Thymol is a natural plant chemical with antimicrobial properties. It is an important component in essential oils like thyme oil and oregano essential oil and is useful in products like Listerine. Thymol is a member of a class of plant chemicals known as monoterpene phenols. It has natural antimicrobial properties and is a major component of the essential oils of thyme and oregano. This natural chemical has long been known for its antibacterial uses; in modern research these properties are verifiable. According to Lloyd and Wickes (1999-2010), thymol was first discovered by Caspar Neumann in 1719, then purification and naming done by M. Lallemand in 1853. It is included in the natural essential oils of thymol-type thyme (Thymus spp.) and the Monarda genus (bee balm, horsemint, etc.), as well as some other plants.
Thyme oil and Thymol
Thyme has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times. It is crucial today because of its use as a natural antibiotic — or, more accurately, an antimicrobial. Growing evidence supports what aroma therapists have already been teaching: thyme essential oil, which is distilled from the leaves of the plant, has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-protozoal properties.
Thyme oil is not only used to flavor foods, but is also added to soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, perfumes, and antiseptic ointments. In aromatherapy it is used to relieve pain and elevate mood. Additionally, it has a calming effect in stress-related conditions. Bathing with thyme has been known to help relieve aches and joint pains.
The dried fresh leaves of thyme as well as the flowering tops are widely used to flavor soups, stews, baked or sautéed vegetables, casseroles, and custards. In slowly cooked dishes, thyme provides a tangy flavor. Unlike some other herbs it does not lose its flavor during cooking and smells like camphor. The leaves are also useful in potpourris and moth-repellent sachets.
Thyme oil is rich in thymol, a very powerful, antibacterial, antiseptic, and strong antioxidant. Thyme oil has a wide usage range; it is used in treating throat infections and as a mouthwash for inflammations that usually occur. It is also used as a component of cough drops.
Because of its essential oil, thyme possesses bronchial antispasmodic properties as an expectorant, which makes it useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis as well as inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and whooping cough. Thymol contributes to the action of the cilia in the bronchi and has direct effect actions on the bronchial mucosa. The flavanoids found in thyme contribute to the spasmolytic effect on bronchioles and the terpenoids are responsible for the expectorant activity.
Thyme is safe to use and has no known side effects. However, the presence of thymol in the essential oil of thyme may be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes, and may cause an allergic reaction. Some varieties of thyme produce a stronger reaction than others. Medicinal doses of thyme and especially thyme oil are not recommended during pregnancy as thyme can act as a uterine stimulant which might affect the pregnancy.
Oregano essential oil benefits
Oregano essential oil has come to be known as one of the more potent essential oils due to its strong antiviral benefits. Its effectiveness is attributed to the high levels of thymol found to be naturally occurring within. The chemicals in the oil produce antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that have the capacity to destroy the free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells. Canker sores, acne, and nail fungus start disappearing when the oregano oil used in health spa treatments is blended with other components and used internally and externally. Gum disease, asthma, and skin infections show changes when oregano oil is used, which has given some people in the medical field a second thought.
There is a new research which has shown that thymol and oreganol can clear up some infections related to HIV/AIDS and also inhibit cancerous cell growth. There are high expectations with the ongoing research that oregano essential oil is not only a health spa oil but also has some high medical usage. It has more than massaging or bathing ability as an essential oil.