In the present study, the chemical composition of Origanum compactum essential oil was determined by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, and its mutagenic and antimutagenic activities were investigated by the somatic mutation and recombination test (SMART) in Drosophila melanogaster. No significant increase in the number of somatic mutations was observed with the essential oil tested using both the standard (ST) and high bio-activation (HB) cross. In order to investigate the antimutagenic effect of the essential oil, we have tested the effect on the indirect-acting mutagen urethane (URE), as well as the direct-acting mutagen methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). O. compactum essential oil showed a strong inhibitory effect against URE-induced mutagenicity, especially with the HB cross. However, only a weak inhibitory effect on the mutagenicity induced by MMS was observed. These results suggest that the detected antimutagenicity could be mediated by an inhibitory effect on metabolic activation. The essential oil was fractionated to identify the components responsible of the suppressing effect detected. Seven fractions were obtained: two of them showed the most potent inhibitory effect against URE-induced mutagenicity and were further fractionated. The sub-fractions obtained from the second chromatographic fractionation were tested for their antimutagenic activity, together with carvacrol and thymol. The highest antimutagenic effect obtained with the sub-fractions was similar to the effect of the crude essential oil, as well as to the effect of carvacrol alone. These results suggest the absence of a synergic antimutagenic effect between the components of O. compactum essential oil and indicate that carvacrol was the most active oil component.