Essential oils are commonly used in herbal cough mixtures as antitussive and antimicrobial preparations, for instance Thyme oil is used in many cough preparations in the Egyptian market and also Boswellia oil is traditionally used as an antitussive. The aim of this study is to compare the antitussive and antimicrobial activity of essential oils of Boswellia carterii and Thymus vulgaris referring to their chemical components which were studied by using different methods of analysis (UV, HPTLC, HPLC, GC and GC/MS). HPLC technique was used for the first time for analysis of Boswellia oil. Results showed that the principal component of Boswellia oil was octyl acetate (35.1%), while the major constituent of Thyme oil was thymol (51%). Both oils were effective as antitussives but Thyme oil was more efficient (89.3%) than Boswellia oil (59%) and also as antimicrobial. It could be concluded that Thyme and Boswellia oils are effective as antitussives but less with Boswellia oil which could serve as an adjuvant in herbal cough mixture but cannot replace Thyme oil.
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