Thymus spp

Thyme essential oil is important natural oil possessing numerous therapeutic properties. This natural oil is extracted by steam distilling the flowering tops of the genus Thymus belonging to the plant family Labiatae or Lamiaceae. Plants possess dissimilar elements that may be roughly categorized into two groups - red thyme and sweet or common thyme. Sweet or common thymes are mainly composed of alcohols, while the red thymes largely contain phenols. Essential oil obtained from red and sweet thymes is entirely different in nature as well as composition. There uses also vary. While sweet or common thyme is used on elderly people and children, caution needs to be exercised while using red thyme owing to its high phenol content.

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Thyme essential oil possesses warming properties that facilitates getting rid of mucous and phlegm from the congested respiratory tract. In addition, this oil may also be used to fortify the nervous system as well as promote memory. Thyme essential oil possesses very strong antiseptic properties. In fact, owing to the potency of this natural oil, it should never be used by women during pregnancy. As thyme oil stimulates the uterine, use of this oil by pregnant women may result in adverse reactions, occasionally forced abortions.

A number of different essential oils may be obtained from thyme. However, this entirely depends on factors, such as the place when the herb was grown. At the same time, it is essential to note that thyme essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowering tops may also display different chemical make-ups. Generally, the sweet or common thyme essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Red thyme oil is not used in aromatherapy owing to its chemical composition - which primarily constitutes phenols and is said to be very aggressive often resulting in irritations.

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As aforementioned, thyme essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties and, hence, has been traditionally used to treat as well as get protection from various conditions. Use of this natural oil reinforces the nervous system, promotes memory and ability to concentrate. In addition, it may also be used to alleviate the feeling of exhaustion and drive away depression. The other remedial uses of thyme essential oil include strengthening the lungs, healing colds, coughs, whooping cough, laryngitis, asthma, catarrh, sinusitis, tonsillitis and even tender throats.

Besides the therapeutic benefits of thyme essential oil mentioned above, this natural oil is effective in perking up the immune system. It also has the aptitude to combat colds, flu, contagious diseases and chills. The potent antiseptic property of thyme essential oil makes it an ideal remedy for infections of the urinary tract. At the same time, this natural oil is also very useful in curing cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder) and urethritis (inflammation of the urethra).

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Use of thyme essential oil creates a warming effect that helps in treating conditions, such as throbbing muscles, injuries caused during sports, pains, arthritis, gout, rheumatism and even poor blood circulation. In addition, this particular attribute of the oil is beneficial for anorexia (loss of appetite or inability to eat), cellulite (lumpy fat accumulation in thighs and buttocks), edema (discharge of serous fluid into the interstices of cells in tissue spaces), obesity, insufficient or poor menstrual periods and leucorrhoea (a whitish or yellowish mucus discharge from the vagina indicating an infection). Thyme essential oil stimulates the uterine and, hence, it is very helpful in facilitating child birth as well as expelling afterbirth.

Red Thyme

Red thyme essential oil extracted by steam distilling the flowering tops of thyme is rich in phenol content and, hence, is pricier compared to common or sweet thyme oil. Nevertheless, considering the high concentration of phenols, red thyme essential oil ought to be used with great caution. Using the red thyme oil in excess amounts or high concentrations may result in skin irritations. It is an excellent initiative to undertake a skin patch using red thyme essential oil and test if any allergic reactions occur after a gap of 24 hours. Here is a word of caution. Owing to its highly potent elements, red thyme essential oil should never be used by pregnant women or children.

Red thyme essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties and, hence, it is prescribed to treat several conditions. This oil is anti-infectious, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, a tonic for the mind, expectorant as well as mucolytic (a medication capable of dissolving, digesting or liquefying mucus). Although this natural oil possesses extremely potent antiseptic properties, one needs to be additionally cautious while using it for remedial purposes.

Apart from its therapeutic uses, red thyme essential oil is also widely used in culinary, especially owing to its highly potent antiseptic attributes. For instance, the strong antiseptic properties of red thyme essential oil are effective in neutralizing several parasites. In people suffering from infectious ailments, the use of red thyme oil is believed to promote the manufacture of white corpuscles (white blood cells of the immune system) in the blood. In addition, this natural oil is also known to be a very good tonic for the nerve.

Sweet Thyme

Similar to the red thyme oil, common or sweet thyme essential oil also extracted by steam distilling the aromatic flowering tops of the herb possess numerous remedial properties. It is comparatively less expensive that the red thyme essential oil and is composed of alcohols and, hence, its use does not result in any skin irritation. Sweet or common thyme essential oil is especially useful in alleviating headaches - particularly nervous headaches. Sweet thyme oil is mild and safe. Therefore, it is also safe for use among small children.

As aforementioned, sweet or common thyme oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties. This natural oil obtained by steam distilling the flowering tops of thyme has extremely antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory actions. Therefore, it is often recommended by herbalists for treating ailments, such as viral infections, eczema, bronchitis, rheumatism, insomnia and psoriasis (a hereditary skin disorder distinguished by the development of reddish spots and patches covered with silvery scales). In addition, sweet thyme oil is also effective in treating nervousness, poor blood circulation and sinusitis. Since sweet thyme oil has the potential to stimulate the uterine, it is also used as a tonic during labor and childbirth. However, its use during pregnancy may result in adverse after-effects - for instance, it may cause forced abortion or harm the fetus. Owing to its potent antiseptic properties, sweet or common thyme essential oil was widely used as a sterilizing agent in hospitals during the World War I.

General properties

  • antispasmodic
  • antiviral
  • digestive
  • stimulant
  • stomachic
  • tonic
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses


It is always advisable that you use the essential oil obtained by distilling the flowering tops of sweet or common thyme rather than using the red thyme essential oil. Since the sweet or common thyme essential oil is comparatively less toxic in nature, its use does not result in any type of irritation. Precisely speaking, the essential oil distilled from the flowering tops of sweet thyme is primarily composed of alcohols and this makes this natural oil more gentle and suitable for use among the elderly as well as children. Nevertheless, sweet thyme essential oil has not yet be indicated or approved for use in patients enduring high blood pressure or hypertension. The common or sweet essential oil is also not approved for use by pregnant women till the onset of labor, since it stimulates the uterine. While using sweet thyme essential oil during pregnancy may result in forced abortion, when it is used during labor, the oil facilitates the process of child birth.

Unlike, common or sweet thyme essential oil, the red thyme essential oil is mostly made up of the chemical elements of phenols that make this variety of thyme oil more prone to cause skin irritations. Hence, it is advisable that red thyme essential oil ought to be used with utmost caution. Like the sweet thyme essential oil, even red thyme essential oil should never be used by people enduring high blood pressure or hypertension as well as pregnant women. Like in the case of any other essential oil, it is important to consult a competent and qualified medical professional or aromatherapist, before using thyme essential oil to ascertain if it is suitable for you. Last, but not the least, you should always exercise utmost caution while using any essential oil.


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