Thyme oil comes from the perennial herb known as Thymus vulgaris. This herb is a member of the mint family, and it’s used for cooking, mouthwashes, potpourri and aromatherapy. It’s native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. Due to the herb’s essential oils, it has a number of health benefits; in fact, these benefits have been recognized across the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Thyme oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, hypertensive and has calming properties.
Thyme oil is one of the strongest antioxidants known, and it has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times. Thyme supports the immune, respiratory, digestive, nervous and other body systems. It’s one of the best essential oils for hormones because it balances hormone levels — helping women with menstrual and menopausal symptoms. It also protects the body from dangerous diseases and ailments, such as stroke, arthritis, fungal and bacterial infections, and skin conditions.
Thyme Plant and Chemical Composition
The thyme plant is a bushy, woody-based evergreen subshrub with small, highly aromatic, gray-green leaves and clusters of purple or pink flowers that bloom in the early summer. It typically grows to be between six to 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide. Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil.
Thyme tolerates drought well, and it can even endure deep freezes, as it’s found growing wild on mountain highlands. It’s planted in the spring and then continues to grow as a perennial. The seeds, roots or cuttings of the plant can be used for propagation.
Because the thyme plant is grown in many environments, climates and soils, there are over 300 varieties with different chemotypes. Although they all look the same, the chemical composition is different along with the corresponding health benefits. The chief constituents of thyme essential oil typically include alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, camphene, beta-pinene, para-cymene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, borneol, beta-caryophyllene, thymol and carvacrol. The essential oil has a spicy and warm aroma that’s powerful and penetrating.
Thyme essential oil contains 20 percent to 54 percent thymol, which gives thyme oil its antiseptic properties. For this reason, thyme oil is commonly used in mouthwashes and toothpastes. It effectively kills germs and infections in the mouth and protects the teeth from plaque and decay. Thymol also kills fungi and is commercially added to hand sanitizers and antifungal creams.
9 Thyme Oil Benefits
1. Treats Respiratory Conditions
Thyme oil drains congestion and cures infections in the chest and throat that cause the common cold or cough. The common cold is caused by over 200 different viruses that can attack the upper respiratory tract, and they’re spread in the air from person to person. Common causes of catching a cold include a weakened immune system, lack of sleep, emotional stress, mold exposure and an unhealthy digestive tract.
Thyme oil’s ability to kill infections, reduce anxiety, rid the body of toxins and treat insomnia without drugs makes it the perfect natural remedy for the common cold. The best part is it’s all natural and doesn’t contain the chemicals that can be found in medications.
2. Kills Bacteria and Infections
Due to thyme components like caryophyllene and camphene, the oil is antiseptic and kills infections on the skin and within the body. Thyme oil is also antibacterial and inhibits bacterial growth; this means that thyme oil is able to treat intestinal infections, bacteria infections in the genitals and urethra, bacteria that builds up in the respiratory system, and heals cuts or wounds that are exposed to harmful bacteria.
A 2011 study conducted at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland tested thyme oil’s response to 120 strains of bacteria isolated from patients with infections of oral cavity, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. The results of experiments showed that the oil from the thyme plant exhibited extremely strong activity against all of the clinical strains. Thyme oil even demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotic-resistant strains.
Thyme oil is also a vermifuge, so it kills intestinal worms that can be very dangerous. Use thyme oil in your parasite cleanse to treat round worms, tape worms, hook worms and maggots that grow in open sores.
3. Promotes Skin Health
Eczema, or example, is a common skin disorder that causes dry, red, itchy skin that can blister or crack. Sometimes this is due to poor digestion (like leaky gut), stress, heredity, medications and immune deficiencies. Because thyme oil helps the digestive system, stimulates the elimination of toxins from the body through urination, relaxes the mind and functions as an antioxidant, it’s the perfect natural eczema treatment.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition measured changes in antioxidant enzyme activity when being treated with thyme oil. The results highlight the potential benefit of thyme oil as a dietary antioxidant, as thyme oil treatment improved brain function and fatty acid composition in aging rats. The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen, which can lead to cancer, dementia and heart disease. A bonus to consuming high-antioxidant foods is that it slows the aging process and leads to healthy, glowing skin.
