Compound in Oregano and Thyme has anticancer properties

Compound in Oregano and Thyme has anticancer properties

Researchers at Purdue University have shown that thymohydroquinone, a compound with strong anticancer properties normally derived from Nigella Sativa, can also be derived from Mediterranean herbs oregano and thyme.

Ever wondered why people along the Northern shores of the Mediterranean live longer?  Diet, red wine, sunshine, sea air of course. Now scientists have shown that there’s a strong anticancer compound in two commonly consumed herbs.

Thyme and oregano oil have antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties and are strong in protective polyphenols. They both also contain two pungent compounds, carvacrol and thymol. Each originates from the same source, y-terpinine.

Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana then discovered the genes and mRNA profile that converted them into thymohydroquinone, and this compound has strong anti-cancer properties (1).

Because the scientists have discovered the entire pathway for how all these compounds are produced in the herbs, they believe they can create ‘super-herbs’ designed to make increased concentrates of these compounds.. Working with Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, in Germany and Michigan State University in the USA, they believe they now have the complete recipe for making thymohydroquinone.

Natalia Dudarevea, a professor of biochemistry in Purdue's College of Agriculture, said that many herbs contained important compounds, but the amount is very low and there won’t be enough from the extraction to make drugs. But by stimulating the production first, they hope to increase production.

The researchers are also hoping the same mRNA analysis techniques will help them find and concentrate other health-giving compounds.

Thymoquinone is normally derived from a Middle Eastern flower called Nigella sativa, also called the fennel flower. It has been used in natural medicine for over 2,000 years. The natural oil also contains di-thymoquinone, thymohydroquinone, omega fatty acids and thymol.

Thymoquinone is used as an anti-inflammatory and seems capable of attacking cancers such as pancreatic, colon and prostate cancer, according to multiple research studies.

Chris Woollams former Oxford University Biochemist said, “I’m fascinated. We invariably use high doses of concentrates of Oregano oil in cancer programmes. They are called essential oils and they are strong enough to kill off yeasts and other pathogens already.”



  1. Natalia Dudareva, Pan Liao, Purdue University, Jan 11, 2022 -


  Approved by the Medical Board.  Click Here




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