Thyme - Thymus Vulgaris - Essential Oil Monograph

Isis Jade


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Thyme Thymus Vulgaris L. Essential Oil Monograph - Steam Distilled

There are a variety of thyme essential oils currently available with a wide spectrum of constituents. The most common constituents are listed below.

Key Constituents & Optimal Percentages of Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil:

  • Thymol - 16%-40%%
  • Thujanol variants - 2%-10%
  • Carvacrol - 5.5%- 20.5%
  • Geranial - 9.2%
  • B-Caryophyllene - 6.3%
  • Terpinen-4-ol - 2.9%
  • Linalool - 1.7%
  • Camphene - 1.2%

Although today it is primarily known as a common culinary herb, Thyme has a well-researched and documented history as a valuable medicinal plant for a variety of health needs. When distilled into an essential oil, Thyme becomes what is known as a "hot" oil and requires proper dilution to use safely.   

Maximum dermal limit for all varieties of thyme essential oil is 1% to avoid skin irritation. 

One of the other important considerations with Thyme is that it has anticoagulant properties and could be contraindicated with some medications. It also can become an irritant to mucus membranes when used past the 1% dermal limit. 

Thyme (thymus vulgaris) is an herb the ancient Greeks and Romans knew as a plant that was said to impart courage, strength, and elegance to its user.

Thyme is one of the most antiseptic essential oils to have in your medicine cabinet. It contains thymol, which has been studied for its effect on reducing bacteria in a wound substantially.

As a dietary supplement, it is one of the strongest antioxidants known, with an ORAC score of 159,590.

Thyme - Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil Monograph - Details of Distillation

Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled 

Color:  First Distillation - Reddish Brown

Second Distillation:  slightly yellow, transparent

Consistency:  First Distillation - Medium and Slightly Oily

Second Distillation:  slightly viscous, much less oily than first distillation

Perfumery Note: Top to Middle

Strength of Initial Aroma: First Distillation - Medium and Strong

Second Distillation – sweeter and less strong

Oil Scent: Fresh, medicinal, herbaceous.

Combines well with: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lavender, Rosemary and Pine.

Constituents: a-thujene, a-pinene, camphene, B-pinene, p-cymene, a-terpinene, linalool, borneol, B-caryophyllene, thymol, carvacrol.

Thymus Vulgaris Cultivation & Description:

Thyme Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil Monograph

Thyme is a perennial, evergreen herb growing up to 18 inches high; the leaves of thyme are highly aromatic and are small, oval shaped and gray-green in color. The flowers of thyme are white or pale pink/purple. Thyme is so- called because of its fragrant aroma – it takes its name from the Greek word thymos, which means to perfume.

The light gray-green shrub with small white or purple flowers has a dry, somewhat sweet scent and a slightly minty, spicy taste. Thyme is indigenous to the Mediterranean region although it has been cultivated widely in the United States. 

Thyme - Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil Distillations

Thyme Essential Oil is extracted by steam distillation from the fresh or partly dried flowering tops and leaves of the plant. The yield is 0.7 - 1.0 %. The oil is mainly located in small glands on the leaves.

Red thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct thymol) is the first distillate of the distillation process.

Common or sweet thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct linalool) is the 'second' distillation of the herb. 

Sweet thyme essential oil is yellow in color with a sweet, herbaceous aroma; red thyme essential oil is brown-orange in color with a spicy, herbaceous aroma.

One of the things to note here is that a high quality, pure Thyme essential oil will smell fresh, and herbaceous.

The adulteration of Thyme Essential Oil is very, very common due to the low yields of the plant and thus you tend to see as much as 95-96% of all Thyme essential oil on the marketing containing a vast array of adulterants, often due to the differing colors and whether the oil was from a first distillation or the second.

This makes purchasing high quality Thyme essential oil extremely difficult and one of the reasons you want to ensure that the seller will guarantee the quality and purity of the oil.

Main Constituents of Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme - Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil contains many constituents. 

