Thyme Essential Oil: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

There are several species of Thyme essential oil, however most lack formal testing. The two chemo types of Thyme most often used for essential oils are Thyme vulgaris ct linalool and Thyme vulgaris ct. thymus.

CT is chemo or chemical type. I often hear people mistakenly say that “essential oils are natural, there is no chemistry or chemicals.” They are right about the chemicals as long as an oil has not been adulterated. However, everything in life does indeed involve chemistry. Everything thing in life is composed of molecules, including plants and its counterpart, essential oils.

Thyme vulgaris ct. thymol

Thyme vulgaris ct. thymol is classified as being part of the phenol chemical family. Thyme ct. thymol carries not one, but two chemical constituents from the phenol chemical family, carvacrol and thymol, a double hit on the skin and mucous membranes when not used with care.

Internally there are concerns of drug interactions and it can inhibit blood clotting, a real concern for those with bleeding disorders, hemophilia or those preparing for major surgery. Thyme ct. thymol is recommended at maximum topical use of 1.3%. (1)

Despite carvacrol and thymols concerns, they are beneficial. They possess strong antioxidant properties and when used wisely with safety in mind, it’s a great oil to have on hand. So how can we use this oil safely?

Maximum suggested topical uses by age are as follows:

  • 0-24 months do not use
  • 2-6 years old – 0.25%
  • 6-15 years old – 0.5%
  • 15 plus and during pregnancy – stay under 1.3% to avoid irritation or possible allergic reaction

Nine drops of essential oil to one-ounce of carrier oil = 1%. Charts and maximums are often given based on averages. When treating children, take into consideration your child on an average chart.

Charts and maximums are often given based on averages. When treating children, take into consideration your child on an average chart. A chart will reflect below, average and above average. You alone know where your child is in development.

For example, if your child is below average size and 8 years old, then dilute to 0.25% rather than the maximum given below of 0.5%, which is based on the average child. If your child also has sensitive skin, this must also be taken into consideration.

Thyme ct. thymol has a host of therapeutic actions including, but not limited to, as an analgesic (pain reliever), antimicrobial, antioxidant, eases rheumatoid and other arthritic related pain and inflammation, fights viral and bacterial infections, astringent, circulatory stimulant, expectorant and decongestant.

When using irritant oils, blend with skin-friendly oils and along with your carrier, add a minimal amount of vitamin E or other antioxidant to further reduce the possibility of irritation.

Thyme vulgaris ct linalool

Thyme vulgaris ct linalool is the most used Thyme essential oil in aromatherapy and comes with fewer safety concerns than the chemo type thymol. The linalool content can average 73.6-79.0%. Linalool (aka linalol) is considered a low risk for skin sensitization. (2)

There is no formal testing on any Thyme essential oil. However, there is formal testing on linalool and we know that linalool has no safety concerns. Since there is no formal testing, it is suggested in some texts to avoid during pregnancy, with babies and small children. (3)

However, Tisserand notes that based on the linalool content, it is safe at 2% during pregnancy. Orally it does present a concern for being ‘slightly’ toxic. (4)

As above, use your best judgement when blending for yourself, a child or a loved one, adjusting the recommended maximum to suit personal needs.

Topical maximum suggested uses are as follows:

  • 3-24 months – 0.5%
  • 2-6 years old – 2%
  • 6-15 years old – 3%
  • 15 plus – 5%
  • During pregnancy – 2%

When using essential oil products or any medicinal topical products, wash the surface with warm water to open the pores of the skin, gently scrub and pat dry. The skin is more receptive to absorbing your product this way, allowing a higher percentage of active components to enter your blood stream. The following blends are created with the Thyme ct. linalool in mind. If you choose to use the Thyme ct thymus, dilute accordingly and follow safety suggestions.

I’ll give you applications or uses of the various oils and blends. Also consider applying your recipes on your spinal cord in addition to the site of the issue. Our nerves run from our head, down our spine and branch out to the various organs throughout our bodies.

There are four parts of our spine, cervical, thoracic and lumbar and sacrum. Find a chart to follow. A chart can show you where the nerves in the spine begin and where they branch out. This will allow for better overall therapeutic care.

