I know Thyme as a pretty strong ingredient in cooking. I also like to grow Thyme, as it looks pretty, and has such a wonderful scent when you touch it – and there are so many varieties: German Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Lime Thyme and so on. But thyme is much more than just pretty leaves.
This article, on Dr. Axe’s website is a really comprehensive look at the benefits of using Thyme essential oil. It provides information on the chemical composition in Thyme, and also its uses for killing infections, increasing circulation, and even balancing hormones. It is quite a long article, but well worth the read.
If you make it to the end (or skip past some of the technical information), Dr. Axe has recipes and suggestions for how to use Thyme.
Thyme Plant and Chemical Composition
The thyme plant is a bushy, woody-based evergreen subshrub with small, highly aromatic, gray-green leaves and clusters of purple or pink flowers that bloom in the early summer. It typically grows to be between six to 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide. Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil.
Thyme tolerates drought well, and it can even endure deep freezes, as it’s found growing wild on mountain highlands. It’s planted in the spring and then continues to grow as a perennial. The seeds, roots or cuttings of the plant can be used for propagation.
Because the thyme plant is grown in many environments, climates and soils, there are over 300 varieties with different chemotypes. Although they all look the same, the chemical composition is different along with the corresponding health benefits. The chief constituents of thyme essential oil typically include alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, camphene, beta-pinene, para-cymene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, borneol, beta-caryophyllene, thymol and carvacrol. The essential oil has a spicy and warm aroma that’s powerful and penetrating.
Thyme essential oil contains 20 percent to 54 percent thymol, which gives thyme oil its antiseptic properties. For this reason, thyme oil is commonly used in mouthwashes and toothpastes. It effectively kills germs and infections in the mouth and protects the teeth from plaque and decay. Thymol also kills fungi and is commercially added to hand sanitizers and antifungal creams.
See the next page for an infographic on the benefits of Thyme oil…