The essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) which usually known as “oil of thyme” contains 20-54% thymol. Thymol belongs to a naturally occurring class of compounds known as “biocides”. Biocides are substances that can destroy harmful organisms. When thymus is used alongside other biocides, such as carvacrol, it has strong antimicrobial attibutes. Scientists tested thyme for its antibacterial activities in vitro toxicology against three human cancer cell lines. What they found is that thyme kills lung cancer cells, oral and ovarian cancer (i).
Thyme is a native to the Mediterranean, and was originally given the name “thyme” in Greece, they still use it in their cooking mixed with olive oil. Oil from the common herb thyme was discovered to kill up to 97% of human lung cancer cells. Recent research has shown that if you mix thyme and olive oil it will enhance the availability of hydroxytyrosol, olive oil’s most potent anti-cancer compound. Could this be the reason why Greeks have about half the rate of cancer compared to the rest of USA and the Europe. Thyme essential oil, has also been used in Ayurvedic and traditional medicine due to its strong antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal (killing yeast like Candida) properties. Also, oncologist researchers at Celal Bayar University in Turkey carried out a study to find what effect Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) might have on breast cancer cells. They looked at the effects of Wild Thyme on cell death and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms that do not involve alterations in DNA sequence. They reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer that Wild Thyme caused cell death in the breast cancer cells. The study authors concluded that Wild Thyme “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.” (ii)
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