1. Rheumatism Pain

For arthritic type pain or isolated pain, I like using a topical application. The advantage topically is that you can also breathe in the aroma and get a small percentage of components through inhalation as well. Try the following. Apply as often as needed.

Rheumatism Pain Blend
  • One-ounce Argan Prunis amygdalus var. dulcis Oil or Tamanu oil
  • 4 drops Thyme vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 4 drops Juniper Berry Juniperus communis
  • 6 drops Siberian fir Abies sibirica
  • 4 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii

2. Ease Sprains and Swelling

I’m a clutz and famous for breaking toes and spraining ankles. The following has saved me more than once. In a foot bath, fill with warm water, full enough to cover your injured toes, foot or ankles and add the following.

Soothing Foot & Ankle Soak
  • 1 Tablespoon Jojoba oil or carrier of choice
  • 2 drop Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 1 drop Geranium Pelargonium x asperum
  • 1 drop Peppermint Mentha X spicata
  • 1/8 cup Epsom salts

Directions: Blend your oils with your carrier oil. Once blended, add to Epsom salts. Stir to combine. The carrier will incapsulate the essential oils, protecting your skin for possible irritation. Add to your water and soak until water cools. Pat dry, cover with socks and relax.

Safety Alert – “Always check individual essential oil maximum dilution rates and dilute accordingly to protect your skin.”

3. Lose Excess Water Weight

All thymes are noted for their ability to assist with simple water retention. If your physician has diagnosed you with or you suspect swelling may be due to edema (MDR), seek medical advice prior to starting any treatment. This can be a serious medical condition.

Using the following and starting at the ankles, gently with a little pressure, massage your legs. Start your day with a massage, after shower or before bedtime. Even a quick one can move the fluid and stimulate your lymphatic and circulatory systems. Avoid foods that may be attributing to your water retention.

I recommend a maximum of 2% or 28 drops per ounce of carrier oil or unscented lotion. Sandalwood can be an irritant if oxidized. I recommended adding no more than a teaspoon of Vitamin E as an antioxidant and adds more protection to your skin. Because we are adding 1 teaspoon Vitamin E and 6 teaspoons equals one ounce, I have adjusted the amount of carrier.

Water Weight Reduction Blend
  • 5 teaspoons carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E
  • 2 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 6 drops Juniper berry Juniperus communis
  • 4 drops Sandalwood Santalum album
  • 5 drops Scotch pine Pinus sylvestris

4. Healing Skin Infections & Wounds

Thyme will help promote healing of skin infections and wounds. In the following blend, Thyme is accompanied by skin healing oils. These will also promote healing. To take it a step further, use a carrier that also offers those properties such as Coconut Cocos nucifera oil, Tamanu, Trauma oil or Calendula officinalis (Co2 extract, infused) oil.

Wait for open wounds to scab over before applying essential oil products. This combination not only helped to heal my own wounds, but also my scarring. This is a 3% blend for adults. You can safely go up to 5% as needed.

For children under 10 years old, blend at a one percent or 9 drops per ounce of suggested carrier oil. Apply up to four times a day, especially after a bath and at bedtime. Skin is more receptive when clean, warm and dry.

Skin Healing Blend
  • One-ounce Tamanu or Trauma carrier oil
  • 6 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 6 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 5 drops Myrrh Commiphora myrrha
  • 6 drops Manuka Leptospermum scoparium ct east cape

Safety Alert – “Prior to using, apply your blend where your skin is thin, the inside of the wrist. Cover and wait. If you have no reaction, you are safe to use your blend”

5. Improve Circulation

In aromatherapy, it is assumed that stimulant oils will help raise blood pressure and that sedative oils will lower blood pressure, although it more likely helps to balance blood pressure. (1) To help regulate your blood pressure, try the following blend:

Blood Circulation Blend
  • One-ounce Carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 3 drops Rosemary Officinalis ct. verbenone
  • 5 drops Basil (Sweet) Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool
  • 2 drops Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara

Safety Alert – “Consult with your doctor before using thyme essential oil if you are under a doctor’s care and/or taking medications for high blood pressure.”

6. Improve Mental Fatigue

When feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or ‘burned out’, try the following in an inhaler or diffuser to calm the mind. Add all drops to a diffuser and diffuse for 30-60 minutes intervals. Or, you can add all drops to an inhaler. I like inhalers as they last longer and go right to the source; the olfactory system. Not safe for children younger than 10 years old or pets.

