Thyme is a common low-growing perennial herb native to Europe and Asia. There are three main types of thyme, including German, English, and French thyme, and each has its own unique leaf shape and color. Various types of thyme even produce essential oils with different chemical compounds. Though thyme is often used in culinary practices, it can be employed as a topical agent for a variety of medical purposes. The dried leaves and flowering tops are commonly used in herbal medicine.1,2
Thyme Uses and Health Benefits
Thyme features many medicinal benefits, including antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It’s said to boost the immune system as well as sooth the respiratory tract to treat a variety of conditions. Thyme can be made into a topical balm used for treating skin conditions like rash, acne, cuts, and burns. It can also be used for cleaning drinking water to help prevent fever and diarrhea.1,3
Other thyme benefits
Thyme Side Effects and Precautions
Although thyme is generally considered safe, it’s important to take precautions, especially when using thyme oil. Thyme oil should only be used for external purposes. Internal use of thyme oil can result in thyme side effects like difficulty breathing, dizziness, and vomiting.6 Pregnant women should not use thyme oil.5 In some cases, thyme oil may cause sensitivity when applied to the skin or used as a mouth rinse.6 Do not use thyme if you are taking blood thinning medications as this may increase the risk of bleeding.5 As with any herb, it’s best to talk to your doctor before using a thyme herbal remedy.