Thyme or Thymus Vulgaris is antiseptic, tonic, stimulant, digestive, hypertensive, carminative, anti-spasmodic, bactericide, expectorant and countless other qualities that make this humble herb that we very much take for granted, a real aromatherapy hero. Its key action is a cleansing one and it is extremely versatile and purifying.
Thyme has fresh, green, intense top notes and spicy medicinal undertones and although classified as a stimulant, it actually has a lot of balancing calming qualities that make it an excellent choice to help give the body calm and restfulness. The oil is extracted through steam distillation and its yield is dependent on harvesting time.
Thyme oil comes from a perennial aromatic shrub, belonging to the Labiatae or Lamiaceae botanical family. It produces white or light purple little blooms and small green–gray leaves both of which are used to extract the oil from. Thyme is a plant that is very easy to hybridize and as a result there are many existing variants with attractive names like Archer’s Gold and others. Equally, there are many different variants of thyme essential oils. Some of these are thymus vulgaris carvacrol, thymus vulgaris terpineol, thymus vulgaris geraniol, based on their various chemotypes and the key components that dominate the oil. The most gentle and non-toxic is linalool thyme or Thymus vulgaris linalool and this is the one you should mainly ask for in aromatherapy and to apply on the body.
Thyme is extensively used in cooking both in its dried and fresh forms, to perfume casseroles, stews and vegetables. It is actually very easy to grow especially in sunny climates. Thyme’s native lands are Greece, Germany, France, Morocco, Algeria and Spain. It can grow anywhere, from a tiny window sill in a city to the wild mountain highlands. It’s a precious addition to any garden since it not only acts as a deterrent to beetles and other garden pests, its flowers also attract bees and exquisite honey is made from them.
Thyme is used in aromatherapy for its medicinal and mood enhancing values and in cosmetics to make soaps and toothpastes, lotions and creams to fight infections.
Whats Exactly is in Thyme Oil
Thyme provides the body with essential nutrients and vitamins by being an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, riboflavin, iron , copper, manganese, calcium and doses of vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc as well. Its most important volatile component is thymol. Thymol has been proven to be able to significantly increase healthy fats throughout the cells and even increase omega-3 fatty acid content in the kidney, heart, and brain cell membranes. Depending on the variety, thyme oil can contain anything between twenty to seventy or so percent of thymol, which is the key antiseptic ingredient of the plant.
Thyme has been used for thousands of years in and around the Mediterranean countries and has also been referred to in ancient Greek and Egyptian texts. Potentially the very name of thyme may originate in the ancient Greek word “Thymus” which means bravery and courage. It used to burn in ancient Greek temples and baths to cleanse and purify the environment. In medieval times it used to be given to knights and warriors by their loved ones to give them courage in battle. It has even been used to support labor and childbirth.
Thyme oil blends well with most other herb oils as well as with Lavender, Black Pepper, Pine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Cypress and Bergamot.
Health Benefits and uses of Thyme Oil
ANTISEPTIC AND ANTIBACTERIAL
There have been extensive studies that speak to the antiseptic and anti bacterial power of thyme. It is effective against bacteria and fungi and can prevent the body being invaded by a series of undesirable micro-organisms.
This would explain why thyme is great to use in periods of convalescence for infection prevention, whether for exterior or interior wounds,
With its Caryophyllene and camphene components, thyme oil is therefore a good antiseptic that safeguards sores and wounds against infections.
These same components contain antibacterial properties that help the inhibition of bacterial infections both within the body as well as outside. Several bacterial wounds are dealt with including, wounds in the intestines, urethra, respiratory system and external wounds found on the body and visible to the naked eye. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to such persistent bacteria as B-Colitis, renal colic and genital bacterial infections. This is particularly and specifically due to one of its key volatile components, thymol. Thymol in thyme has even been tested and proven effective against the hospital superbug, Methicillin-resistant Staphyylococcus Aureus (MRSA). This is of great importance since this bug can affect any patient that enters a hospital no matter what the primary affliction was, is increasingly resistant to antibiotics, is not too hard to be transmitted among patients and can even be quite lethal.
