Thyme’s curative powers have been valued for upwards of a thousand years. The herb has been used successfully for skin and circulatory disorders and is an excellent antiseptic and tonic. Its essential oil is obtained through steam distillation. Approximately 143 pounds of flowering thyme plants are required to make 1 pint of oil.

Thyme contains thymol, carvacrol and flavonoids which are all beneficial for breaking up congestion, stopping coughing, calming bronchial spasms, and stimulating respiration. Thymol is also sometimes used as a topical antifungal medication.

Thymol also strengthens the immune system and has an antibacterial effect. Thymol is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash!

Thyme oil is most often found as either red thyme oil or white thyme oil. Red thyme oil is the strongest; it is produced after one distillation from the raw plant material. White thyme oil is produced from distilling the red thyme oil even further. There are many varieties of thyme, and some are less toxic than others. Lemon thyme and those called linalol are generally non-irritating and can be used directly on the skin in small amounts.

Because thyme oil is believed to loosen mucus and promote expectoration, the aroma, when inhaled in the proper amounts and dilutions, helps to subdue infections in the respiratory tract. It also works its effects through absorption by the skin. Because there are many types of thyme and not all can be used safely, use this oil with great care. Like all essential oils, thyme oil should never be taken internally.

One half to one tsp of thyme extract may be taken daily. One tsp of dried herb in a cup of hot water can be taken three times a day. A few drops of thyme oil can be used in vaporizers and steam inhalers.

Again, do not take thyme oil internally, as it can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness.


Thyme can help with the following


Chronic Inflammation

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an enzyme involved in prostaglandin biosynthesis, and plays a key role in the inflammatory response. In that essential oils, extracted from plants, have been long used for their aromatherapy, analgesic, and antibacterial properties, Hiroyasu Inoue, from Nara Women’s University (Japan), and colleagues screened a wide range of commercially available essential oils to assess their anti-inflammatory properties. They identified six essential oils, namely — thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot – that reduced the COX-2 expression in cells by at least 25%. Of these, thyme oil proved the most active, reducing COX-2 levels by almost 75%. Upon further study, the researchers found that carvacrol, a compound present in thyme oil, was the primary active anti-inflammatory agent; when they use pure carvacrol extracts in their tests, COX-2 levels decreased by over 80%. [Mariko Hotta, Rieko Nakata, Michiko Katsukawa, Kazuyuki Hori, Saori Takahashi, Hiroyasu Inoue. “Carvacrol, a component of thyme oil, activates PPAR{alpha} and {gamma} and suppresses COX-2 expression.” J. Lipid Res., Jan 2010; 51: 132 – 139]

This action is similar to the way medications like ibuprofen (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) effectively treat pain and inflammation.

Warning: do not take thyme oil internally with significant dilution. A preparation will need to be made commercially if there is going to be any successful use of this herb internally for it’s anti-inflammatory action.


Highly recommended



Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.


Inhibiting growth of infectious organisms.

Essential Oil

Volatile terpene derivative responsible for the odor or taste of a plant.


Most commonly 'topical application': Administration to the skin.

Immune System

A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.


(tsp) Equivalent to 5cc (5ml).


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.