Benefits of Red & White Thyme Oil

By Patricia | April 15, 2009
Thyme Essential Oil

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative and complimentary medicine based on the use of very concentrated essential oils extracted from different parts of a plant. These essential oils possess therapeutic properties and the aroma of the plant they come from. One such essential comes from the thyme shrub. Thyme oil is derived from the fresh or partly dried flowering tops and leaves of the shrub by steam distillation.

Thyme oil is usually extracted from the plant variety Thymus vulgaris. Two commercial varieties of thyme oil are recognized from this plant,red and white. The red thyme oil is a crude distillate and has a high oil percentage. The white thyme oil is derived by re-distilling the red oil and yields a lower oil percentage. The value of thyme oil depends a lot upon the phenols it contains.

Red thyme oil has a higher amount of phenols and is therefore more expensive. However, red thyme oil should be used with caution given the high phenol content. Overuse can easily cause skin irritations. It is a good idea to conduct a skin patch with red thyme oil and check for any allergic reactions 24 hours later. Red thyme essential oil should not be used with pregnant women or children due to its potent components. Also, when using it for aromatherapy purposes, make sure you dilute red thyme oil with a carrier oil.

Thyme oil has a number of healing benefits that make it useful for aromatherapy. The medicinal actions of thyme are attributed to its phenol content. This phenol content is in a moderate amount in white thyme oil and is thus better for use in aromatherapy.

Thyme oil is well-known for its antiseptic properties and is useful against a variety of bacterial and viral infections. The best way to use thyme oil is through a vaporizer. This way minute oil molecules dispersed from the vaporizer can easily enter the bloodstream and can be transported throughout the body. Thus, it is useful in the treatment of pulmonary, intestinal as well as urinary infections. The warming effects of this oil also aid blood circulation, thus improving oxygen and nutrient delivery to different body parts.

Adding a few drops of thyme oil to hot water and inhaling this vapour helps clear up airway passages. This is because thyme oil has an expectorant action, clearing out the mucus from the lungs and throat. Thyme oil is also known to strengthen the nervous system and has proven effective in aiding memory and concentration levels.

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