4 Common Side Effects Of Thyme Oil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Thyme oil has many benefits but due to its potent nature, there are also certain side effects such as skin irritation, allergic reactions, and risks during pregnancy. However, if you have spoken to your doctor and you are using this oil responsibly, the health benefits far outweigh the risks.

People who use thyme oil are often suffering from hormonal imbalances, irregular periods, high toxicity, stress, anxiety, mood swings, low energy, poor circulation, anemia, low immunity, arthritis, gout, and headaches, among others.

What is Thyme Oil?

Thyme oil is extracted from the leaves of the thyme plant through a process of steam distillation. Scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, thyme is one of the most popular and widely accessible herbs in the world, and is commonly found in culinary and medicinal applications around the world. However, thyme oil has also been a popular natural remedy for thousands of years, dating back to its roots in the Mediterranean region.

Thyme essential oil bottle and thyme blossoms on a wooden counter

Thyme oil has anti-fungal properties and is often to relieve eczema. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Thyme comes in more than 300 different varieties, but they are very difficult to tell apart. As a result, thyme oil in various regions may vary in terms of its concentration of various chemical compounds. Thymol is the active ingredient, and arguably most important element found in thyme oil, but there are also significant amounts of linalool, borneol, carvacrol, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene and other antioxidant components. [1]

Side Effects of Thyme Oil

There are limited side effects of using thyme oil, but they include possible stomach upset and allergic reactions, skin inflammation, and potential issues with pregnancy. It is always wise to speak with a doctor about your particular health condition before adding a powerful natural remedy to your health regimen.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies to thyme are not uncommon, and people who are allergic to other plants in the Lamiaceae family, such as basil, rosemary, sage, and lavender, may also be sensitive to thyme oil. This can manifest in stomach upset, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, when consumed. Inflammatory reactions on the skin are also possible if you are allergic to this oil.

Skin Irritation

Many people with sensitive skin have negative reactions when powerful, undiluted natural oils are applied to the skin. This could show up as redness, itchiness, rashes or hives, particularly when you don’t dilute the oil with a carrier oil. Apply a small amount to your skin first and see if any reaction occurs, before applying it to a larger area of your body.


One of the known effects of thyme oil is to stimulate menstruation and regulate the period. For women who are pregnant, this could be dangerous for the fetus and possibly trigger a miscarriage or premature labor. Therefore, this oil is not recommended for pregnant women, except in aromatherapy, and even then, only with a doctor’s permission.

Blood Pressure

Thyme oil can help increase circulation, which often elevates blood pressure, making it a poor choice for someone who is already dealing with hypertension.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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