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.
Here are some easy ways to use thyme oil in your everyday life:
- To ease fatigue, add 2 drops of thyme oil to warm bath water.
- To relieve menstrual cramps, rub 2 drops of thyme oil with equal parts carrier oil on your abdomen.
- To use as a mouthwash, add 2 drops of thyme oil to water and gargle.
- To open blocked nasal passages, inhale 2 drops of thyme oil, or add it to hot water for steam inhalation.
- To , add 5 drops of thyme oil to a warm foot bath.
- To kill infections and rashes, rub 2 drops of thyme oil to the needed area.
- To increase circulation, inhale or diffuse 2–3 drops of thyme oil daily.