4. Promotes Teeth Health
Thyme oil is known to treat oral problems like tooth decay, gingivitis, plaque and bad breath. With its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, thyme oil is a natural way to kill germs in the mouth so you can avoid oral infections, so it works as a gum disease natural remedy and cures bad breath. Thymol, an active component in thyme oil, is used as a dental varnish that protects the teeth from decay.
5. Serves as Bug Repellent
Thyme oil keeps away pests and parasites that feed on the body. Pests like mosquitoes, fleas, lice and bed bugs can wreak havoc on your skin, hair, clothes and furniture, so keep them away with this all-natural essential oil. A few drops of thyme oil also repels moths and beetles, so your closet and kitchen are safe. If you didn’t get to the thyme oil quick enough, it also treats insect bites and stings.
6. Increases Circulation
Thyme oil is a stimulant, so it activates circulation; blocked circulation leads to conditions like arthritis and stroke. This powerful oil is also able to relax the arteries and veins — reducing stress on the heart and blood pressure. That makes thyme oil a natural remedy for high blood pressure.
A stroke, for example, occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain or a blood vessel to the brain is obstructed, restricting oxygen to the brain. This oxygen deprivation means cells in your brain will die within minutes, and it leads to balance and movement problems, cognitive deficits, language problems, memory loss, paralysis, seizures, slurred speech, trouble swallowing, and weakness. It’s so crucial to keep your blood circulating throughout the body and in the brain because if something devastating like a stroke does occur, you need to seek treatment within one to three hours for it to be effective.
Stay ahead of your health and use natural and safe remedies like thyme oil to increase blood circulation. Thyme oil is also a tonic, so it tones the circulatory system, strengthens cardiac muscles and keeps the blood flowing properly.
7. Eases Stress and Anxiety
Thyme oil is an effective way to bust stress and treat restlessness. It relaxes the body — allowing your lungs, veins and mind to open and keep the body functioning properly. It’s important to stay relaxed and level-headed because constant anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems and panic attacks. It can be caused by a hormone imbalance, which can be regulated by thyme oil naturally.
Use a few drops of thyme oil throughout the week to reduce anxiety levels and allow your body to thrive. Add the oil to bath water, a diffuser, body lotion or just inhale it.
8. Balances Hormones
Thyme essential oil has progesterone balancing effects; it benefits the body by improving progesterone production. Both men and a lot of women are low in progesterone, and low progesterone levels have been linked with infertility, PCOS and depression, as well as other imbalanced hormones within the body.
Research discussed in the Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine noted that of 150 herbs tested for progesterone production that inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells, thyme oil is one of the top six to have the highest estradiol and progesterone binding. For this reason, using thyme oil is a great way to naturally balance hormones in the body; plus, it’s far better than turning to synthetic treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy, which can make you dependent on prescription drugs, mask symptoms while developing diseases in other parts of the body and often cause serious side effects.
By stimulating hormones, thyme oil is also known to delay menopause; it also serves as a natural remedy for menopause relief because it balances hormone levels and relieves menopausal symptoms, including mood swings, hot flashes and insomnia.
9. Treats Fibroids
Fibroids are growths of connective tissue that occur in the uterus. Many women experience no symptoms from fibroids, but they can cause heavy periods. The causes of fibroids include high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone due to obesity, hypothyroidism, perimenopause or low-fiber diets.
Because thyme oil increases progesterone levels in the body, it serves as a natural fibroid treatment. Rub two drops of thyme oil on the abdomen twice daily to treat fibroids and relieve symptoms of PMS and menstruation.
