Thyme Essential Oil
Description : A perennial evergreen shrub growing to 45cms high with woody root and branched upright stem. The plant has small green-gray, oval leaves and pale purple or white flowers. The aroma is rich, powerful, sweet warm and herbaceous with a somewhat spicy aroma.
Native to Spain and the Mediterranean region, now found throughout Asia Minor, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, the USA Russia, China and central Europe. The oil is mainly produced in Spain but also in France, Greece, Israel, Morocco, Algeria, Germany and the USA.
History / Traditions
Used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process and by the Greeks to fumigate against infectious diseases, thyme was one of the earliest medicinal herbs of the Mediterranean region. Known by Hippocrates and Dioscorides. The name derives from the Greek 'thymos' meaning 'to perfume.It is also long established as a culinary herb.
Culpepper says of THYME:it is a notable strengthener of the lungs, as notable as any that grows,it purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It kilss worms in the belly... it is so harmless you need not fear the use of it.
Essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the fresh or partly dried leaves and flowering tops.'Red thyme oil is a crude distillate, 'White thyme oil is produced by further distillation or rectification (an absolute is produced in France by solvent extraction for perfumery use)
Details of Oil
Red thyme oil is a red, brown or orange liquid with a warm spicy-herbaceous, powerful odor.White thyme oil is a clear, pale yellow liquid with a sweet, green-fresh, milder scent.It blends well with bergamot, lemon, rosemary, melisa, lavender, marjoram, Peru Balsam and Pine.
There are numerous varieties of Thyme - the common thyme believed to be derived from the mother of thyme (T. serpyllum), which is used to produce an essential oil called serpolet, similar in effect to the common thyme oil. Another species used for the production of the so called red thyme oil is the Spanish thyme T. sygis, a highly penetrating oil good for cellulitis,sports injuries etc.Other species used for essential oil production include lemon thyme (T. citri odorus), a fresh scented oil good for asthma, and other respiratory conditions and also safe for children.
There are many chemotypes of thyme oil: notably the 'thymol' and 'carvacol' types (warming and active); the 'thuanol' type and the milder 'linalol' or 'citrol' types. Thyme has a wide range of uses, in Western medicine the main application has been in the treatment of digestive complaints, respiratory problems and the prevention and treatment of infection.Muscles joints and circulation: Rheumatism, muscular aches and pains, cellulitis, arthritis, sprains, anemia.
Insect bites, lice, scabies, dermatitis, eczema, cuts, bruises, acne,abscess, cellulitis, gum infection, athletes foot, wounds.
Asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, laryngitis, sinusitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, flu, whooping cough, throat infections.
diarrhoea, dyspepsia, flatulence.
Infectious diseases, staphylococcus, physical an psychological weakness.
Nervous system: Headaches, insomnia, nervous debility, neurasthenia and stress related complaints. Helps to revive the body and the mind.
Vaginitis (douche of boiled water with 2% of essence of thyme.)
The oil can be used as a massage oil (diluted with a carrier), as an inhalation, in a diffuser or vaporizer.
Thymus Vulgaris is a skin irritant in high concentration, it should not be used with epileptic conditions, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure or during pregnancy (because it is a uterine stimulant).
Red thyme oil:
Serpolet (from wild thyme), 'thymol' and 'carvacrol' type oils all contain quite large amounts of toxic phenols (carvacol and thymol). They can irritate mucous membranes, cause dermal irritation and may cause sensitization in some individuals. Use in moderation, in low dilution.They are best avoided during pregnancy.
Is not a 'complete' oil and is often adulterated. Lemon Thyme and 'linalol' types are in general less toxic, non-irritant with less possibility of sensitization, safe for use on the skin and with children.
Thymol and cavacrol (up to 60%) cymene, camphene, borneol, linalol; depending upon the source it can also contain geraniol, citral and thuyanol.
Reference: International Therapist/ Nov/Issue 61/2004