Thyme Essential Oil: Facts, Benefits, and How to Use

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Thyme Essential OilThyme essential oil is one of the strongest antioxidants available today, but it has been used medicinally since ancient times. Thyme oil is extracted from the herb, Thymus vularis.

For centuries thyme has been used to support the nervous, digestive, respiratory, and immune systems. Today, thyme essential oil is praised for its antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiseptic, hypertensive, and calming properties. As a result, thyme essential oil can be useful for various health conditions, including respiratory infections, intestinal infections, skin problems, oral problems, circulatory problems, stress and anxiety, hormonal imbalance, and fibroids. This article details thyme essential oil, its benefits, and how to use it.

Facts and History about Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme is a popular cooking herb also used in aromatherapy. Thyme is a member of the mint family, along with rosemary, lavender, oregano, and basil. It is a bushy, wood-based evergreen subshrub that has small aromatic, gray-green leaves that is native to southern Europe from Southern Italy to Western Mediterranean. The thyme plant also has purple or pink flowers that blossom during early summer.

The oldest Egyptian medical text called Ebers Papyrus first mentioned thyme for its healing abilities. Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, and the ancient Greeks believed thyme helped with courage and used it in their temples and baths. In the European Middle Ages, thyme was also used beneath pillows to support sleep and protect against nightmares. It was also used on coffins during funerals to help assure safe passage into the afterlife.

Since thyme grows in different climates, soils, and environments, there are over 300 types with different chemical profiles. The main constituents of thyme essential oil often include thymol, carvacrol, beta-caryophyllene, borneol, linalool, alpha-terpinene, para-cymene, beta-pinene, camphene, alpha-pinene, thujanol, 1,8-cineole, geraniol, p-cymene, phenol, and alpha-thujone. Thyme essential oil contains 20 to 54% thymol, which is largely responsible for its antiseptic abilities. As a result, thyme essential oil is common in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and antifungal creams.

6 Health Benefits of Thyme Essential Oil

What are the health benefits ofessential oil? Thyme oil contains antiseptic, antimicrobial, cephalic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiac, bactericidal, cicatrisant, diuretic, carminative, expectorant, emmenagogue, tonic, stimulant, hypertensive, insecticide, and vermifugal properties.

As a result, there are many health benefits of thyme essential oil, including improving vision, reducing cellulite, preventing hair loss, boosting concentration and memory, preventing gas formation in the intestines and stomach, treating fibroids, and protecting the teeth from decay. It also serves as a bug repellent and keeps away pests like lice, fleas, mosquitoes, and bed bugs. The following are five other key thyme essential oil benefits:

1. Treats respiratory conditions

Thyme essential oil has the ability to kill respiratory infections like the common cold and congestion due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. As a result, thyme oil can help support respiratory and immune systems.

A study published in the journal Medicinal Chemistry in 2011 found that thyme essential oil exhibits strong activity against bacteria in isolated patients with respiratory infections.

2. Promotes skin health

Thyme essential oil also protects the skin from fungal and bacterial infections, as it can help treat sores, acne, burns, cuts and scars, wounds, and rashes. Sometimes, eczema is the result of poor digestion. Since thyme oil can help digestion, it will stimulate toxin elimination through urination, and therefore help treat eczema. The antioxidant ability of thyme oil also helps lead to glowing and healthy skin.

3. Kills infections and bacteria

The antiseptic properties of thyme oil include camphene and caryophyllene, which help kill infections in the body and on the skin. Thyme essential oil also contains antibacterial properties that help treat bacteria buildup in the respiratory tract, bacterial infections in the urethra and genitals, and intestinal infections. The vermifuge properties of thyme oil also help kill intestinal worms, including hook worms, tape worms, round worms, and maggots.

4. Relieves stress and anxiety

Thyme essential oil is also an effective way to relieve stress and restlessness. The relaxation effect of thyme oil can help treat insomnia, high blood pressure, and panic attacks.

For reducing anxiety, simply add a few drops of thyme essential oil to a diffuser, bathwater, body lotion, or just inhale it from the bottle.

