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You’re probably familiar with thyme’s use as an herb and food seasoning. In addition to livening up the flavor of food, the thyme plant (Thymus vulgaris) is also the source of thyme essential oil.
Thyme oil has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It’s commonly used as a preservative in foods, cosmetics, and toiletries. It can also be found as an ingredient in mouthwash.
There are several studies that support thyme essential oil’s ability to reduce or eliminate foodborne bacteria, support heart health, and alleviate inflammation in the body, among other benefits.
Before you go out and buy a bottle, it’s important to realize that there’s no indication that thyme oil used on its own will cure any specific disease.
While more research is needed, thyme oil is currently thought to be beneficial when used as part of overall therapeutic programs, not as a solo treatment or cure.
Thyme oil contains several compounds that have health benefits. These compounds include:
Next, let’s look at how these compounds are beneficial for different uses of thyme oil.
2. Alopecia areata
Thyme oil mixed with other essential oils and a carrier oil, coupled with massage,
Currently, there’s little data indicating whether or not thyme oil is effective for this condition, although anecdotal evidence indicates that a combination of essential oils that includes thyme oil may be an effective treatment.
3. Breast cancer
4. Coughs and respiratory tract infections
The thymol content in thyme oil is thought to have antispasmodic properties. When mixed with primrose, thyme essential oil has been
5. Food preservative
In a study reported in the
6. Heart disease
A 2010 laboratory study published in the
7. Oral health
Thymol’s anti-inflammatory effects have been documented in several studies. The thymol in thyme oil is effective at reducing inflammation and infection.
According to recent research, thymol’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make it beneficial for oral health. The compound is an ingredient in several dental products, including Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash.
If you have an allergy to mint, you may also be allergic to thyme and thyme oil.
Adverse reactions to thyme oil have included:
- allergic reactions, ranging from contact dermatitis to hay fever symptoms
- muscle weakness
- gastrointestinal irritation and distress
Thyme oil shouldn’t be swallowed or used undiluted on your skin. Talk to your doctor before using thyme oil, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Children shouldn’t be given thyme oil. When diffusing essential oils, consider children and pets who may react to the oil.
Since thyme oil is unlikely to cause harm, you might want to try it and see how it works. If you’d like to try an aromatherapy scalp treatment at home, here’s what to do:
- Choose a vegetable oil, such as jojoba oil or grapeseed oil, to act as the carrier oil.
- Mix 2 to 3 cups of the carrier oil with 3 to 5 drops each of thyme, lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood essential oils. Each of these oils have properties that may make them beneficial for hair growth or scalp health.
- Massage a small amount into the scalp daily for about 10 minutes.
- Leave on for an hour or overnight.
- Rinse with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
- This treatment may take several months to work. Discontinue if you experience any scalp irritation.
Before trying this treatment, do a patch test with each oil to ensure that it doesn’t irritate your skin, eyes, or nasal passages.
Essential oils should always be mixed with a carrier oil prior to testing. Don’t use an undiluted essential oil on your scalp or on any area of skin.
Thyme oil is typically acquired from the leaves and flowers of Thymus vulgaris via a steam distillation process. The first distillation produces red thyme essential oil, which is a heady, dark oil with a spicy scent. Red thyme oil is often used as a middle note in perfumery.
If red thyme oil goes through a second distillation process, a gold to pale yellow oil results. This is the most commonly used form of thyme oil. It’s simply referred to as thyme oil or white thyme oil.
Thyme oil has been shown to have benefits for several conditions, and to support heart and oral health. It isn’t meant to be used as a sole treatment for any disease, but it may have beneficial applications when combined with other treatments.
Other than essential oil, thyme oil can also be found in commercially made products, including cosmetics, toiletries, and foods. It’s often used for its preservative and antimicrobial qualities.