Thyme (Thymol) Essential Oil

Botanical Name:
Thymus vulgaris c.t. thymol
Country of Origin:
Plant Part:
Whole Herb
Distillation Method:
Naturally Grown
Overall Profile
Primary Constituents
gamma terpinene
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This Thyme blend is distilled from 4 strains of Thymus zygis. This Thyme blend is likely the most potent antimicrobial Thyme oil, while retaining much of the gentleness of the linalool chemotype. It has the greatest "efficacy-to-safety" ratio of any oil for antimicrobial use we've ever encountered. Very highly recommended for antibacterial applications and formulas.


This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and flowering tops of naturally grown Thyme herb. The essential oil is actually a blend of four 100% pure essential oils from different strains of Thymus zygis, each strain having a slightly different natural chemical profile. It was developed to specifically combat infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The result is somewhat a cross between two essential oils: Thyme and Tea Tree. This Thyme blend will not burn the skin at 100% concentration, and is safe for use at a 5% dilution in the carrier oil of your choice.

Aromatherapy Notes

This Thyme essential oil has a bright lemon and eucalyptus-like top note followed by a musty, mossy, herbaceous middle note and slightly balsamic, woody undertones. This oil blends well with: Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Cedarwood, Oregano and Rosemary Oil.

Traditional Uses

The name is believed to be derived from either the Greek word thymon, meaning ‘to fumigate’ or the word thumus meaning ‘courage’, as it was associated with bravery. Roman soldiers would even bathe in waters steeped with thyme to bring them courage and strength before battle. During the Crusades, knights would have sprigs of thyme woven into their garments for protection. Thyme was also a commonly prescribed remedy in the Middle Ages for various ailments, including leprosy, lice, and the plague. Thyme was found to be extremely antibacterial and was used as a disinfectant against yellow fever and other diseases during World War I.1

Therapeutic Properties

Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature

From The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy1:

  • Antirheumatic, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, bactericidal, Carminative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Stimulant
  • Strong antioxidant activity
  • Recommended for infections and to strengthen the immune system
  • “energizing and dispelling despondency”, restoring to morale “to imbue fortitude and bodily vigour”

From Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit2:

  • Eases cramping of rheumatic pain and arthritis
  • Enlivening to the spirits, fortifying and uplifting
  • “warm and virile strength”

Thyme in Research

Many research studies have been conducted on the therapeutic properties of thyme. One of the most reported findings is thyme’s strong antibacterial activity3, but it is also potentially beneficial for treating menstrual pain5, fighting acne6, as an antioxidant7, anti-inflammatory8,9, and as an ingredient in a treatment for balding10.

  • Thyme and anise essential oils were both found to have significant antibacterial activity, and that the two oils also work in synergy to create an even stronger additive antibacterial effect.3
  • A triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that thyme essential oil was as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.4
  • Thyme essential oil kills the bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes, which is associated with acne. It was the most effective out of ten total essential oils tested.5
  • Thymol, one of the main components of Thyme essential oil, was found to have strong antioxidant activity.6
  • Thymol has been found to inhibit the activity of the enzyme elastase, which contributes to inflammation, suggesting that thyme essential oil could be helpful in treating inflammatory conditions.7
  • Linalool, one of the main components of the linalool chemotype of thyme essential oil, showed significant anti-inflammatory effects in rat models.8
  • In a clinical trial, thyme essential oil, in combination with rosemary, lavender and cedarwood oils, was found to be effective in treating alopecia (balding) when applied daily directly on the scalp.9

Application and Use


A generally non-toxic essential oil, the main component in Thyme oil is Thymol, a powerful antiseptic that can be toxic if used improperly and has history of irritating the skin in undiluted use. A small amount should always be tested first for sensitivity or allergic reaction and careful measurement of dosage is required for topical, aromatherapy, and internal uses. Avoid use if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.


1 Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. International Centre of Holystic Aromatherapy, 2003.

2 Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, 1999.

3 Al-Bayati, Firas A. “Synergistic Antibacterial Activity between Thymus Vulgaris and Pimpinella Anisum Essential Oils and Methanol Extracts.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 116, no. 3, 28 Mar. 2008, pp. 403–406., doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.12.003.

4Salmalian, Hajar, et al. “Comparative Effect of Thymus Vulgaris and Ibuprofen on Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Triple-Blind Clinical Study.” Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine, vol. 5, no. 2, 2013, pp. 82–88.

5 Zu, Yuangang, et al. “Activities of Ten Essential Oils towards Propionibacterium Acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 Cancer Cells.” Molecules, vol. 15, no. 5, 30 Apr. 2010, pp. 3200–3210., doi:10.3390/molecules15053200.

6 Lee, Seung-Joo, et al. “Identification of Volatile Components in Basil (Ocimum Basilicum L.) and Thyme Leaves (Thymus Vulgaris L.) and Their Antioxidant Properties.” Food Chemistry, vol. 91, no. 1, June 2005, pp. 131–137., doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.05.056.

7 Braga, P C, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Thymol: Inhibitory Effect on the Release of Human Neutrophil Elastase.” Pharmacology, vol. 77, no. 3, 2006, pp. 130–136., doi:10.1159/000093790.

8 Peana, A T, et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Linalool and Linalyl Acetate Constituents of Essential Oils.” Phytomedicine, vol. 9, no. 8, 2002, pp. 721–726., doi:10.1078/094471102321621322.

9 Hay, Isabelle C., et al. “Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy. Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.” Archives of Dermatology, vol. 134, no. 11, Nov. 1998, pp. 1349–1352., doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1349.