5. Increases circulation

As a natural stimulant, thyme oil can help activate blood circulation, which is important because impaired circulation can lead to stroke and arthritis. Thyme oil also relaxes the veins and arteries to help decrease blood pressure and stress on the heart. Thyme essential oil is also a tonic that strengthens cardiac muscles, keeps blood flowing, and tones the circulatory system.

6. Balances hormones

Thyme essential oil also helps balance the progesterone hormone. Low progesterone levels are linked with PCOS, infertility, and depression, as well as other hormone imbalances within the body.

Research published in the journal Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine in 1998 found that thyme oil is one of the top oils with the highest progesterone- and estradiol-binding ability. As a result, thyme oil is superior to synthetic hormone treatments, such as the symptom-masking hormone replacement therapy that often has serious side effects like breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding, and indigestion. The hormone-stimulating ability of thyme oil also allows it to relieve menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, mood swings, and hot flashes.

How to Use Thyme Essential Oil

Want to know how to best use thyme essential oil? The best 100% pure, therapeutic-grade thyme essential oils can be purchased from reputable essential oil companies, so be sure to do your research.

You can also make your own thyme oil. Simply pick some fresh thyme, wash the herb, and dry it. Crush the herb with a mortar and pestle to release its natural oils. Then, add the crushed herb and a cup of carrier oil, like coconut oil, to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat for five minutes, until it begins to bubble. Once the mixture cools, store it in a glass container and keep it in a cool place.

Here are few easy thyme essential oil uses.

Mouthwash: Add two drops to water, and gargle.

Relieve menstrual cramps: Rub two drops with equal parts of carrier oil on the abdomen.

Increase circulation: Diffuse or inhale two or three drops daily.

Kill rashes and infections: Rub two drops to affected area.

Fatigue: Add two drops to warm bathwater.

Blocked nasal passages: Inhale two drops, or add to hot water for a steam inhalation.

Thyme Essential Oil Recipes

Rather than using conventional products that contain harmful chemicals, adding thyme essential oil to homemade massage mixtures, bug sprays, toothpaste, and shampoos can help nourish the skin and kill bacteria naturally.

The following are a few thyme essential oil recipes to help best utilize this beneficial oil.

1. Thyme Mint Shampoo Recipe  


  • 6 ounces of aloe vera gel
  • 10 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 20 drops of rosemary oil
  • 10 drops of thyme oil
  • 10 drops of peppermint oil


Combine all ingredients in a BPA-free plastic bottle or an eight-ounce glass container.

2. Circulatory Stimulating Thyme Massage Oil Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons of almond oil
  • 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 3 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 1 drop of clove essential oil
  • 3 drops of ginger essential oil
  • 3 drops of black pepper essential oil


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Then, transfer the mixture to a sterilized, amber glass bottle. Seal it with a dropper or cap.

Gently massage the oil on the body, and store the remaining oil in a cool, dark place for up to three months.

3. Homemade Bug Spray Recipe


  • ½ cup of witch hazel
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops of essential oils like thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, or lemongrass 


Combine apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and essential oils in an eight-ounce glass spray bottle.

Spray it all over the body. Be sure to avoid the mouth and eyes.

4. Hormone Balance Serum Recipe


  • 30 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 30 drops of clary sage essential oil
  • 1 ounce of evening primrose oil
  • 30 drops of ylang ylang essential oil


Combine all the ingredients together in a two-ounce bottle. Then, transfer the mixture to a sterilized, amber glass bottle. Seal it with a dropper or cap.

Rub five drops onto the neck twice daily.

Possible Side Effects and Interactions of Thyme Oil

When consumed in normal amounts for a short time, thyme essential oil is safe for children and adults. However, if you notice digestive upset, stop using thyme oil immediately. When added to food, thyme oil is also safe when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Thyme oil is mostly safe for the skin, but some report skin irritations. Therefore, we recommend testing the oil on a patch of skin before full use. Also, people allergic to oregano or other herbs in the mint family may also react to thyme oil.

Thyme may also slow blood clotting and increase bleeding, and as such, thyme essential oil should be avoided by people with a bleeding disorder. As a result, it is best to stop using thyme oil two weeks before having surgery. It is also advised to avoid thyme if you have a condition that may worsen from estrogen exposure.

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