Blood Circulation Blend
  • 3 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 3 drops Basil Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool
  • 3 drops Rosemary Officinalis ct. camphor
  • 3 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Globulus
  • 3 drops Lemon Citrus limon

7. Alleviate A Sluggish Digestive System

The antispasmodic properties of Thyme can help a sluggish digestive system. To improve your digestive system though, you also have to improve your circulation and wake up your nervous system. Remember to also massage the spinal cord since this is the point of origin where our nerve endings branch out.

For the stomach, this would be the thoracic spine (T-7 on charts). Using the following blend, use your palm and in broad gentle strokes, work clockwise to spread the following blend around. Once your oil is smoothed out, start gently massaging the tummy going slow, above the hip line, through the waist circulating up under the ribs.

You’re working around the belly. It only takes a gentle touch to release the discomfort and any gas. You can do this to your own tummy as well. For those that may have scar tissue, gently massage over the area. This may be tender for some with Endometriosis or scar tissue.

Sluggish Digestion Relief Blend
  • One-ounce carrier oil or unscented lotion
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 3 drops Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
  • 5 drops Spearmint Mentha spicata
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum

8. Treat Bronchitis and Chest Congestion

Thyme ct. linalool is a great choice for chronic bronchitis. The most effective method for head and chest ailments is inhalation. You can also make a topical cream that can be applied to the chest and neck area to soothe the airways through dermal absorption as well as inhalation.

For children, you could make a topical cream to apply to their upper back. I find this to be the best area for the younger ones who may rub their chest and put it in their mouth. It would not be enough to harm them since we are using safe oils, but it would be icky.

Kids Bronchitis Relief Blend
  • 2 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 3 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 2 drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana
  • 2 drops Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

Directions: Add drops to your diffuser as instructed or add to a carrier oil of choice. Dilute according to the given percentages. If your child will use an inhaler, add the above to an inhaler.

Adult Bronchitis Relief Blend
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Rosemary officinalis ct. camphor
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus EucalyptusGlobulus 

Directions: You can use above applications using adult dilution rates, although I find an inhaler is most effective for bronchitis and other chest congestions. Blank inhalers can be purchased at Amazon.

9. Ease Spasmodic Coughs

Coughing spasms can accompany whooping cough, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or allergies. Although coughing spells can happen anytime, there are also common triggers such as eating, drinking, yawning, sneezing, or breathing in cold air. Clearing the airways will ease spasmodic coughs or coughing spells. To help ease cough and open airways, try the following in an inhaler. Inhalers are great to have on hand for respiratory issues.

Spasmodic Cough Relief Blend
  • 3 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Scotch pine Pinus sylvestris
  • 5 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
  • 2 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum majorana

10. Boost Your Metabolism

Essential oils can support you physically and emotionally to get you up and going to get your metabolism going. To do this, I recommend the following:

Metabolism Boosters:
  • Low-impact exercise – use small weights to work the upper body. Start low with 1 or 3-pound weights.
  • Cardio exercise is a real plus. If you are limited, try marching your feet in place or arms up and down or whatever suits your ability.
  • Hydrate! Most people do not drink enough water, yet it is one of the easiest ways to control weight. Grab that water.
  • Avoid energy drinks. The artificial sweeteners and overload of sugars can slow your metabolism.
  • Eat smart snacks every few hours such as nuts, fruits, fresh cut vegetables, tuna on wheat crackers, etc.
  • Eat plenty of healthy proteins.
  • Drink black coffee or if your “cup” is tea, green tea is a great option.
  • Stay away from crash diets and make lasting lifestyle changes.

Adding essential oils such as Thyme can energize you, emotionally support your journey and therapeutically keep those aches and pains down from workouts. Try the following at the start of the day and before workouts. Use an inhaler you can take with you to boost your energy to keep going.

