Thyme is a herb that has been in use as a medicinal and culinary herb since ancient times. It was used during the Great Plague of Europe to protect people.
It is a plant that is chemically diverse and it is possible to obtain several different types of essential oils from this plant, depending upon geography, climate, altitude, and growing conditions. The chemical content of the essential oil will vary so it is crucial to establish which type of essential oil you have before using it. Red thyme, in general, is more aggressive in nature than white thyme.
Red thyme essential oil is a top note essential oil. It has a spicy, herbaceous aroma in comparison to the sweeter, greener aroma of white thyme essential oil. Red-thyme essentiial oil is usually a red-brown color.
Common English Name: (Red)thyme.
Botanical Name: Thymus vulgaris.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae.
Method of Extraction: Steam distillation of the flowers and leaves.
Origin: Indigenous to the Mediterranean region but it is now cultivated worldwide.
Plant Description: A small, perennial, evergreen herb with small, oval, green leaves and white or purple flowers.
Main Chemical Components: It depends upon chemotype.*
Uses: Soothing to the skin, soothing to the soul, uneven skin, damaged skin, dry skin, helps to relax, moisturizes the skin, promotes restful sleep.
Fun Fact: The name thyme is derived from the Greek work thymos meaning to perfume.
Cautions for Use: Avoid use in pregnancy. Avoid use with high blood pressure. Avoid using with babies and young children. Chemotype which is high in phenol content may cause skin sensitivity.
* Red thyme is sometimes referred to botanically as Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol and/or Thymus vulgaris ct. carvacrol. However, this can be confusing. There are many different chemotypes of thyme and you need to know the main chemical component of each one to understand which type of thyme oil you have.