The main component of Thyme essential oil is Thymol, a powerful antiseptic which considered to be quite toxic if used improperly. It is common knowledge among aromatherapists that the essential oil of Thyme essential oil is one of the most potently antiseptic essential oils known.

Thymol has been extensively documented for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal action. According to Jean Valnet, M.D., Thyme oil kills the anthrax bacillus, the typhoid bacillus, meningococcus, and the agent responsible for tuberculosis and is active against salmonella and staphylococcus bacteria.

In addition, this component has been studied for its effects on gingivitis and plaque-caused organisms in the mouth, and is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash.

Before the advent of modern antibiotics, it was used to medicate bandages. It has also been shown to be effective against the fungus that commonly infects toenails.

Common Adulteration of Poor Quality Thyme Essential Oil:

Thyme is often adulterated due to its low yield with a variety of synthetic chemicals and fragrances. White thyme for example contains synthetic compounds as well as cheap isolates derived from pine, rosemary, eucalyptus, and common red thyme.

You also often see the addition of para-cymene & synthetic thymol in manufacturers attempting to “boost” the Thymol percentage in their oils.

“Red thyme oil” unless carefully cultivated and distilled by a small farm will often be wholly synthetic, as many of my independent lab tests have shown, I cannot advise you to purchase this oil due to the high toxicity of the synthetic ingredients. It can be so toxic and carcinogenic that if used can cause immediate allergic reactions and difficulty breathing.  

If you see something labeled "red thyme", demand independent verifiable lab tests with bath numbers, dates and proof of constituent viability before you invest in this oil. 

Thymus Vulgaris Historical Uses:

Most people consider this perennial evergreen no more than a culinary seasoning, yet its fragrance led Rudyard Kipling to write of “our close-bit thyme that smells like dawn in paradise.”

Ancient Egyptians used thyme as a key ingredient for embalming. Thyme is also mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus for many of its medicinal properties.

The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples. They so highly regarded and prized its aroma that to compliment someone they would say the person smelled like thyme.

Thyme was used medicinally by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to cure or heal a variety of ailments and help preserve meats from spoilage. It was also a common ingredient for magic, ritual and alchemical practices in transmuting energies. 

The Use of Thyme in Healing & Origin of Thymiatechny

Thymain, a derivative of the name, means to burn incense, and the “art of using perfume oils as medicine ” was originally known as thymiatechny for centuries, not aromatherapy.  

Thyme essential oil played a central part as a perfume oil that could be used in a multitude of ways –  in medicinal poultices, bandages, and wraps to protect wounds from infection and heal skin infections. 

Not only was Thyme macerated, but it was one of the first oils the Ancients learned to distill to magnify its spiritual, aromatic and medicinal benefits. 

Spiritual Uses of Thyme

The word thyme originally related to its spiritual and energetic potency of enhancing strength, spirit, and courage in its user -- attributes thought to be imparted to anyone who sniffed its fragrant leaves.

Medieval ladies sent sprigs of Thyme with their knights to instill these virtues in them during travel and battle.

Thyme was of the first herbs to be used as incense, and was used in Muslim countries for thousands of years to fumigate homes; frankincense was added when people could afford it, but Thyme was considered less expensive and just as effective in removing negative energies and imparting a clarity of spiritual protection. 

Much like saging today, Thyme was the herb of choice to clear a house, a sacred space or even a business to bring in good fortune while protecting from evil.  

In the Middle Ages, Thyme was often sprinkled on church floors together with lavender, to eliminate unwanted odors but also to bring spiritual bounty to the church.

The entomology of the word Thyme was originally linked to cleansing or fumigating a space.

In ancient lore, Thyme as an herb was associated with protecting the dead along their journey into the afterlife and often used in death ceremonies.

Thyme was also believed to have the ability to attract fairies to one’s gardens. Many people would plant thyme hoping fairies would come and bless them with good fortune.

