Thyme is a culinary herb that has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments, including fungal infections, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, digestive problems, and sore throat. Today, thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is still used for some of these reasons, yet there is little scientific evidence to support it. Some clinical studies have shown that thymol, one of the active constituents of thyme, has antiseptic properties that can be beneficial when used to help reduce plaque and gingivitis. Some people have success when using thyme oil topically to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. In Europe, thyme is still used to treat coughs and upper respiratory tract infections.
There is limited evidence that thyme essential oil may be effective against prostate cancer cells. In a study conducted in China, researchers found that human prostate cancer cells responded better than did human lung and breast cancer cells when treated with thyme essential oil. (Zu 2010)
Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider to determine the best dose of thyme for your medical needs. Large amounts of thyme can cause upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and coma. Thyme oil is toxic if taken internally. When using it to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, you can dilute the oil with a neutral base oil such as olive or hemp oil, in a ratio of 1:1. Do not take oral thyme if you have heart or digestive problems, or if you are allergic to plants such as grass.
Zu Y et al. Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. Molecules 2010 Apr 30; 15(5): 3200-10