Understanding the potential benefits of thyme and its derived products for food industry and consumer health: From extraction of value-added compounds to the evaluation of bioaccessibility, bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(18):2879-2895. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1477730. Epub 2018 Jun 14.


Natural bioactive compounds isolated from several aromatic plants have been studied for centuries due to their unique characteristics that carry great importance in food, and pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. For instance, several beneficial activities have been attributed to some specific compounds found in Thymus such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Moreover, these compounds are classified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) which means they can be used as an ingrident of may food producs. Conventional extraction processes of these compounds and their derived forms from thyme leaves are well established. Hoewever, they present some important drawbacks such as long extraction time, low yield, high solvent consumption and degradation thermolabile compounds. Therefore, innovative extraction techniques such as ultrasound, microwave, enzyme, ohmic and heat-assisted methods can be useful strategies to enhance the exytraction yield and to reduce processing temperature, extraction time, and energy and solvent consumption. Furthermore, bioaccessibility and bioavailability aspects of these bioactive compounds as well as their metabolic fates are crucial for developing novel functional foods. Additionally, immobilization methods to improve stability, solubility, and the overall bioavailability of these valuable compounds are necessary for their commercial applications. This review aims to give an overall perspective of innovative extraction techniques to extract the targeted compounds with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. Moreover, the bioaccessi-bility and bioavailability of these compounds before and after processing discussed. In addition, some of the most important characteristics of thyme and their derived products discussed in this paper.

Keywords: Thyme; anti-inflammatory; antimicrobial, bioavailability; bioactive compounds; thymol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents*
  • Biological Availability
  • Food Industry* / statistics & numerical data
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Thymus Plant* / chemistry


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Plant Extracts