New research shows that thyme oil may help combat inflammation, a process thought to play a role in the onset of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and a host of other health problems. In a recently published study, scientists found that compounds in thyme oil can suppress COX-2 (an enzyme known to promote inflammation).
In lab tests, investigators discovered that a number of essential oils (including rose and eucalyptus) oil reduced COX-2 expression in cells by at least 25 percent. But thyme oil proved even more powerful, decreasing COX-2 levels by almost 75 percent.
Used in aromatherapy and other forms of alternative medicine, essential oils are potent substances extracted from a plant's flowers, leaves, stems, buds, branches, or roots. Although its health effects have yet to be extensively studied, thyme oil has long been used to treat conditions such as cough, bronchitis, and indigestion in herbal medicine.