Anti H. pylori, anti-secretory and gastroprotective effects of Thymus vulgaris on ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in Sprague Dawley rats

PLoS One. 2024 Jan 25;19(1):e0287569. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287569. eCollection 2024.


The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the acute toxicity, gastroprotective, therapeutic, anti-inflammatory and anti H. pylori activities of T. vulgaris total plant extract against ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in Sprague Dawley rats. Animals were divided into five groups i.e G-1 (Normal Control), Group 2 (ulcer control) were administered orally with 0.5% Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), Group 3 (omeprazole treated) was administered orally with 20 mg/kg of omeprazole and Groups 4 and 5 (Low dose and High dose of the extract) were administered orally with 250, and 500 mg/ kg of Thymus vulgaris extract, respectively. After 1 hour, the normal group was orally administered with 0.5% CMC (5 ml/kg), whereas absolute alcohol (5ml/ kg) was orally administered to the ulcer control group, omeprazole group, and experimental groups. Stomachs were examined macroscopically and microscopically. Grossly, rats pre-treated with T. vulgaris demonstrated significantly decreased ulcer area and an increase in mucus secretion and pH of gastric content compared with the ulcer control group. Microscopy of gastric mucosa in the ulcer control group showed severe damage to gastric mucosa with edema and leukocytes infiltration of the submucosal layer. However, rats pretreated with omeprazole or Thyme vulgaris exhibited a mild to moderate disruption of the surface epithelium and lower level of edema and leukocyte infiltration of the submucosal layer. The T. vulgaris extract caused up-regulation of Hsp70 protein, down-regulation of Bax protein, and intense periodic acid Schiff uptake of the glandular portion of the stomach. Gastric mucosal homogenate of rats pre-treated with T. vulgaris exhibited significantly increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities while malondialdehyde (MDA) level was significantly decreased. Based on the results showed in this study, Thymus vulgaris extract can be proposed as the safe medicinal plants for use and it has considerable gastroprotective potential via stomach epithelium protection against gastric ulcers and stomach lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Omeprazole / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stomach Ulcer* / chemically induced
  • Stomach Ulcer* / drug therapy
  • Stomach Ulcer* / prevention & control
  • Thymus Plant*
  • Ulcer / drug therapy


  • Ethanol
  • Plant Extracts
  • Omeprazole
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.