Thymus Vulgaris Medicinal Uses Today:

Health Benefits

Thyme essential oil is very powerful oil against viruses and has demonstrated protective properties for liver, kidneys and the heart due to its very high antioxidant properties. This is why Thymus Vulgaris is a ke ingredient in our Immune Power Aromatherapy Blend

Thyme oil strengthens the nervous system and nerve communication, aids memory and concentration, can help you overcome feelings of exhaustion, overwhelm, anxiety and combats depression.

Thyme essential oil is beneficial to boost the immune system - its constituents are well-researched in fighting colds, flu, infectious diseases and chills.

As a urinary antiseptic, thyme essential oil is very helpful for cystitis and urethritis.

The thymol content of Thyme essential oil works as an expectorant and cough suppressant and is frequently used in cough syrups prescribed for lung ailments like bronchitis; Thyme oil has a warming quality and mucus thinning which helps to expel mucous and phlegm.

When combined with fenugreek, copaiba and other oils, Thyme essential oil works to relieve the pain of migraine headaches by opening constricted blood vessels. 

The warming effect of this oil can help most cases of poor circulation which is why we use in it our Varicose Vein Magic, as well as for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, muscular aches and pains, sprains and sport injuries.

It is also helpful for cellulite, anorexia, obesity and edema and in cases of scanty periods, leucorrhoea, and to speed up birth and to expel afterbirth.

Thyme oil can assist with nervous complaints, respiratory problems, poor circulation and problems of the digestive system and the urinary tract.

Vapor Therapy

  • In vapor therapy, thyme oil can be helpful with bronchitis, coughs, respiratory problems, sinusitis, mucus congestion and muscular aches and pains.

Blended for Massage

  • As a blended massage oil thyme oil can assist with cellulite reduction, arthritis, bronchitis, colds, flu, coughs, gout, bruises, eczema, mucus congestion, muscular aches and pains, obesity and rheumatism. Our Cellulite Massage Oil includes Thyme Essential Oil for this reason! Keep it mind it MUST be diluted to no more than 1% in a blend to avoid the risk of dermal sensitization. DO NOT USE THIS OIL NEAT ON SKIN.

Mouthwash and gargle

  • Diluted as a mouthwash or as a gargle, thyme oil can help with gum infections and tonsillitis. When blended with clove and oregano oil, thyme oil can be highly beneficial with these ingredients to combat all mouth issues and infections. 

Carminative Properties

  • Diluting Thyme to 1% then blending it with ginger, fennel, and fenugreek makes it an immediately effective treatment for digestive upsets. Thyme oil can be a stimulant for the digestive system, helping to eliminate worms, reduce gastric infections, and ease dyspepsia. 

Excess Uric Acid

  • Thyme can also help the body to eliminate excess uric acid, so conditions like gout, sciatica, arthritis, and rheumatism can be more easily supported naturally.

Neuropathy & Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Thyme essential oil is valuable as an application for neuropathy & rheumatic aches and pains.

Hair & Scalp Health

  • Thyme Oil is nourishing for the scalp, helping to treat dandruff and hair loss, especially when combined with castor oil and rosemary oil. Remember to keep thyme dilution rates to 1% maximum. 

Other Applications for Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil has been traditionally used as a general tonic for the nerves and stomach. It may also help with bacterial infections, respiratory infections, headaches and joint pain.

Thyme essential oil stimulates the circulatory system, and can help raise low blood pressure. For people with a slow digestive system, it can help to stimulate it, and has also found to be helpful for those who are fatigued, lethargic, or depressed. It is also thought to help memory by stimulating the chemical reactions in the brain.

Thyme essential oil has many uses as an antiseptic. It makes a good pulmonary disinfectant, which helps with all respiratory infections including coughs, colds, and sore throats.

