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Thyme Oil - Essential Profile
(from Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family with therapeutic additions)

Latin Binomial/Botanical Family: Thymus vulgaris, Family Lamiaceae
Countries of Origin: France, Spain

General description of plant, habitat & growth: Perennial dwarf shrub that grows to twelve inches in height, with woody stems, tiny, slightly woolly leaves, and pink-to-lilac flowers.
Portion of plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods & yield:
The flowering tops are steam distilled. Yield: 0.7-1.0%.

Organoleptic Characteristics: (see Basic 7 Vocabulary of Odor© for how to use)
  Color: Clear
  Clarity: Clear
  Viscosity: Non-viscous
  Taste: Sharp, biting, peppery, burning, smells hot, hot, fiery finish
  Intensity of Odor: 3

Chemical name: 2-methyl-5-(1-methylethyl)phenol

Chemical formula: C10H14O



Chemical Components: 6-Isopropyl-M-Cresol, Terpenoid phenol Thymol, Isomer Carvacrol, Cymol (used in 1855) now called paracymene, Linaloöl, and Camphene.

Chemotypes: [see 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols] and Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies Courses. There are many species, varieties and chemotypes of Thyme and they are extensively discussed in the above two reference works. In brief, here are the actions:

Thyme CT borneol (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – from Thymus satureioides, also with carvacrol, inhaled to assist in the treatment of bulimia, chronic infections and fatigue.

Thyme CT carvacrol (phenol) – warming and active, used as an anti-infection agent in lotions or the herb in tea. Any plant with significant amounts of carvacrol will work this way.

Thyme CT cineole (oxide) – from Thymus mastichina, called Wild Marjoram, inhaled and taken to decongest the lungs and for chronic bronchitis.

Thyme CT citral (aldehyde composed of neral & geranial) – from Thymus hiemalis and some others. Contains up to 34% citral that is an anti-viral when applied and calming if inhaled.

Thyme CT geraniol – milder than some and useful in skin products for acne or eczema or for problems of the ear, nose and throat or taken internally for blood infections.

Thyme CT linalool (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – the scent is warm, herbaceous and floral and used in products or taken for fungal infections.

Thyme CT paracymene (monoterpene) – from Thymus serpyllum, in blends as an antiseptic and inhaled as a tonic stimulant and as a pain reliever in massage blends. para-Cymol is the older discarded non-systematic name for this chemical Thyme CT thujanol (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – this type is a powerful antibacterial and it is used for external male and female problems such as venereal warts and herpes.

Thyme CT thymol (phenol) – from T. vulgaris and T. zygis and oftener called Spanish Thyme. A major anti-infective, it is used in lotions and creams or applied externally; reduces infection. However, this is a major skin irritant and can only be used highly diluted. Thyme CT phenol (carbolic acid) See carvacrol, chavicol, eugenol and thymol

[See 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols]
Historical Uses: As a medicinal and flavorant.

Interesting Facts: “Thyme was used medicinally by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Most present day research has centered on thyme’s ability as an antibacterial and anti-infectious agent, even when diffused in the air. There are several species of thyme oil in use, and although the strongest is red thyme and the gentlest is Linaloöl, their uses are the same. The difference is in their relative strength. [see Herbs & Things for herbal information]

In regards to the plant Thymus mastichina, it is usually listed under the Oregano/Marjoram category.

Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application):
Ingestion: Thyme oil is antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, tonic, diuretic, vermifuge, and immuno-stimulant.
Inhalation: Antidepressant, tonic, expectorant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, balsamic, anti-infectious, rubefacient, and immuno-stimulant.
Application: Antiseptic, antibiotic, circulatory stimulant, pectoral, analgesic, expectorant, balsamic, anti-infectious, antiviral, tonic, rubefacient, diuretic, emmenagogue, vermifuge, antivenom, cleanser of skin, antispasmodic, antifungal, and immuno-stimulant.Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy

Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP):
Ingestion: Throat infections, gum infections, anorexia, and viruses in the blood, urethritis, cystitis, and cervicitis.
Inhalation: Thyme oil stimulates the respiratory system, relieves the spasms of asthma, is antiseptic and clears mucous congestion, used for general debility and physical exhaustion. It also kills airborne bacteria.
Application: Thyme oil can be used on the body, face, and room surfaces as an antiseptic. It stimulates circulation for muscular pains, arthritis, poor circulation, physical exhaustion, and muscular debility. It can be used to clean wounds and burns. It is useful for all infections, viral and bacterial. Thyme oil may be used for otitis, vaginitis, obesity, gout, acne, thrush, verruca, warts, to kill external parasites, and for hair loss. Thyme oil is useful for all problems of the ear, nose, throat, and lungs.

Emotional Uses (AP or IN):
Inhalation: Mildly sedating, Thyme oil may be used for insomnia. It is also uplifting and relieves depression.

Hydrosol Use: Has the same active properties as the essential oil but also includes the herbal properties. For colds flu or infection, take 1 t. diluted in some water every hour while awake for the first day and less on succeeding days, as you get better. For external use on any type of skin infection use in the water that you wash with or make a compress and apply.

Key Use: As an antiseptic and antibiotic.

Safety Precautions: Some say do not use during pregnancy. Best used diluted as it may cause skin irritations.


Source: This is one of the essential oils in the Basic 25 Kit.

Essential Oil Profiles were compiled by Dawn Copeland of Chicago, Ill. with permission and added to by Jeanne Rose.

Bibliography and References for Essential oil profiles:
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1992.
Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.
Miller, Richard & Ann. The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop. Acres USA. Kansas City. 1985.
Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press,
Prakash, V. Leafy Spices. CRC Press. NY. 1990
Rizzi, Susanne. Complete Aromatherapy. Sterling. NY. 1989.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California:
Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Essential Aromatherapy, a pocket guide to essential oils and Aromatherapy. Novato, CA.
    New World Library, 2003.

Distillation as such is an entirely natural phenomenon. When, raising your head you look at the clouds in the sky, those are but the evaporation visible patterns. And when you tread upon the early morning dew, it is the condensate of the night."… Georges Ferrando

DISCLAIMER: This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and some personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies - Jeanne Rose©

©All rights reserved 2004. No part of this article from Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family
may be used without the prior permission of Jeanne Rose.
© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose, AromaticPlantProject

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