Other points to note about Thyme Oil:
- Thyme oil is even added in some refreshing, cooling and all-natural hand sanitizers.
- Thyme oil is so protective that it can even act as a vermifuge for tapeworms and other intestinal worms.
- Because it is such a powerful anti-bacterial it can also combat yeast infections and fungal toe infections.
- Ultimately, its antiseptic and cleansing attributes cannot be disputed.
The lymphatic system is the body’s network of functions that help eliminate all the toxins and unwanted waste and help transport defensive white blood cells where they are most needed. When thyme oil is used in conjunction with an invigorating lymphatic massage, it can be particularly effective in stimulating the production of white cells, thus strengthening the body’s defense mechanisms. It can additionally stimulate circulation, which is very important in preventing arthritic conditions. This means that it helps protect the joints by ensuring that they have sufficient blood flow. This in turn, helps maintain a sufficient range of motion and keep the joints loose and mobile.
Additionally, thyme oil is a powerful diuretic and helps naturally eliminate toxins, salts and excess water through urine. This means that it can effectively treat gout which results from concentration of toxins, like uric acid in the bloodstream.
It can also strengthen the function of the heart by keeping the valves functioning properly and because it is an antispasmodic it relaxes arteries and veins reducing any stress on the heart.
Thyme is particularly effective for women throughout the cycle and life of the reproductive system. It helps with irregular or blocked periods and Pre Mestrual Syndrome (PMS) with all its inconveniences like cramps, bloating, mood swings, fatigue and even nausea. It is said to also be able to support childbirth and labor.
One of the recommended remedies for blocked or obstructed periods is blending thyme oil with sesame oil and massaging the abdominal area to encourage flow.
Thyme has also be found to be one of the top oils for highest progesterone and estradiol binding ability. This makes it superior to current hormone replacing treatments and therefor a very effective ally during menopause. It can even treat quite a few or its most notable side effects, like insomnia, hot flashes and mood swings.
Already in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, thyme was used as a remedy against tooth decay, bad breath and plaque. Known as a powerful germ killer, it is no wonder that a lot of industrial mouth washes list it as a key ingredient. Again thanks to thyme’s primary component, thymol, adding a simple drop of thyme in a glass of water can be an effective, refreshing and healthy homemade mouth wash.
Thyme’s immunity enhancing and antibacterial properties are particularly effective in protecting the respiratory system and helping against coughs and colds. It can act as a great expectorant helping the body get rid of phlegm. It can even help with hoarseness, laryngitis and tonsillitis. A few drops of thyme oil in a steam inhalation can help clear the nasal passages and alleviate coughs in a very expedient fashion.
For those who have tried antibiotics to eliminate persistent coughs, thyme can be a very beneficial last resort.
Thyme also stimulates digestion and the function of the liver. It is therefore not such a big surprise that it is therefore a key ingredient in generations of cooking practices.
Thyme oil specifically acts as a tonic for the liver and can treat dyspepsia, meaning digestive difficulties, stomach upsets, heartburn and gastric formation. Thyme can help dissipate gasses which are not only an inconvenience but can have profound effects on many other areas of the body and its systems. Excessive gas for example can give heartburn, cramps, headaches and insomnia.
Thyme is extremely beneficial for the skin both because of its antiseptic and its antioxidant properties. It moisturizes the skin and by eliminating free radicals, it can make it look younger and healthier. It can even be effective against acne. Eczema is a particularly virulent affliction of the skin, sometimes also linked to the digestive system. Since thyme has an effect on both, it can help stimulate toxic elimination and therefore be effective against eczema, replacing it with glowing and healthy skin.
It acts like such a stimulant that it can also help with hair loss when applied to the scalp.
Well-being Benefits and uses
STRESS AND ANXIETY
Thyme has a wonderfully balancing quality and this make sit excellent for those suffering from anxiety or stress. It both enlivens and calms and imparts spiritual and physical strength, as the body requires. It has a grounding quality. It is good in massages, baths or burners, ideally blended with other balancing oils for best effect.
Thyme is also effective against chronic fatigue and can be very soothing in a bath.
Inhaling the aroma can improve concentration, enhance focus and lift the spirits.
