The biopotential of the essential oils of the Greek aromatic plants Satureja thymbra and Satureja parnassica were investigated, together with their major components carvacrol, thymol, γ-terpinene and p-cymene.
Antioxidant and cancer cell cytotoxic properties were determined using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and sulforhodamine B assays, respectively. The antiproliferative potential was studied against the MCF-7, A549, HepG2 and Hep3B cell lines.
S. thymbra oil possessed stronger antioxidant and antiproliferative capacity when tested on MCF-7 cells compared to S. parnassica oil. Thymol exhibited two-fold greater antioxidant potency than carvacrol, whereas γ-terpinene and p-cymene had no significant effect. Carvacrol was the most potent antiproliferative agent against A549 cells, while Hep3B cells were most sensitive to thymol. p-Cymene and γ-terpinene demonstrated negligible bioactivity.
S. thymbra and S. parnassica essential oils exhibit significant but diverse antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, mainly attributed to their main components, carvacrol and thymol.