When to Use Thymus Vulgaris - Thyme Essential Oil:

Thyme Essential Oil is strengthening to the central nervous system, aids memory, congestion, low spirits, sinusitis, dyspepsia, general tonic for stomach, infectious colitis, bronchitis, asthma, tonsillitis, whooping cough, tuberculosis, cystitis, urinary, anthrax, warts, abscess, sciatica, lumbago, bruises, burns, insect bites, lice, sprains, poor circulation, raises low blood pressure, sporting injuries, diarrhea, chills, headache, insomnia, nerves, arthritis, colds, cuts, dermatitis, flu, laryngitis, muscle aches, oily skin, poor circulation, scabies, and sore throat.

16 Uses for Thyme Essential Oil

  1. Thyme essential oil can be used in a compress or in a salve or cream to fight serious infection. Stir 1% of the oil into a salve and cover the infectious area.

  2. You can use thyme compresses as wound dressings as well for a natural Use a compress to heal skin infections. Add 4-8 drops of to a cup of warm water with 4 drops lavender and soak a cloth in it to make a compress. Apply compress to wound or skin infection, changing compress every 30 minutes.

  3. Thyme is useful for treating gum and mouth infections, such as thrush (Candida). Make your own thrush fighter by adding three drops of thyme essential oil to 1/4 ounce tincture of Oregon grape root and 3/4 ounce water. Shake well then take one dropperful and rinse your mouth then spit it out.

  4.  You can relieve lung and sinus congestion and infection by adding a couple drops of thyme essential oil to a quart of simmering water and inhaling the steam.

  5.  When used in cooking, it can help preserve meat and keep it from spoiling. It slows down the growth of bacteria, keeping meat broth from spoiling for up to three days. It is a very pungent oil, making it a popular ingredient in a variety of recipes and Replace your typical 1 tsp of dried Thyme with a drop of Thyme essential oil stirred in right before serving.

  6. Add a drop of Thyme essential oil in your favorite French wine sauce for an herbaceous, appetizing flair.

  7. Try a drop in your favorite marinade, stew or pot roast.

  8. Take 3 drops of Thyme essential oil in a veggie capsule filled with olive oil to help cleanse the urinary tract and infections of the bladder and urinary tract.

  9. It is also known to be a strong antiseptic and can be useful as a wash to disinfect Add 5-8 drops of Thyme essential oil to your favorite non-toxic hand soap.

  10. Add 2 drops of Thyme oil, 1-2 drops rose oil, and 2-3 drops lavender diluted in a carrier oil like to a clean sink filled with lukewarm water and use as a facial rinse. Rinse your face avoiding the eye area 20-30 Allow your face to air dry – allowing the oils to penetrate deeply for a rejuvenating and relaxing facial.

  11. Taking a warm bath with thyme can help relieve insomnia at night, while stimulating poor Add 4 drops lavender, 4 drops RutaVala and 4 drops Thyme to a carrier oil. Add to tub of warm water Soak in Tub 10-20 minutes. Pat skin dry and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.

  12.  Slow and reverse hair loss – add 6-8 drops to your favorite conditioner bottle.

  13. Use Thyme as a massage oil to stimulate circulation in lower limbs 4-5 drops in a cup of carrier oil. Massage deeply into feet, lower legs or hands, wherever poor circulation seems to be problematic. This is why we use Thyme Essential Oil in our Sports Power Blend - to wake up your limbs before a workout.

  14. Thyme is a powerful Chi mover for Reiki and Energy healers. Apply 1 drop of Thyme to a Tbsp of your favorite carrier oil then rub on bottoms of your feet to connect and balance your energy, open deeper energy channels.

  15. Thyme is a wonderful and simple Aura clearing agent. Anyone feeling like their aura has darkened can apply 1% diluted thyme oil to their palms, activate clockwise and start from above crown chakra and brush their hands through the aura until you feel cleansed and bright again.

  16. Thyme essential oil helps call Angelic protection when in need, and brings healthy, protective energy to the home and Diffuse Thyme in your car for 2-3 minutes prior to leaving for a long trip while calling your angelic guide to protect you.

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