Thyme is a plant that is indigenous to the Mediterranean which is known for its abundance of aromatic and medicinal plant life (1). This plant grows in mountainous areas and is classified as an herb. Fresh Thyme is an amazing plant that, “contains many flavonoids, phenolic antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin and thymonin (2).” This herb is known to have very high antioxidant levels and contains a variety of minerals and vitamins, making it essential to living a healthy lifestyle. For instance, “Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium (2).” Thyme is so rich with nutrients that it has to have special healing properties and a variety of uses - and it sure does!
This plant has been used throughout the centuries for many purposes, such as embalming. The Ancient Greeks burned Thyme as an incense in sacred temples because it was a symbol of courage and admiration. This view perspective of thyme became increasingly popular well into medieval times. In fact, there was a common ritual, during that time, where women would give knights scarves that had a sprig of thyme placed over an embroidered bee.
Not only has Thyme been used as a symbol but this herb was also, “used in traditional medicine as a tonic, antiseptic, antitussive and carminative as well as for treating colds and in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and perfume industry for the preservation of several food products or as a spice (3).” The list of benefits associated with this herb can go on and on, and are best realized when the herb is used as essential oil because in this form it could be preserved for longer periods of time (up to 2 years after opening) without losing its therapeutic benefits versus the dry herbs which lose their strength within a few months after opening. The essential oil from this plant is harvested from the blossom and plant itself through a process called steam distillation. Steam distillation is commonly used for materials that are sensitive to temperature. This process lowers the boiling point of the aromatic compounds and allows for the components to be separated at a temperature that is below their decomposition point.
Thyme borneol oil has a middle perfumery note and a strong aroma, that is like that of the popular herb used extensively in cooking. It is high in natural compounds used for painkilling purposes in traditional medicine. A study performed on human cells and mice proved that Thyme can block enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. This is due to the diterpenoids that are present in the herb (4). In addition to the ability to soothe aches and pains, Thyme oil is also used to remedy exhaustion. The oil has energizing properties, so it’s ideally used to reinvigorate an exhausted mind and body by diffusing and inhaling its herbaceous aromas.
In 2013 there was a study that showed carvacrol, a component of Thyme, was given to animals for a week straight. During this time the animals were regularly observed, and the study found that the carvacrol component was able to increase the dopamine and serotonin levels in these animals, which today is well known that those two neurotransmitters play a major role in influencing one’s mood (4). Not only will diffusing this oil affect your mood in a positive way, but it can boost a slower circulatory system!
A study was performed on animals and proved that “The extract produced a significant decrease in the SBP, MBP, DBP, and heart rate with 100, 250 and 500 mg/kg dose especially after 4 and 6 h of drug administration (5).” So the study concluded that it acts to restore proper blood flow, thus ensuring health and well-being.
Besides diffusing it, Thyme has many benefits that center around the topical application, such as being used to treat skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema. There is a component in Thyme called thymol. This component is active against enterobacteria, which makes Thyme oil effective against, “skin issues like oily skin, sciatica, acne, dermatitis and bug bites (2).” Applied to the skin, thyme relieves bites and stings and relieves neuralgia and rheumatic aches and pains (2).” All you have to do is mix a few drops with a carrier oil, like almond oil or coconut oil, and rub it into the affected areas.
Thyme borneol can also kill parasites and worms. If you have ever come into contact with a worm, you know how hard it can be to get rid of. It’s great to know that there is an all-natural remedy for this problem. Mixing a few drops of the Thyme essential oil with a carrier oil can also control mites like scabies. Being antibacterial and antiseptic, a diluted mixture of this oil can be applied to clean wounds and a few drops of oil can be added to bathwater to kill Candida, a fungal yeast infection. Doing this will also help cure health conditions like rheumatic and certain skin diseases (6).
The many benefits of this amazing essential oil do not stop there! Thyme is used to treat other health issues such as abscesses and gum infections. Since this oil is antibacterial and antiseptic, it can be used to treat infections of the mouth. The best way to do this is to add one or two drops of thyme borneol oil to water to use as a daily mouthwash, ensuring that you don’t swallow the mixture. Always be sure to use only USDA certified organic oils.
Another great thing about the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of Thyme is that “the main component of the essential oil of Thyme, thymol, is active against Salmonella and Staphylococcus bacteria (2).”
