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What is Thyme Essential Oil?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

Thyme essential oil is an oil that can be extracted from thyme leaves. The oil is generally withdrawn by a process of distillation or by simply squeezing it from the leaves. It is used in aromatherapy and herbal medicine, and it is an active ingredient in most mouthwashes and toothpastes. Though it may help a variety of common illnesses, the most frequent use of thyme essential oil is in its capacity as an anti-bacterial agent.

The primary compound in thyme is called thymol. Many experts consider it to be a very effective antiseptic. It's often used in hospitals as a disinfectant. In addition to cleansing the area of bacterial germs, it can also do a good job of ridding an area of unpleasant odors.

Thyme essential oil.
Thyme essential oil.

Thyme oil can sometimes work as an expectorant. To help breathing problems associated with colds and respiratory infections, it can be used in a vaporizer or steam bath. It helps thin and expel mucus so that breathing is easier and coughs are more productive.

When using thyme essential oil, it is generally important for individuals to mix it with other oils. The mixing can be accomplished with only a small portion of the other oil ingredient. In order to distribute it evenly, it needs another oil to act as a carrier. Just about any other type of topical oil will do, but most herbal practitioners recommend safflower, lavender, or palm oil. The generally accepted amount of thyme oil is around six drops of thyme combined with an ounce (28 grams) of the base oil.

Thyme oil can be used in a steam bath.
Thyme oil can be used in a steam bath.

Thyme essential is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, and early Romans and Greeks used it for many different types of treatments. In addition to using it to treat cuts and wounds, thyme essential oil was also used for stomach upsets, insomnia, and skin disorders. It was believed that thyme could stop the recurrence of bad dreams and even cure shyness. It was also burned as a way to repel dangerous insects and animals.

Using thyme essential oil can be dangerous for some people. It can potentially raise a person's blood pressure above normal, and when it is undiluted, it can cause very serious skin inflammation. It is not generally recommended for pregnant women or children under the age of 24 months. A relatively small number of people may have an allergic reaction to thyme essential oil, but the reactive symptoms are generally not severe.

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Discussion Comments


A couple of years ago a friend of mine introduced me to Young Living Essential Oils. I was very fascinated by all of the benefits that you can receive from using something like essential oils as natural alternatives.

Thyme has many healing benefits, and I have added it to massage oils to help ease sore muscles and joints. After a long day of working in the garden, I will apply this anywhere I feel that my muscles are stiff and sore.


Thyme oil is used in many aromatherapy products, but we have used it for something quite unique. We raise honeybees and are always looking for natural ways to treat our bees without using chemicals.

Honeybees have had many problems with viruses in recent years, and if you don't treat them, you will lose your whole hive. While I was doing some research I read that using thyme pure essential oil when feeding them can help keep your hives healthy. I especially found this interesting since thyme is one of the herbs that honeybees love to pollinate.


The history of thyme goes back for centuries, and was even used by Egyptians for embalming.

Thyme is one of the essential oils that doesn't really smell the greatest, but it really can be beneficial.

The thymol, which is the most active ingredient in Thyme, is often used in many products like mouth wash and vapor rubs because it has such purifying agents.

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    • Thyme essential oil.
      By: wasansrisawat
      Thyme essential oil.
    • Thyme oil can be used in a steam bath.
      By: ecobo
      Thyme oil can be used in a steam bath.