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May 29, 1937


Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore.

From the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oregon Medical School.

JAMA. 1937;108(22):1875. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780220003008b

A few of the volatile oils, namely, thymol, carvacrol, mustard, cinnamon and clove, have been shown1 to possess fungicidal properties of considerable merit. Thymol and its liquid isomer carvacrol are the only members of this group of fungicidal volatile oils possessing the power of destroying Actinomyces quickly, when in aqueous solution. Thymol and carvacrol each kill Actinomyces in forty-five seconds in 1:1,000 aqueous solution. This marked toxicity toward Actinomyces suggests the possibility of therapeutic value.

An opportunity to test the therapeutic merit of thymol in human actinomycosis presented itself in 1924. An abbreviated case report follows:

J. N., a white man, aged 59, a blacksmith, habitually chewed straw. He slept on straw while recently employed on a ranch. He was seen Aug. 10, 1924, because of a mass "the size of a pigeon's egg" at the juncture of the right zygoma with the mandible. The teeth of both jaws on