Metabolism Booster Blend
  • 3 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 2 drops Grapefruit Citrus paradisi
  • 3 drops Jasmine Absolute Jasminum grandiflorum
  • 5 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea

11. Mental Wellbeing

Thyme can relieve mental exhaustion, depression, and feelings of abandonment. Thyme adds warmth and a sense of comfort. Try the following diffused, in an inhaler, or topically. 15 drops is perfect for any application for this blend. Use one-ounce of carrier oil if using topically. Topically (not ingested) some of these oils present an internal toxicity problem if you exceed the maximum dosage recommendations.

That does not mean we avoid these amazing oils, we just learn to use them wisely. I’ve stayed way under the maximum recommended for safety purposes. Until you research safety, avoid with children under 10 years of age. A good place to start research for beginners and even those who are seasoned is Andrea Butjes’ The Heart Of Aromatherapy book.

Peace of Mind Blend
  • 4 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 4 drops Opopanax Commiphora guidotti
  • 3 drops Rosemary Officinalis ct. 1,8-cineole
  • 3 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Globulus

12. Improve Your Sleep

One of the highlights of Thyme ct. linalool is the linalool (linalol). This wonderful component within the oil is on average around 70-80% of the oil’s chemical makeup. It’s the overall chemical makeup of an oil that affects the therapeutic properties. But we can see in this Thyme what the major contributor is. Linalool is sedative, antispasmodic, a pain reliever, and while resting, it’s boosting your immune system and protecting you from airborne microbes.

Blend the following and apply to the chest and neck before bedtime. You can also add 15 drops total to an inhaler to inhale deeply before bed. While topically absorbing through the skin, this will increase your inhalation percentage for an extra punch right before you sleep. This is approximately a 2.5% blend.

Deep Sleep Blend
  • One-ounce unscented lotion or carrier oil
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Spikenard Nardostachys grandiflora
  • 4 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 9 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum marjorana

13. Aids Impotency & Low Libido

Thyme ct. linalool is great in aphrodisiac blends. It’s often used in the perfume industry and adds a soft beautiful aroma to the blend. The component linalool is also isolated and used in perfumes.

An aphrodisiac, simply put, is a substance that enhances or stimulates our passion and sexual arousal. There is no herb, oil, drug or any substance that can enhance these feelings if you do not have them. Drugs like Viagra are not aphrodisiacs. They simply ensure that a man’s system functions when he decides he wants it to.

If we are physically or emotional exhausted, under stress, lacking proper nutrition, depressed, anxious or physically ill, then we often have a significantly more difficult time enjoying intimacy.

Substances (including essential oils) that are considered aphrodisiacs are substances that can help eliminate the psychological, emotional or physical blocks or interferences which can result from pain or discomfort, tight muscles and tension. Essential oils can reduce stress, calm anxiety, energize and uplift your mood. The can also ease depression. Choosing oils that appeal to the senses is also a huge component.

Other oils considered aphrodisiacs can include spicy, citrus, herbal oils, woodsy oils, mints and conifer oils. Amyris, Ho Wood, Palmarosa and Rosewood have a beautiful deep woodsy aroma. Sandalwood and Patchouli are exotic woodsy oils.

The following oils are considered ‘aphrodisiac’ oils. In a roll-on, add all drops and fill to top with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil. Apply to wrists, neck, behind knees or wherever you so desire. You can increase to 5 drops each and use in an inhaler OR diffuse 15 drops in your diffuser.

Libido Booster Blend
  • 2 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 2 drops Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara
  • 2 drops Sandalwood Santalum album

For a variation, leave out the sweet Neroli and add the soft citrus of Bergamot Citrus bergamia. Or use oils that you know open your senses.

14. Improve Skin Health

Although not advised for use on sensitive or damaged skin, Thyme ct. linalool is effective on all intact skin infections including acne, wounds, psoriasis, and closed wounds. The following blend includes skin healing oils as well as a wonderful carrier that will smooth the fine lines and soften your skin. When using possible skin irritant oils, add skin healing (cictraizant) oils.

Healthy Skin Blend
  • One-ounce Grapeseed Vitis vinifera Oil
  • 2 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 4 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia

15. Treat Psoriasis

Thyme ct. linalool has both linalool and linalyl acetate, both with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Some foods contain antioxidants and help maintain a healthy gut and these include foods such as berries, beans, artichokes, cranberries, potatoes, apples, plums, cherries, and pecans. Internally, an unhealthy gut can lead to many skin issues. Stay healthy inside and the following will soothe the associated topical symptoms of psoriasis.

