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Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: Thyme - Topical

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Date: 2008-02-12


Thymus vulgaris (USDA 2008)

Proper Name(s)

Thymus vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae) ( USDA 2008 )

Common Name(s)

Source Material

Route Of Administration

Topical ( Mills and Bone 2005 , Blumenthal et al. 2000 )

Dosage Form(s)

Those suited to the allowable route(s) of administration.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine as an antiseptic and/or antimicrobial to help treat minor wounds and sores  (Bradley 2006, McIntyre 2005, Hoffmann 2003, Blumenthal et al. 2000, Bove 1996)


Adults, adolescents and children 1 year and older:

Preparation: Dry, Powder, Decoction & Infusion + All Non-Standardised Extracts

Dose(s): 11 Grams , dried leaf and flowering top
Directions For Use: Apply as a compress to affected area as needed

See Appendix 1 for examples of appropriate dosage preparations and frequencies of use, according to cited references. The purpose of Appendix 1 is to provide guidance to industry.

Duration of use

No statement is required

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Caution(s) and Warning(s):
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist.
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms worsen.

No statement is required

Known Adverse Reaction(s):
No statement is required

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the NHPD Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database (NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient may comply with the specifications outlined in the Thyme Monographs published in the European or British Pharmacopoeias.

References cited

  • Berardi RR, DeSimone EM, Newton GD, Oszko MA, Popovich NG, Rollins CJ, Shimp LA, Tietze KJ, editors. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: An Interactive Approach to Self-Care, 13th edition. Washington (DC): American Pharmaceutical Association; 2002.
  • Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
  • Bove M. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. New Canaan (CT): Keats Publishing, Incorporated; 1996
  • Bradley PR, editor. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 2. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association; 2006.
  • EMEA 2007: European Medicines Agency. London (UK): European Medicines Agency; 2007. [Accessed 2007-07-31]. Available from:
  • ESCOP 2003: ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products, 2nd edition. Exeter (UK): European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy and Thieme; 2003.
  • Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
  • McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. 2000. Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition. Austin(TX): American Herbal Products Association.
  • McIntyre A. Herbal Treatment of Children - Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives. Toronto (ON): Elsevier Limited; 2005.
  • Mills S, Bone K. 2005. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis (MO): Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  • USDA 2008: ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville (MD). [Accessed 2008-01-21]. Available at
  • WHO 1999: World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants, Volume 1. Geneva (CH): World Health Organization; 1999.
  • Wiersema J, León B. 1999. World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press LLC.

References reviewed

  • Basch E, Ulbricht C, Hammerness P, Bevins A, Sollars D. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), thymol. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy 2004;4(1):49-67.
  • BHP 1983: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Cowling (GB): British Herbal Medical Association; 1983.
  • Brinker F. 2001. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications.
  • Brinker F. The Toxicity of Botanical Medicines. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; 2000.
  • Gruenwald J, Graubaum HJ, Busch R. Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of thyme and primrose root in patients with acute bronchitis. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arzneimittel-Forschung 2005;55(11):669-676.
  • Gruenwald J, Graubaum HJ, Busch R. Evaluation of the non-inferiority of a fixed combination of thyme fluid- and primrose root extract in comparison to a fixed combination of thyme fluid extract and primrose root tincture in patients with acute bronchitis. A single-blind, randomized, bi-centric clinical trial. Arzneimittel-Forschung 2006;56(8):574-581.
  • Kemmerich B, Eberhardt R, Stammer H. Efficacy and tolerability of a fluid extract combination of thyme herb and ivy leaves and matched placebo in adults suffering from acute bronchitis with productive cough. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arzneimittel-Forschung 2006;56(9):652-660.
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, editors. 1997. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press.
  • Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone.
  • Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics: Handbook for Physicians and Pharmacists. Stuttgart (D): Medpharm Scientific Publishers; 1997.
  • Wichtl M, editor. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis, 3rd edition. Stuttgart (D): Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers; 2004.

Appendix 1: Examples of appropriate dosage preparations, frequencies of use and directions for use


Adults, adolescents and children 1 year and older:


11 g dried leaf and flowering top (Bradley 2006; Blumenthal et al. 2000)

Directions for use: Pour 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water on dried leaf and flowering top and steep for 10 minutes (Hoffmann 2003; Blumenthal et al. 2000). Apply as a compress to affected area as needed.