Thyme – Benefits, Preparation, Associations, Interactions


Thyme as a food supplement: what benefits?

Originating from the Mediterranean basin, thyme has been famous for thousands of years for its culinary, cosmetic and medicinal uses. Even today, its use is recognized to calm coughs caused by bronchitis, whooping cough and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. It also helps relieve minor digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. Depending on the pain to relieve, the recommended dose of thyme varies, so that your doctor can guide you to find the dosage that suits your dietary supplement needs. If you are a pregnant woman, breastfeeding or sensitive to birch pollen or celery, consult your doctor before starting a treatment.

Thyme dosage


Inflammation of the respiratory tract

  • Infusion. Infuse 1 g to 2 g of dried plant in 150 ml of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink several cups a day, as needed.
  • Fluid extract (1: 1, fresh leaves or 1: 4, dried leaves). Take 20 to 40 drops, diluted in water or juice, 3 times a day.
  • Tincture (1:10 70% ethanol). Take 20 to 40 drops, diluted in water or juice, 1 to 3 times a day.


Plaque, stomatitis, halitosis, laryngitis and tonsillitis

  • Mouthwash or gargle. Infuse 5 g of dried plant in 100 ml of boiling water for 10 minutes. Rinse your mouth or gargle with the filtered and cooled preparation, 2 to 3 times a day. You can also dilute a few drops of liquid extract in water.

Minor skin sores and irritations

  • Compresses. Use the same infusion as described above for mouthwash or gargle and apply as needed to affected areas.
Expert tip. To clear the respiratory tracts, nothing like the thyme, according to Jean-Louis Brazier, pharmacologist and full professor at the University of Montreal.

Immerse 2 tsp. thyme in a bowl of boiling water. Tilt your head over the bowl. Cover yourself with a towel. Breathe very slowly at first, vapors being important. A few minutes are enough.

Thyme, like eucalyptus, contains terpenes which have an expectorant effect. This advice is taken from our My Pharmacy folder.

Thyme research


  • Thyme and primrose root. In an open study (participants knew what they were taking), more than 7,000 patients with acute bronchitis tested syrup (Bronchipret®) made from extracts of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and of primrose root (Primulae radix). It has been shown to be at least as effective as N-acetylcysteine ​​and ambroxol, two drugs that thin bronchial secretions. It also caused fewer side effects.

It should be noted that the primrose root, alone or associated with thyme, is recognized by the German Commission E for the treatment of inflammation of the respiratory tract.

  • Thyme and climbing ivy. Two clinical trials have shown that Bronchipret Saft® and Weleda Hustenelixier® syrups are effective in relieving cough. Made in Germany, they are made from an extract of thyme and an extract of climbing ivy leaves (Hedera helix). Furthermore, the efficacy and safety of the Bronchipret product (as a 10-day treatment) has been confirmed by a pharmacovigilance study (see note below) carried out on a thousand children and adolescents.

The climbing ivy, which is the main ingredient of these syrups, is recognized by the Commission E to relieve in itself the inflammation of the respiratory tract, in particular the chronic bronchitis.

Note. The main objective of a pharmacovigilance study is to list the possible undesirable effects and not the therapeutic effects of a substance. The therapeutic results reported in this study do not therefore constitute, in themselves, proof, but rather an index of the effectiveness of this syrup based on thyme and climbing ivy to treat bronchitis.
  • Plaque. The only clinical studies available to assess the efficacy of thyme in terms of oral hygiene, numerous clinical trials have been conducted on a popular mouthwash (Listerine®). This mouthwash contains eucalyptol (extract of eucalyptus), thymol (extract of thyme) and menthol (extract of peppermint). The effectiveness of this product to fight dental plaque and the bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis is believed to be due, in particular, to the action of thymol.
  • Recognized and traditional uses. Researchers have not done any tests to determine the effectiveness of thyme alone. However, long uninterrupted clinical practice as well as the converging opinions of many respected experts have resulted in the recognition of some of the traditional medicinal uses of thyme.

Thus, the German Commission E recognizes the effectiveness of thyme in the treatment of symptoms of bronchitis, whooping cough and inflammation of the respiratory tract. In addition to these uses, ESCOP recognizes its usefulness for the treatment of inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums (stomatitis) and chronic bad breath (halitosis). As for the World Health Organization, it underlines that in addition to these uses, the European pharmacopoeias mention thyme to treat dyspepsia and other gastrointestinal disorders, laryngitis and tonsillitis (in gargling) , as well as minor skin injuries.

Various. According to the results of a double-blind placebo study, a mixture of essential oils rosemary (psn), lavender, thyme and cedar nuts could be helpful for people with alopecia areata. The “recipe” used during this study is as follows: 3 drops of rosemary, 2 drops of thyme, 3 drops of lavender, 2 drops of cedar nuts and 3 ml of jojoba oil, all added to 20 ml grapeseed oil.

In aromatherapy, the essential oil of thyme (Thymus vulgaris CT thujanol and Satureoid thymus, especially) has many uses, including the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections. To be used under the supervision of a duly trained aromatherapist (see Precautions section below).



  • Avoid thyme in case of allergy to plants of the labiate family (mint family).
  • People sensitive to birch pollen or celery may suffer from cross sensitivity to thyme.
  • Although widespread use has not caused any adverse effects during pregnancy or breastfeeding over several millennia, some sources recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid extracts and concentrates of thyme.
  • Never take Essential oil thyme orally, except under the supervision of a competent aromatherapist, because beyond a certain dosage, this oil can be toxic, according to tests in vitro and on animals.
  • Never apply thyme essential oil to the skin without diluting it and preferably choose a gentle oil with linalool, geraniol or terpineol (compounds of “yellow” thyme, as opposed to those of “red” thyme or thymol which are more corrosive to the skin). Dilute in vegetable oil (maximum 5% essential oil).


Side effects

  • The rare side effects reported are mainly of an allergic nature. Heartburn and gastrointestinal irritation have occasionally been observed.


With plants or supplements

With medication

  • Pro or antithyroid agents. Based on a test on rats, thyme could theoretically decrease the impact of thyroid hormone replacement therapy or exacerbate the effect of antithyroid drugs.


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