Psoriasis and Dry Skin Blend
  • One-ounce Neem oil
  • 3 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 2 drops Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia
  • 5 drops Carrot seed Daucus carota

Apply up to 4 times a day.

16. Alleviate Sinusitis and Sinus Congestion

For sinus or respiratory issues, I grab my inhalers and do a steam before bed and upon rising in the morning. Inhalers are a direct route to the issue. Steam inhalation is done by heating a quart of water (remove before it boils). Turn off. Add 1-2 drops (no more is needed or is safe), cover your head with a towel and close your eyes, then take deep breaths.

You’ll almost immediately feel your airways open, allowing you to breathe more freely. You can use Thyme alone or augment it with Rosemary ct verbenone or ct camphor and/or Eucalyptus. For children, I would suggest Lemon Eucalyptus citriodora.

Sinus Congestion Blend
  • Sinus Master Blend
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct linalool
  • 5 drops Rosemary officinalis ct. camphor
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus

17. Get Rid of Cellulite

Cellulite is no friend to any woman. We want the easiest and most effective way to rid ourselves of those not-so-adorable lumpy ‘dimples.’ The most natural way to reduce the appearance of cellulite is a vigorous massage with the use of a skin-friendly carrier oil.

This will also increase blood flow to the area. Other things you can do are drink plenty of water and exercise, including walking, daily. The following is a great massage oil that works to smooth and keep my skin healthy and glowing. Apply and massage vigorously twice a day.

Cellulite-Reducing Massage Oil Blend
  • One-ounce Apricot Kernel CP (Cold pressed) oil
  • 3 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct linalool
  • 5 drops Helichrysum Italicum (Corsica)
  • 5 drops Frankincense Boswellia sacra

18. Treat Laryngitis

Laryngitis is the inflammation, infection or irritation of the voice box or larynx. Inside the larynx are your vocal cords which are two folds of mucous membrane that cover muscle and cartilage. Laryngitis will dry out the area, irritating it even further. A few things you can do are run a humidifier to keep the air moist, give your voice a break by refraining from talking, including whispering which only makes it worse.

Drink water. This is important and I found using a straw helps. This way you can sip slowly and often to keep moist and avoid the use of decongestants because their action is to ‘dry’ and they will dry out your larynx. Using an inhaler is great option or the steam technique mentioned above, but instead of breathing through your nose, breathe in through your mouth.

Laryngitis Relief Blend
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Scotch Pine Pinus sylvestris
  • 5 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii

19. Get Rid of Bad Breath

Halitosis can stem from several things including tobacco use and foods we eat. Gingivitis can add to it, causing embarrassment and anxiety. Thyme’s anti-inflammatory properties is great for clearing gingivitis. You won’t need your oil for this.

Thyme Hydrosol is perfect, you can swish and spit, it’s ingestible and recommended over essential oils for minor issues with children and pets. Hydrosols can be purchased at most aromatic online stores. Aromatics International is a great place to purchase quality hydrosols.

20. Immune System Stimulant

Lastly, Thyme is a great immune system stimulant and fights infectious diseases. To stimulate your immune system, try the following blend in an unscented lotion and apply daily. You can also make an inhaler to use throughout the day. An inhaler will hold 15 drops of oil.

Immune Boosting Blend
  • 5 drops Thyme Vulgaris ct. linalool
  • 5 drops Juniper Berry Juniperus communis
  • 5 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii

Was this list helpful to you? I was so surprised by all of the ways this herb-based essential oil can be used to improve our health. It has such a wonderfully herbaceous fragrance that is warm, powerful and sharp to the senses. If you haven’t tried thyme essential oil yet, I hope you will.

Was this list helpful to you? Thyme and other essential oils and aromatic care in general can play a big part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, diet and plenty of water is also very important. I hope you enjoyed my article.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this list was helpful to you. I’d love to hear about your experiences with thyme essential oil.


  1. Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed, pg. 452-3
  2. Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed, pg. 587
  3. Jean Valnet, The Aromatherapy Practitioner Manual
  4. Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed, pg. 451
  5. The Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual, Thyme Ct. linalool pg. 440