Rub a drop on the temples, neck or chest for lifting anxiety and the pressure of stress while still feeling energized. An added benefit is that it can also combat snoring through multiple of its properties. Most notably, the fact that it opens up the nasal airways, reduces the body’s inflammation, by the way one of the common causes of snoring, and also regulates digestion and reflux which also can irritate the palate and throat. Absorption of the oil’s benefits is fastest when applied as a massage oil to the base of the feet before sleeping. Alternatively, it can also be added in humidifiers or burners for a milder exposure.
Anorexia literally means “lack of appetite due to nervousness”. It is therefore natural that thyme oil with its overall tonic properties is a very important oil in helping combat this affliction. As one of the symptoms of anorexia is also a lack of a period for a certain time, thyme’s ability to regulate menstrual flow makes it a doubly important natural remedy for this.
Thyme is a very effective oil in naturally repelling insects and has been used as such for thousands of years. Just a few drops on the body or clothes, blended with a carrier oil, of course, is enough to keep all manner of creatures away like mosquitos, fleas, flies or bed bugs. In the garden, it can even repel beetles and in our cupboards, it can protect our clothes from moths.
Best blending combinations of Thyme Oil
Essential oils work well individually and their benefits and distinctive scents can be experienced as such.
But by blending oils, we are doing more than mixing flavors. There are combinations that can create powerful synergies whereby we are not simply experiencing each individual benefit but the oils enhance and influence each other thereby producing exponential benefits. Blending is a creative process and an individual one and it is important to follow intuition and personal preference when practicing it. When first attempting it is best to stick to a maximum of three or four essential oils and always take into account personal preferences, intended usage or symptoms that need to be treated and emotional and psychological factors. For those who need a little bit more guidance to start with, below are a few tried and tested combinations that work particularly well and have proven their efficacy, using thyme as a prime component:
- Thyme added to a glass of water can be swirled in the mouth for instant refreshment and tooth decay protection
- Thyme blended with a neutral carrier oil and gently massaged onto the tummy can help with obstructed periods and menstrual cramps and pains. This can also help have a urinary effect and accelerate the process of toxic and waste elimination.
- Thyme, clove, ginger and black pepper blended with a neutral carrier oil can be used in a steam inhalation or a massage to help stimulate circulation.
- Thyme, vinegar, tea tree, rosemary and eucalyptus sprayed on the body can help repel any number of unpleasant bugs. Be sure to avoid the nose and mouth when applying.
- Thyme, Clary Sage, evening primrose oil and Yland Ylang can be blended together to create a hormone balancing serum.
- Thyme, Peppermint, Rosemary, olive oil and baking soda mixed together can make a great astringent and moisturizing homemade shampoo.
- Thyme and Witch Hazel steeped together to be used as a toner daily on the skin to combat acne.
- Thyme, Chamomile and Lavender in a carrier oil can promote immune protection and increase the health of the joints. To be applied topically in a gentle massage, as needed.
Some precautions when Using Thyme Oil
There are many varieties of thyme available in the market but the one that is most gentle and safest to use because it is non-toxic, is linalol thyme.
However, this does not mean that the usual precautions don’t apply. It is always best to first test using it on a narrow surface of the skin to determine if there are any allergic reactions. People who are allergic or are sensitive to oregano or other herbs in the mint family will probably also react to thyme. It is safest to dilute it in a carrier oil before using as undiluted, it can be very dermo-caustic and can “burn” the skin.
Overall thyme is safe to use, particularly for short periods. If however it creates and digestive upsets, consumption must cease immediately.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are to avoid thyme unless at the recommendation of a medical professional. It certainly should only be used in small quantities and not for prolonged periods.
Because it stimulates the blood and its circulation, it’s best to be avoided by those with bleeding disorders as it can slow blood clotting. In fact it is advised to stop using thyme and thyme products prior to any surgery.
It is also not recommended for people with hyperthyroidism as it can stimulate the thyroid gland.
Note that all essential oils should be kept out of the reach of children.
Always try and source the highest affordable quality oils and ensure that they are free of pesticides or herbicides.