Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy
Of the many essential oils, thyme is probably one of the most under-used. It has numerous health benefits and uses. A popular spice for cooking, thyme as an herb has been used for thousands of years.
As an essential oil, it can be used for health, cleaning, and many other reasons.
This post will explore the research-backed ways to use thyme essential oil.
Thyme Essential Oil Basics
Thyme essential oil is made from the leaves and flowers of the plant Thymus vulgaris, a plant that belongs in the mint family. The plant itself has many uses including for food seasoning, potpourri, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and more. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
Thyme essential oil is anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. It can be used to fight infection and is even used for mouthwash and other oral care products.
The health benefits of thyme oil come from several special compounds it contains, including:
8 Health Benefits of Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil has many health benefits. We will explore the top reasons it is used for health and wellness purposes. Remember: never use essential oils internally unless explicitly directed by your doctor.
Essential oil is potent and could lead to digestive tract harm and other unpleasant symptoms when taken internally or swallowed.
1. Alopecia Areata
While there has not been a large body of research done, some studies do show that thyme essential oil, when paired with a carrier oil and massage, might be able to help prevent ongoing hair loss. This condition is known as alopecia areata. (1)
Thyme essential oil can be used as a scalp therapy treatment for many reasons. It is simply and easily done in the comfort of your own home. Try it like this:
- Use a carrier oil like jojoba, avocado, or almond oil. Take one cup of oil and mix with 5 drops each of thyme, lavender, and rosemary essential oils.
- Massage a small portion of the mix, about 1-2 teaspoons, onto the scalp once per day. Leave sit for at least 60 minutes or apply and leave on during overnight sleep.
- Rinse with a gentle, fragrance free shampoo and follow with a gentle, fragrance free conditioner.
- Repeat daily for at least 6 to 8 weeks before expecting to notice a difference. Stop use immediately if any discomfort occurs.
While there are many natural remedies for acne, not all of them are guaranteed to work for everyone, even the ones that have research behind them. However, thyme essential oil has been studied when it comes to acne and the bacteria that can cause it.
Research showed that thyme essential oil could be beneficial for treating acne that had a bacterial cause, but not other sources (such as hormonal). (2)
3. Respiratory Infections and Immunity
Thyme essential oil is antibacterial and also has some antiviral properties, too. It can help to address congestion that triggers coughing or is associated with respiratory infections.
The common cold can be caused by hundreds of different viral infections even though it presents with the same symptoms: coughing, congestion, and sneezing.
Thyme essential oil can help to kill infections and germs on surfaces, which is a big help in reducing the spread of infections in the home or workplace.
Because thyme oil is not chemically based, it can be a great option for disinfecting with people who are sensitive to chemicals. It makes an effective cleaner because of the active ingredients in it, including camphene and thymol.
To use thyme essential oil as a cleaner, add 20 drops to white vinegar and distilled water in a 50/50 mix of 3-6 cups each. Spray as a surface cleaner and wipe with a clean cotton cloth.
4. Oral Health and Hygiene
Thyme essential oil is a common ingredient found in dental and oral health care products. It is effective at addressing gingivitis, plaque build-up, tooth decay, and bad breath. It kills germs in the mouth and fights bacterial infections which can harm gums and tooth health.
Thymol, the active ingredient in thyme essential oil, is commonly used in mouthwash and other dental treatment products. It fights inflammation and reduces irritation in teeth and gums. It can even be effective at working with active infections.
5. Heart Health
The heart relies on good circulation to remain healthy. When circulation problems exist, like plaque build-up in arteries or high blood pressure, heart problems can occur or even related circulatory issues like stroke.
Thyme essential oil helps to increase circulation in the body when applied topically. It helps to relax arteries and veins, increasing optimal blood flow.
It is beneficial for both circulation and blood pressure health. Research also finds that thyme essential oil promotes a healthy heart by reducing inflammation and protecting the overall muscle. (3)
6. Natural Bug Repellent
Insects are a pain for many reasons. They can just be annoying or they can represent a threat that can lead to infection, allergic reaction, and painful stings or bites. Thyme essential oil is a nontoxic natural way to repel pests, both as a topical bug repellent and also used around the house or living areas.
Thyme essential oil can repel many types of pests including mosquitoes, lice, bed bugs, fleas, moths, and beetles. If you end up getting mosquito bites, adding some thyme oil with a carrier oil can help take the sting out and remove the inflammation that causes the irritation and sting.
