Thyme Essential Oil: Uses & Benefits


Is your oral hygiene routine lackluster?

Do you love the outdoors, but insects keep you from enjoying it?

Does winter wear you out?

In the 1960s along with its friend’s parsley, sage, and rosemary, thyme gained notoriety as part of a famous song on a folk album. Long before its musical debut, however, it was known for its culinary and medicinal uses. Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians used it as part of their process to assist the dead in the afterlife. Greeks and Romans cooked with the herb and also used it to cleanse the air in their homes. In the middle ages, some people placed it under their pillows to purify sleep and ward off nightmares. In Armenia, an herbal tea made out of it has long been drunk for its medicinal properties. It is believed to boost the immune system and decrease fatigue. In the 19th century, nurses would often soak bandages in thyme-infused water before applying them to their patients because it was recognized that this had a beneficial impact on infections.

What Is Thyme Essential Oil?

Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Thymus vulgaris
  • Application: Aromatic, topical, internal
  • Plant Part: Leaf
  • Extraction Method: Steam distillation
  • Aromatic Description: Earthy, warm, pungent
  • Main Chemical Components: Thymol, para-cymene, carvacrol

Principal Benefits

  • Promotes and benefits oral health
  • Is a natural insect repellant
  • Offers broad-spectrum support for winter health

How to Use Thyme Essential Oil

This essential oil is multipurpose and can be used in several ways depending on the results you are hoping to achieve. In fact, one type of use can often produce several benefits for the user. For example, internal use can support the immune system and promote the health of the respiratory system simultaneously.

Thyme Essential Oil Uses

  • Aromatic Use: Diffuse to purify the air and maintain a sense of alertness during the day. This also is a great way to distribute antioxidants. When used outside it can help repel insects.
  • Topical Use: It is considered a hot oil so it is best to use it in a targeted way on problem areas.
  • Internal Use: There are many ways to take it internally to promote health and well-being.

Directions for Use:

For diffusion simply place 3 or 4 drops in the diffuser of your choice. When using topically always dilute with a carrier oil to minimize possible reactions. For internal use place a few drops in a veggie cap or infuse in some hot water to make tea. You can also use it directly in your cooking.

Thyme Essential Oil Health Benefits

  • Use to promote oral hygiene-Thymol, one of the main chemical components of thyme is one of the central active ingredients in many over-the-counter types of mouthwash. The purifying effects support a healthy mouth and help protect against developing common oral problems like plaque or gingivitis. Use in combination with peppermint, warm water, and baking soda to create a homemade mouth rinse that is easy and economical.
  • Naturally repel pesky insects-If mosquitoes like you, more than you like them, mix a few drops of oil together with a carrier oil and apply to your pulse points. If you are trying to enjoy a night out on the patio, you can diffuse it instead. This will also help keep the insects away and has the added benefit of being invigorating and smelling fresh.
  • Support multiple body systems during the winter doldrums-This oil interacts with many different parts of the body and offers multi-channel benefits when environmental factors are at their most brutal. It has been shown to support, the cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems!
  • Use to alleviate symptoms associated with your period-It offers a natural way to maintain hormonal balance. Therefore it can have a beneficial effect on hormone related issues like mood swings and hot flashes.
  • Purify yourself and your environment- When diffused it helps detoxify the air. When used topically, it can cleanse your skin and offer targeted support to problem areas. It can also be added to homemade kitchen cleaners to boost their capabilities.


  • Thyme
    Thyme – Thymus vulgaris

Thyme Essential Oil Research

The research  is promising and has shown some substantial benefits. It has been hypothesized that its ability to balance progesterone could go beyond alleviating monthly symptoms and help with issues like menopause or infertility. Other studies have shown it to be effective against numerous different kinds of bacteria. In part, this has led to its use in natural hand sanitizers which are popular with those who do not want to rely on products that are mostly alcohol. In addition, some studies have uncovered exceptional antioxidant properties as well. At this time, however, the FDA has not approved any of these claims.

Thyme Essential Oil Nutrition

When seeking to combat the stressors of winter it is best to embark on a regimen of use. A few drops in a veggie capsule daily offers support for the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Adding two drops to a morning herbal tea supports the immune system and the aroma is stimulating to help you wake up and face the day. In addition, you can supplement this with direct use in cooking. It pairs well with chicken and it is easy to add to soups and stews for more flavor and antioxidants. If you are striving to keep your hormones regular, ongoing use is also required. To reap its skin purifying benefits, continued use is also recommended. It is potent, so it is important to find the frequency that works best for you. To help reduce the appearance of blemishes, use once a day or even once every other day to achieve the best results.

Thyme Essential Oil Safety

It is generally considered to be a safe oil, however, it is strong, so caution is recommended when using topically. Always dilute with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut and use on targeted areas only. Test on a limited area before starting more widespread use. Keep out of the reach of children. Women who are pregnant or nursing should consult their doctor before use, especially because of its hormonal properties. Be sure to avoid contact with eyes and other sensitive areas. Ongoing internal use is supported, but be sure not to exceed recommended dosages. Increased intake does not offer any particular benefit.

Thyme Essential Oil Substitute

Since many commercial types of mouthwash are made with thymol, you can save money by simply making your own. This is good for the environment as well since it reduces the waste of plastic bottles that store purchased brands come in. Its ability to support the immune system means less reliance on lozenges and teas that purport to do the same but offer no other benefits. Using it as a nontoxic insect repellant is cheaper than buying something at the store. It also is natural, whereas DEET, the active ingredient in most purchased repellants, was invented to defoliate the jungle.

Thyme Essential Oil Blends Well With

It blends well with many other oils and can be used in various combinations to achieve different results. Diffusing it with lavender at bedtime can help promote relaxation and encourage peaceful sleep. This can be very helpful when other factors in your life are preventing you from having restful slumber. You can combine 2 teaspoons of baking soda, ½ cup of warm water, 2 drops of peppermint oil and 2 drops of thyme to create a cleansing and refreshing mouth rinse. Another good blend for surface cleaning is with lemon. The purifying properties of these two oils support one another and they also create a zesty citrus scent. When using as an insect repellant you can combine it with rosemary. Both of these are distasteful to bugs and when used together provide even more coverage and protection. When cooking, use with sage and rosemary to enliven soups or stews and make meat more flavorful.


Thyme has been used for centuries as a way to make food more flavorful and for its health benefits. Its versatility is impressive. Use it in a mouth rinse to promote oral well being and support clean teeth and healthy gums. Diffuse it or apply it topically to protect yourself from pesky insect bites and the sometimes more unpleasant illnesses that can be contracted from these bites. Take internally to offer wide-ranging support during the long winter months. It can help boost the immune system, supports the respiratory system and promotes normal function of the circulatory system.


Thyme is well known for its purifying properties. Does using it as part of a regimen of oral hygiene mean you will never get another cavity? Probably not, but the fact that its main chemical component is also the main component in most mass produced mouth washes speaks to the effectiveness of it as an agent of cleanliness. Although studies have shown its effectiveness in fighting bacteria and in regulating hormones they have not been comprehensive. More research needs to be done in order to scientifically demonstrate these benefits. Until then, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for medical use. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.