Thyme essential oil is extracted from Thymus vulgaris (also known as Thymus aestivus, T. ilerdensis and T. velantianus) of the Labiatae family and is also known as common or red thyme.
Thyme essential oil can cause skin irritation, yet has great value to help with concentration and to focus, as well as being an excellent bronchial and lung stimulant, making it valuable in bronchitis, coughs, colds, asthma and the like, while the warming qualities are great for rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis and gout.
It has a rather sweet, yet strongly herbal smell and is reddish-brown to amber in color.
It is an ancient herb used in medicine by the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Romans and is an evergreen perennial shrub that grows up to 45 cm (18 inches) high, with a woody root system, much-branched stem, small elliptical greenish gray aromatic leaves and pale purple or white flowers. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘thymos’ that means ‘perfume’ and was used as an incense in Greek temples. The Egyptians used it in embalming process. During the Middle Ages it was given to jousting knights for courage, and a sprig of the herb was carried into courtrooms to ward off diseases.
Thyme essential oil is extracted from the fresh or partly dried flowering tops and leaves of the plant by water or steam distillation and the yield is 0.7 -1.0 %.
The main chemical components are a-thujone, a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, p-cymene, a-terpinene, linalool, borneol, b-caryophyllene, thymol and carvacrol.
The therapeutic properties of thyme oil are antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, bechic, cardiac, carminative, cicatrisant, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypertensive, insecticide, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge.
Thyme oil can assist with nervous complaints, respiratory problems, poor circulation and problems of the digestive system and the urinary tract.
Precautions and Uses
It is a very potent oil and should not be used during pregnancy or in cases of high blood pressure. Because of the phenols (carvacrol and thymol), which can irritate mucus membranes and cause skin irritation, it should not be used for skin care products, and in general should be used in low concentrations. When it is used in massage therapy, it would be a good idea to do a skin patch test to determine if the person is sensitive to it.
Thyme essential oil strengthens the nerves, aids memory and concentration, can help with the feeling of exhaustion and combats depression, while it fortifies the lungs and helps with colds, coughs, asthma, laryngitis, sinusitis, catarrh, whooping cough, sore throats and tonsillitis. Thyme oil is beneficial to boost the immune system and can help fight colds, flu, infectious diseases and chills and as a urinary antiseptic, it is very helpful for cystitis and urethritis. The warming effect of this oil can help in cases of poor circulation, as well as for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscular aches and pains, sprains and sport injuries. It is also helpful for cellulite, anorexia, obesity and edema and in cases of scanty periods, leucorrhoea, and to speed up birth and to expel afterbirth.
In vapor therapy, thyme oil can be helpful with bronchitis, coughs, respiratory problems, sinusitis, mucus congestion and muscular aches and pains.
As a blended massage oil it can assist with arthritis, bronchitis, colds, flu, coughs, gout, bruises, eczema, mucus congestion, muscular aches and pains, obesity and rheumatism.
Diluted as a mouthwash or as a gargle, thyme essential oil can help with gum infections and tonsillitis.
Apply directly, or used neat, thyme essential oil could help with animal bites and boils but use with care, because of the possible of the risk of skin irritation.