Thyme and time again

Updated: Mar 11

Every month NAHA, The National Organization of Holistic Aromatherapy, gives a webinar for free to all its members. The most recent one was all about Thyme. Did you know that Thyme has a number of chemotypes?


Different chemotypes are developed by plants as a response to ecological influences such as the altitude it is grown at, its geographical location, the amount of sunlight it receives, humidity, rain, and even the amount of wind it is subjected to. There are several other chemotypes of Thymus vulgaris, including linalool, geraniol, thuyanol and thymol, all of which are available with the Latin name Thymus vulgaris essential oil – the only difference being the chemotype (ct).


Thyme stimulates chi, warmth, dispels cold, tones the heart and strengthens the heartbeat. In Greek "thymus" means courage. Roman soldiers would bathe with it this herb before a battle.

The first of the four types grow at the height of a mountain. Thyme CT Thymol is a very strong, hot oil. It contains mostly phenols which are generally stronger and much more potent chemicals. You shouldn't use phenols for more than a few days as it can have a detrimental affect upon the liver. Oregano is another phenol rich oil. Thyme ct thymol is a strong antioxidant and a good anti-inflammatory. It's also great for wound healing. BUT, it should only be used at a 1% dilution because of the hot phenols. I cant say it enough, its a very very strong oil and you won't need much of it for it to be truly effective.

Thujanol (or thuyanol) is much gentler than the thymol chemotype, grows about midway up a mountain and is distilled from the leaves. Its non-toxic and non-irritating and can be used diluted even in homemade mouthwash. It's only generally produced for medicinal aromatherapy. A great antibacterial, it stimulates the Central Nervous System and seems to help with mild depression and fatigue. Because it is neuro-tonic be careful diffusing it and always use very little of this oil. As they say, a little goes a long way.

Thyme with the chemotype geraniol grows at a slightly higher elevation. Its sweeter & more floral; has a slightly more rose scent to it. Its chemical elements are balanced with geraniol and linalool. Well suited for children since its non-irritating and has a gentle quality. IT has a GRAS status meaning it is generally safe for use. Does have possible drug interaction- its's choleretic can increase production of bile from the liver. Thyme CT Linalool is distilled from its flowers and leaves and grows at the highest elevation of all the thyme chemotypes. It's safest for children and safest of all thyme plants. Great for viral infections and has an affinity for the bronchial area. It's been used for a Whooping cough and pneumonia & walking pneumonia. It's ideal for skin applications. This oils also has GRAS status.


Thymus vulgaris has a number of therapeutic properties: It can be used as a topical compress, mixed in an ointment, for skin care, in massage & in a bath. Just remember to only use these oils at 1-2% dilution in applications... making sure to use ct. Thymol at a 1 % or less dilution. When vaporized, the expectorant properties of thyme essential oil is a great expectorant & decongestant. Its antispasmodic action calms uncontrollable coughing and its powerful bactericidal action effectively kills infection. Regular use of thyme oil also increases the production of white blood cells increasing your immune boosting activity and resistance to disease.


Thyme oils are contraindicated for those with hypertension and epilepsy. And for those who have a hyperthyroid condition, it can stimulate thyroid in high dosages so this oil is wise to avoid with those who suffer from this condition. Remember to never exceed a concentration of 2% and avoid direct use with mucous membranes or damaged skin since its powerful action may cause skin irritation if used carelessly.


It blends well with bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lavender, orange, marjoram sweet, melissa, pine, rosemary, sage and tea tree.