In addition to these nine proven benefits, thyme oil:
- prevents the formation of gas in the stomach and intestines
- serves as a diuretic that helps with the removal of toxins, salts and excess water
- boosts memory and increases concentration
- reduces cellulite
- prevents hair loss
- improves vision
The History of Thyme
The oldest Egyptian medical text, called Ebers Papyrus, dates back to 1550 B.C., and it records the healing values of thyme. The ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, and the ancient Greeks used it in their baths and temples; they believed that it brought on feelings of courageousness.
In the European Middle Ages, thyme was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares; the herb was also laid on coffins during funerals because it was believed that it provided a safe passage to the next life.
How to Use Thyme Oil
Thyme essential oil is produced through the steam distillation of fresh leaves and flowers of the thyme plant. To make your own thyme oil, pick a handful of fresh thyme, wash the herb and pat it dry. Then crush the herb — you can do this using a mortar and pestle.
Once the leaves are crushed and the natural oils are released, add the crushed leaves and 1 cup of a carrier oil (like olive oil or coconut oil) to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture for 5 minutes, until you notice it bubbling. Once the mixture cools, it can be stored in a glass container that is kept in a cool place.
Here are some easy ways to use thyme oil in your everyday life:
- To ease fatigue, add 2 drops of thyme oil to warm bath water.
- To relieve menstrual cramps, rub 2 drops of thyme oil with equal parts carrier oil on your abdomen.
- To use as a mouthwash, add 2 drops of thyme oil to water and gargle.
- To open blocked nasal passages, inhale 2 drops of thyme oil, or add it to hot water for steam inhalation.
- To kill toe fungus, add 5 drops of thyme oil to a warm foot bath.
- To kill infections and rashes, rub 2 drops of thyme oil to the needed area.
- To increase circulation, inhale or diffuse 2–3 drops of thyme oil daily.
Thyme Oil Recipes
Instead of using conventional recipes and showering your body in harmful chemicals, try adding thyme oil to this Homemade Bug Spray recipe. In addition to keeping away bugs, it also helps kill bacteria and nourish your skin! And unlike conventional brands, it smells great.
Thyme oil kills germs in the mouth and serves as a dental varnish. Try adding 10–20 drops of thyme oil to my Homemade Remineralizing Toothpaste. This recipe has all the nutrients that support building healthy teeth, from calcium to magnesium. Not only will your teeth be clean, but they’ll be healthy and strong too.
Thyme oil is known to stimulate hair growth, and it washes away germs and bacteria that may build up on the scalp. Add 10 drops of thyme oil to my Homemade Rosemary Mint Shampoo. You will fall in love with the invigorating fragrance! This all-natural and chemical-free shampoo helps thicken hair and reduce dandruff.
Hormone Balance Serum
- Mix all ingredients together in 2-ounce bottle
- Put into glass vial with dropper.
- Rub 5 drops onto neck 2 times daily.
Possible Side Effects & Interactions of Thyme Oil
Thyme oil is safe for adults and children when consumed in normal food amounts and when taken as medication for short periods of time. A possible side effect is disrupting the digestive system; if you notice this, stop using thyme right away. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, thyme oil is safe, but stick to food amounts because there is not a lot of research on the side effects at this time.
Thyme oil is most likely safe when applied to the skin, but there are some reports of skin irritations as a result of using thyme oil, so test the oil on a patch of skin first. People who are allergic to oregano or other Lamiaceae species might also be allergic to thyme.
Do not take thyme oil if you have a bleeding disorder; thyme might slow blood clotting, and taking thyme can increase your risk of bleeding, especially if used in large amounts. Because of this, you should also stop using thyme oil two weeks before a scheduled surgery. Thyme might also act like estrogen in the body, so if you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use thyme.
If you feel like you could use some more in depth information on essential oils, Dr. Josh Axe is hosting a free webinar going over, in great detail, uses and tips for using essential oils. Click below to learn more.