Thyme (Thymus vulgaris, Thymus serpyllum L)
Plant Family Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Common thyme, Red thyme, White thyme, Wild thyme
Thyme is native to Mediterranean Europe and is widely grown as a culinary herb. It has also been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, primarily as an antiseptic for respiratory and digestive disorders.
Thyme oil is steam- or water distilled from flowering tops and leaves. Two types of thyme oil are produced from the plant: red thyme is the crude distillate, while white thyme is further redistilled or rectified. It is necessary up to 30-35 kg of fresh thyme raw to obtain 1 kg of essential oil.
Nature of the Oil
Red thyme oil is a reddish-brown liquid will a powerful, warm, spicy-herbaceous smell. White thyme oil has a fresh, herbaceous, green smell, sweeter and slightly milder than red thyme, and is colourless or pale yellow.
Perfumery Note – Top to middle. The aroma lasts 1-2 days.
(Thymus serpyllum L)
|Carvacrol||8.0 – 16.0%|
|Geraniol||7.0 – 14.0%|
|1,8-Cineole||0.5 – 2.0%|
|D,L-Limonene (isomer unspecified)||1.0 – 2.0%|
|Eugenol||0.2 – 0.5%|
|Eugenyl methyl ether||0.4%|
Antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal, general stimulant and strengthening, especially for respiratory tract, against cough irritation, expectorant, promotes bile production and drainage of gallbladder, promotes digestion, carminative, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, against rheumatism, against parasites and worms.
Thyme oil is hot, pungent and stimulating. It is a powerful germicide, effective against many types of bacteria, viruses and fungi. It may be used in massage blends but can be an irritant, so do not use in concentrations of more than 3% and do a test on a small area of skin before use. Thyme may also be added to the bath, but it can irritate mucous membranes so should not be used in concentrations of more than 1% in bath oils. Add it to other strongly antiseptic oils such as clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and pine and use in a room spray or burner to fumigate.
Thyme acts as a general nerve tonic and, in a similar way to rosemary, invigorates the brain and memory, making it a useful tonic for any exhausted or debilitated condition.
The primary action of thyme is on the genito-urinary tract. It is one of the most important oils in the treatment of venereal infections and has been used effectively in the treatment of non-specific urethritis (NSU), gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea and trichomonas. It is also effective against many types of urinary infections including cystitis and pyelitis. It has a stimulating effect on the menses and will help to bring on delayed periods.
Thyme oil is a very effective pulmonary antiseptic, so it is useful in treating respiratory infections, including colds, flu, coughs and especially bronchitis. It may be used in steam inhalations, as a chest rub or in an essential oil burner. It is particularly beneficial where there is debility associated with the respiratory infection. It is similar to eucalyptus in its expectorant properties and is also an antispasmodic, helpful for spasmodic coughs and asthma.
In a similar way to tea tree, thyme has been shown to be effective in combating infection and in strengthening the immune response by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It is one of the main essential oils to be used in the treatment of HIV- related diseases.
Thyme has a warming and tonifying effect on the digestive system. Its antiseptic properties make it useful in treating dysentery and gastro-enteritis. Combine with rosemary or geranium and massage into the abdomen.
Thyme has a stimulating and toning effect on the circulatory system. It may be used to treat low blood pressure and debility. It can be helpful for anaemia.
As a warming and stimulating oil, thyme can be used in massage blends and baths to ease muscle stiffness, aches, pains, rheumatism and arthritis.
Well diluted, thyme can be applied to the skin to heal infections, acne, boils and sores. It will also eliminate head and body lice and scabies.
Abscesses, insect bites and stings, scabies, wounds, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, respiratory ailments, gum disorders, halitosis, tonsillitis, indigestion, flatulence, cystitis, colds and ’flu, infectious illness, nervous exhaustion, tiredness, depression.
Wild Thyme essential oil is restorative and fosters confidence. Wild Thyme essential oil is a popular aromatherapy oil for numerous reasons, but primarily due to its stress-relieving abilities. It is a very emotionally and energetically, uplifting essential oil that may help with combating situational depression and anxiety.
Blends Well With
Essential oils of Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Melissa, Rosemary, Tea Tree.
Our safety advice
Our dermal maximum is based on 48. l% total thymol and carvacrol content and a dermal limit of 1% for these constituent to avoid skin irritation (see Carvacrol and Thymol profiles, Chapter 14).
Because of its (+) -limonene content we recommend that oxidation of thyme oil (limonene CT) is avoided by storage in a dark airtight container in a refrigerator. The addition of an antioxidant to preparations containing it is recommended. However, thyme and carvacrol are antioxidants, and may perform this role.
Avoid during pregnancy. Another commonly used oil is labelled ‘Wild Thyme’ (T. serpyllum.) Unfortunately, wild plants have very different chemical compositions, even though they may be found growing in the same area. Therefore, it cannot be guaranteed that the oil from such plants will be gentle to skin and mucous membranes.
Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) has very similar properties to common thyme ( T. vulgaris) . Lemon thyme ( T. citriodorus) and thyme ‘linalool’ are both milder and less toxic than common thyme and are therefore more suitable for children.
1. C. Wildwood “The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy”, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1996
2. R. Tisserand, R. Young, E. M Williamson “Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals”, Churchill Livingstone ELSEVIER, 2014
3. S. Curtis “Essential Oils”, AURUM, London, 1996
4. R. Balz “The Healing Power of Essential Oils”, LOTUS LIGHT SHANGRI-LA, Twin Lakes, 1996
5. Л.ГДудченко, Г.П.Потебня, Н.А.Кривенко «Ароматерапия и аромамасаж», «Максимум», Киев, 1999