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Effects of Thymus hirtus sp. algeriensis Boiss. et Reut. (Lamiaceae) essential oil on healing gastric ulcers according to sex

Fatma Guesmi1*, Manel Ben Ali2, Taha Barkaoui1, Wiem Tahri1, Mondher Mejri3, Mossadok Ben-Attia2, Houda Bellamine4 and Ahmed Landoulsi1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science of Bizerte, Bizerte, Tunisia

2 Laboratory of Biomonitoring of the Environment (LR01/ES14), Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte, Bizerte, Tunisia

3 Higher Institute of Technological Studies (ISET), Mogran, Zaghouan, Tunisia

4 Service of Anatomo- Pathology of Menzel Bourguiba, Bizerte, Tunisia

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2014, 13:138  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-138

Published: 26 August 2014



Thymus algeriensis Boiss. et Reut. (Lamiaceae), popularly known as “mougecha” or “mazoukcha” is prolific in Mediterranean regions, mostly in North Africa, and is used in folk medicine to treat of stomach diseases.


In this study, animals were induced with gastric ulcers using HCl/ethanol (0.3 M HCl/60% ethanol) and treated orally with essential oil of Thymus algeriensis (EOTa) in various doses ranging from 54 mg/kg body weight to 180 mg/kg body weight.


The dose found to be effective was 180 mg/kg body weight, since this dose brought about a maximum reduction in lesion index in female rats. In gastric tissues, levels of total glutathiones (GSH, GST and GPx) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were evaluated. The activities of the antioxidant enzymes, catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured. Histopathological changes were observed using a cross section of gastric tissue. Chemical analysis revealed the presence of 13 components accounting for 77.7% of the essential oil from dried leaves. Oral administration of EOTa (54, 117 and 180 ml/kg) inhibited HCl/ethanol-induced ulcers. Lesion index was significantly reduced in ulcer induced animals treated with EOTa (HCl/ethanol + EOTa) compared to those ulcerated with HCl/ethanol but with no treatment given. Females showed a greater resistance to ulcers and gastric lesions occurred less often than in males. GSH, pH, enzymic antioxidants, and adherent mucus content were all significantly increased.


From the data presented in this study, it can be concluded that male rats are more sensitive to gastric ulcers induced by HCl/ethanol than females.

Thymus algeriensis; Gastric ulcers; HCl/ethanol; Antioxidant enzymes