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How Thyme essential oil can boost the immune system
Posted on September 04 2020,
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct thymol) is well-known in the culinary industry as a spice used to add flavor and a bit of spice to many foods. It’s also used widely in the fields of aromatherapy and herbalism for its therapeutic properties, most notably helping to build the body’s immune system and helping the body to fight off a variety of bacteria and viruses.
In aromatherapy, thyme is a pale-yellow essential oil that is of medium viscosity with a slightly oily feel to it. It has a medium to strong aroma that has an herby, fresh aroma to it with slightly medicinal overtones. In the perfume industry, it’s known as a middle note.
Thyme is widely grown in Mediterranean environments, especially very close to the Mediterranean sea. There are over 300 different types of thyme, with 6 different essential oil/herb chemotypes. The essential oil from thyme plants is steam-distilled using either the fully or partially dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant.
In ancient times, thyme was seen as a plant associated with bravery and courage. Soldiers are said to have bathed in the aromatic plant matter before entering into battle and thyme was very commonly woven into scarves or other clothing of soldiers preparing for battle. Beginning in the Middle Ages, thyme started to be used to help fight against the plague, and in Britain, royals and the elite carried the herb with them to protect them against sickness when they were out amongst the public. During times of war, thyme was used to medicate surgical dressings to help keep infections at bay.
Along with a couple of other essential oils, thyme was used as a disinfectant and antiseptic in hospitals right up until the time of World War 1. It was known throughout the medical community to be able to kill many different types of organisms and was said to be much stronger in action than many of the commercially available disinfectants of the time.
After World War 1 many modern-day pharmaceuticals started to become available, leading many doctors across the world to turn their backs on proven natural remedies and preferring using the new pharmaceuticals. Luckily, in more recent days, we’ve seen people coming back to the time-tested and true natural remedies that we know and love.
Today, thyme is still seen as a powerful oil when it comes to protecting against or healing from sickness. A large part of this is due to the thymol within the oil. Thymol is the main active constituent in this type of thyme and is a powerful antiseptic. This powerful antiseptic activity makes thyme oil a great oil to help prevent many pathological disorders and diseases.
Thyme essential oil is said to boost the immune system to help fight off all kinds of infections. It’s known to stimulate the production of white blood cells within the body, which in turn strengthens the body’s own ability to fight off disease. Thyme has been said to be especially useful in circumstances where there have been multiple infections – such as recurring sinus infection.
Thyme essential oil has been studied for its effectiveness against different viruses. One study talked about testing thyme oil against the Herpes Simplex virus and the flu virus. The study found that thyme was effective in inhibiting the virus.
Thyme oil is also quite beneficial in helping to fight against bacteria. A clinical study on thyme essential oil posted on PubMed looked to see how the essential oil’s antimicrobial properties worked against bacterium such as Staph, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas bacterial infections showed that thyme essential oil was able to greatly inhibit bacterial growth of the strains that were tested. The people conducting this study went on to say that it is reasonable to use thyme oil for the prevention and treatment of different human infections.
Now that we know how potent thyme essential oil is in fighting off pathogens and boosting the immune system, how can you use it to get these effects?
- Create a personal inhaler with Thyme Essential oil – take a small whiff a couple of times a day, especially when around those who are sick or being out in the public. You can increase your use of the inhaler if you should become ill yourself.
- Create a steamer by adding a couple of drops of Thyme essential oil to a steaming mug of water. Hold the mug under your nose and take deep breaths until the water cools down. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to recover from a sickness.
- Diffuse a drop or 2 of thyme essential oil – be sure to only diffuse 15 to 30 minutes at a time – add in other, gentler essential oils to help tone down the pungent smell of the thyme.
- Create a lotion or rollerball remedy with thyme in it to help boost immunity and protect yourself from viruses – be sure to follow proper dilution guidelines as thyme is considered a hot oil and could cause skin sensitivities if not diluted.
Thyme essential oil needs to be used with respect and caution as it is a very strong essential oil and carries the risk of irritating sensitive mucous membranes. This oil should not be used in a bath as the risk of irritation or sensitivity increases exponentially when used this way. It could also potentially slow down the clotting process of blood, so special care should be taken by anyone on any type of anticoagulant therapy. Of course, if you’re on any medications or you’re working with a doctor for any medical issues, it’s good practice to check with your doctor before using thyme or any other essential oil.
Like most essential oils, thyme also has many other uses than boosting immunity and helping to fight sickness. Some of these other uses include easing discomfort associated with arthritis and muscle aches, soothing insect bites, cleaning and protecting skin scrapes and cuts, soothing sore throats, and helping to fight head lice. Thyme essential oil is also known to help regulate oil regulation of the skin and can help prevent oily skin.
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