytotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects*
  • Helicobacter pylori / isolation & purification
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage*
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Origanum / chemistry*
  • Satureja / chemistry*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • Oils, Volatile