Thymol extract from the thyme plant was used thousands of years ago by the ancient Egyptians as a preparation to help preserve mummies. This extract of thyme has now been shown to wipe out fungi and bacteria. Clergyman and pharmacist Caspar Neumann discovered the crystalline thymol in 1719. It was synthesised in its pure form some 134 years later by chemist M. Lallemand. These days thymol is used for a number of purposes including control of parasites and prevention of mould growth.
Use Thymol as an Antiseptic
Thymol, usually combined with glycerine and alcohol, is used to make a mouthwash. Though thymol is very acrid, it is usually so diluted that it cools and disinfects the mouth while leaving only a mild taste of thyme. It has been shown to be effective to reduce plaque formation, caries and gingivitis. You can make your own mouthwash by infusing 1 cup of alcohol with 2 tbsp powdered sage, adding 1 cup of distilled water and 2 tsp lemon juice, then straining until clear.
For use as an antiseptic for sterilising surfaces and topical application, you will need an oil solution of 1:1,000.
Use Thymol as an Expectorant and Cough Medication
This extract of thyme, known for its expectorant properties and antispasmodic abilities, is a favourite for herbal cough medicines. A steam inhaler with a few drops of thyme oil is an effective way to treat sinus infections, bronchial disorders and soothe throat pain. This treatment may be repeated four times daily until symptoms are relieved. Thymol is known to have expectorant and cough suppressant properties and may be found in a number of cough medications. Throughout Europe, a tea made of thyme has been used for centuries to treat whooping cough.
Use Thymol to Treat Nail Fungus Infection
Because thymol has natural antibacterial properties, it has been found to be effective for treating yeast and bacterial infections of the finger- and toenail. You do not need to go to the trouble of making the preparation yourself as it is currently available as a mixture of 4 per cent thymol in alcohol known as Amoress Thymola. The recommended application is twice daily to infected nails until the nail grows out.
Thyme and its extracts should not be used by pregnant or nursing women because of its action as a uterine stimulant. Neither should it be used in higher than the suggested dosages or for prolonged periods of time as it may cause irritation to the digestive system, dizziness, headaches and coma. Avoid using thyme and its extracts if you suffer from epilepsy, seizure disorders or heart problems. Also avoid use if you are allergic to other herbs of the mint family such as spearmint, peppermint, basil, marjoram and sage.