7. Stress Buster
Many essential oils are great at helping to reduce stress levels in the body and thyme essential oil is no exception. It helps to alleviate stress and anxiety and can even help to calm feelings of restlessness and chaos in the brain. It helps to promote muscle relaxation in the body.
For stress busting effects, pair with a carrier oil and use topically or add to a diffuser and allow to permeate the area where you are working, sitting, or resting.
You can also simply open a bottle of thyme essential oil and breathe deeply of the scent from that, making it easy to take with you on the go for when you need rapid stress relief.
8. Natural Hormone Balance
Women have many obstacles to overcome, it seems, when it comes to having balanced hormones. Between estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as stress hormones, thyroid hormones, and more, it can feel like a ridiculously hard balancing act.
Thyme essential oil can help to improve the balance between estrogen and progesterone. When this balance is not ideal, issues can range from infertility or problems getting pregnant to polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, and even low energy levels.
Research supports thyme essential oil as one of just a handful of natural substances that can promote healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone, without using chemicals. (4)
Thyme oil can also help to prevent early onset of menopause and address the symptoms of perimenopause, or the transitional time between menstruation and menopause.
It can even provide some relief for symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and more. For women who experience more serious PMS symptoms, thyme essential oil can help provide relief here too, by helping to decrease the feelings of blues, boost the ability to sleep restfully, and even help to support a balanced mood.
It can also address fatigue, nausea, and cramping and support balanced hormones.
Thyme Oil Cautions and Who Should Not Use
While thyme oil has many proven benefits, it’s not safe for everyone.
Caution should be used in the following cases:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- People with mint allergies
- People with oregano or other spice allergies
- People with known sensitivity to thyme or other essential oils
- People who take blood thinners or other anticoagulant medications
- People who take any prescription medications
Thyme essential oil can slow blood clotting, so it should not be used by anyone with bleeding or clotting disorders and should not be used by anyone who will have surgery within two weeks.
Do not use thyme essential oil, or any others, with infants or young children unless expressly directed by their pediatrician.
Signs of being sensitive or allergic to thyme essential oil could include:
- Breathing problems
- Feelings of dizziness
- Digestive irritation
Creative Ways to Use Thyme Oil in Everyday Life
If you have thyme oil and you want to use it more, consider the following ways:
- Add to vinegar and purified water for a disinfecting cleaning spray
- Add undiluted drops to a trash can to rid of bad odors and to disinfect
- Pair with carrier oil and use as a scalp treatment and massage
- Diffuse for relaxation and stress relief purposes
- Add to baths for muscle relief and fatigue relief
- Add to a carrier oil for massage on abdomen for cramps or back for pain
- Add to purified water and use as mouthwash or gargle for oral health
- Inhale for congestion or blocked nasal passages
- Add to hot water for steam inhalation
- Add to the bottom of a shower for inhalation
- Add to a foot bath for nail infections or foot fungus
How to Buy Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil is available at health stores, online, and anywhere else that essential oils are sold. It’s important to look for high quality products and make sure they’re not diluted or mixed with anything else.
Read the label and ensure that there is only a single ingredient on the bottle.
High quality essential oils should come in a dark amber or dark blue bottle, since light can damage them.
Depending on the store or the brand, there can be a high variance between pricing and quality.
Thyme essential oil has numerous health benefits and uses ranging from oral health to heart health to germ-killing cleaning power.
It’s an integral part of any natural cleaning home routine, is an excellent addition to any medicine cabinet, and can even be used for cosmetic purposes like hair regrowth and acne treatment.
Research supports thyme essential oil as a great natural remedy for many health conditions. It offers benefits for the heart, circulation, and even hormone balance.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement and that includes adding an essential oil to your health routine.
Using thyme essential oil for health purposes and around the house is limited only by your imagination.
This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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- Soliman KM, Badeaa RI. Effect of oil extracted from some medicinal plants on different mycotoxigenic fungi. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2002;40(11):1669–1675.
- Amiri H. Essential oils composition and antioxidant properties of three Thymus species. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Aderem A, Ulevitch RJ. Toll-like receptors in the induction of the innate immune response. Nature. 2000;406(6797):782–787.
Aimee McNew, MNT, CNTP, is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, thyroid problems, infertility, and digestive wellness. She ate her way back to health using a Paleo diet, lost 80 pounds, and had a healthy baby after numerous miscarriages. She focuses on simple nutrition practices that promote long-lasting results.