In addition to all the medical benefits of diffusion and topical applications of this oil, ingesting Thyme essential oil is, “used in folk medicine frequently where it is prescribed to treat stomach, intestine and airways, coughing and gastroenteritis and expel intestinal worms, as well as to strengthen the heart. Extracts from Thyme have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis and for the treatment of other pathologies thanks to several properties such as antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidative, and antiviral (2).” In addition, “reports indicate that the volatile oils of thyme are among the main essential oils used in the food industry and in cosmetics as preservatives and antioxidants (6).”
That means you can also use Thyme essential oil to substitute the dried herbs in your cabinet. Thyme essential oil can prevent foodborne illnesses as well as decontaminate previously contaminated foods. There was a study performed on contaminated lettuce. The Thyme oil proved to decrease the number of bacteria on the lettuce using the agar well diffusion method (7). Adding a drop or two to your favorite dish or dressing can give your meal a special boost of flavor while giving you all the amazing health benefits we mentioned above and keeping your body free of viruses and bad bacteria!
If nothing in this article so far convinced you that you may need more Thyme oil in your life, we’re giving you one more reason, and this is a delicious one ;) Ditch your store-bought dressing filled with sugar and other low-quality ingredients that are bad for your health, and try one of our favorite dressing recipes that we love to make often. If nothing else, I hope this recipe will give you a great “excuse” to use the amazing properties of the Thyme oil! It’s so delicious and easy to make, you can’t say that you don’t have time, this only takes 5 minutes and you can make a larger batch at once and store it in the fridge for future use.
Thyme and Oregano Essential Oils Dressing
Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1/4 cup of dressing
1 drop of Thyme USDA Certified Organic oil
1 drop of Oregano USDA Certified Organic oil
2 TBS of tahini
3 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS of water
1 pinch of sea salt (adjust to your preference)
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (could be replaced with paprika if you don’t have cayenne; please adjust to your preference).
Mix all ingredients together and toss it on your favorite foods. Store in the fridge in a closed glass container (mason jars are awesome for that!) up to one week. We prefer to use essential oils instead of dry or fresh herbs because the flavor of the oils in general blend much better with the rest of ingredients and therefore the mixed aroma is much more intense and it tastes more uniform in the dressing.
This dressing is the perfect balance of herbs and spice flavor so it goes great with pretty much any salad, meat or fish. Some other great ideas for pairing are boiled or cooked potatoes, green or dry cooked beans, raw or cooked carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, corn. To offer it as a savory dip to your guests add one extra tablespoon of tahini to increase its thickness, and then pair with crusty bread, raw carrots, raw peppers, or raw cucumbers. We promise - your guests will be delighted.
We encourage you to try out this recipe or to create one of your own using essential oils that you love, and share it with us! Thyme oil has been recognized by the FDA as safe for consumption, but this is only the case if you purchase a pure, unadulterated oil.
We can only recommend ingesting oils that are USDA Certified Organic. Having the USDA Certified Organic label on the bottle itself is the only sure way to know the oil is pure, which is truly safe and edible as the plants are grown in organic soil within an organic farm, hence it doesn't contain any pesticides or artificial fertilizers and GMO's like the plants grown on conventional farms.
Your body does not know how to break down man-made chemicals and will store them inside your body, which could lead to major health issues from a normal sore throat and diarrhea to something much worse like a leaky gut, allergies, immune deficiencies and other chronic conditions over the long term.
For safety, keep out of reach of children and pets. Generally speaking do not take it directly internally as medicine unless taken under the supervision or recommendation of an aromatherapist professional. Do not use undiluted on the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes; it could cause allergic reactions. Always test first on a small portion of your skin. If you are pregnant, consult with a healthcare provider/ professional experienced with essential oils as some essential oil are less tolerated while others are well loved by pregnant women.
Thyme oil blends very well with other oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, marjoram, orange, oregano, pine, and rosemary. You can create your own blends for diffusing and cure a world of health issues with repeated use.
Overall, Thyme is an amazing essential oil. From being antibacterial and antiseptic to treating skin conditions, its many health benefits really make it stand out from the rest and it gives any tea or meal an extra kick of flavor that will blow you away. Thyme is perfect for this winter season and its spicy, herbaceous aromas will keep you energized and ready to tackle any obstacle in your way! To learn more about some practical ways in which you can use Thyme oil in your daily routine, check out this link.
(3) Liliana Iauk, Rosaria Acquaviva, Silvana Mastrojeni, Andrea Amodeo, Michela Pugliese, Monica Ragusa, Monica R. Loizzo, Francesco Menichini & Rosa Tundis (2015) Antibacterial, antioxidant and hypoglycaemic effects of Thymus capitatus (L.) Hoffmanns. et Link leaves' fractions, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 30:3, 360-365, DOI: 10.3109/14756366.2014.930453