Botanical names Thymus zygis
Source Aerial parts
Processing Method Steam Distillation
Description / Color / Consistency A thin, clear, pale yellow liquid.
Aromatic Summary / Note / Strength of Aroma A top note with a strong aroma, Thyme has a woody, medicinal scent described as spicy and green.
Blends With Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lavender, Rosemary and Pine.
Thyme has a spicy, warm, herbaceous aroma that is both powerful and penetrating. Known since ancient times as a medicinal herb, thyme contains large amounts of Thymol. Thyme oil is one of the strongest antioxidants known, and it has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times. Thyme supports the immune, respiratory, digestive, nervous and other body systems. It’s one of the best essential oils for hormones because it balances hormone levels helping women with menstrual and menopausal symptoms.
Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women also often gave knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer.
The medicinal properties of thyme come mainly from its essential oils which are extracted through steam distillation of fresh flowers and leaves. The chief constituents of its essential oil are alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, camphene, beta-pinene, para-cymene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, borneol, beta-caryophyllene, thymol, and carvacrol.
It is an irritant to some people and may cause allergic reactions in some cases. It is also a hypertensive substance that increases blood pressure, so those with high blood pressure should use it after consulting a doctor. It is an emmenagogue, therefore, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Linalyl acetate 3.4–8.6%
Hazards None known.
Contraindications None known.
Has GRAS status. According to IFRA, essential oils rich in linalool should only be used when the level of peroxides is kept to the lowest practical value. The addition of antioxidants such as 0.1% BHT or a-tocopherol at the time of production is recommended.
Adverse skin reactions, Acute toxicity No information found. Oxidation products of linalool may be skin sensitizing, but carvacrol and thymol possess strong antioxidant properties.
Reproductive toxicity The virtual absence of reproductive toxicity for linalool (Politano et al 2008) suggests that thyme oil is not hazardous in pregnancy.
Acute toxicity No information found. Linalool is slightly toxic (oral) and non-toxic (dermal).
Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential No information was found for thyme oil, but it contains no known
carcinogens. Linalool, thymol, and carvacrol display anticarcinogenic activity.