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Thyme oil study reveals potent anti inflammatory properties

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

A new study shows that thyme oil can reduce inflammation. Researchers compared thyme oil to six other essential oils, finding that thyme oil has potent properties that inhibit COX-2 enzymes that promote inflammation, swelling, and pain in the body.

COX-2 inhibition is the same principle that makes medication like ibuprofen work to treat pain and swelling. Medications known as NSAID’s also inhibit the COX2 enzyme. In the study, researchers compared eucalyptus, rose, fennel and bergamot oils finding they all suppress inflammation in the say way as resveratrol in red wine and grapes. Thyme oil was the most effective of the oils; found to reduce levels of COX-2 as much as 75 percent.

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The specific anti inflammatory chemical in thyme oil, carvacrol, was also isolated. When the scientists used pure carvacrol extracts in their tests, COX-2 levels decreased by over 80 percent.

The findings that thyme oil is a potent anti inflammatory that can inhibit COX-2 enzymes could lead to the development of new drugs based on the natural compound. For the study, the researchers used commercially available oils to isolate carvacrol from thyme oil, found to be responsible for the anti inflammatory effects.

Studying essential oils is an important step forward for finding safer ways to treat illnesses. The new study shows that thyme oil has potent healing properties that could be further developed to treat pain and inflammation. Though essential oils have been used for aromatherapy, as antibacterial agents, and even for suppressing cough, scientists have not understood how they work. The study shows that thyme oil suppresses the COX2 enzyme through the same mechanism that reduces pain when we take the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medicine, ibuprofen.




I wish the study had indicated how the Thyme was taken. Orally? Inhale? Rubbed in at the spot of pain? Was a carrier oil used?? That would have been helpful information
Hi there - If you go to the study link and read, it explains the testing was done on bovine cell assays. Since there are indeed many ways to deliver thyme (aromatherapy, topically and orally), more needs to be done to determine absorption and usefulness in humans. The study identifies the anti-inflammatory properties of thyme only and was not designed to measure response in humans, dosing or delivery. I hope that clarifies. Thanks for your comment.
I have autoimmune disorders and serious digestive/intestinal issues, that I have been battling for years now. I have tried everything under the sun, and I mean that literally. But I just recently started taking thyme (leaves not oil) and just crunching on them throughout the day, because i was informed they kill intestinal parasites, etc. And I have been feeling great since doing this. Maybe its just me, but thyme is having a positive effect on my body.