How to Make and Use Thyme Oil (Step By Step With Pictures)

Thyme is a powerful herb that has many medicinal benefits. Although you may be more familiar with using it as a flavoring for stews, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, it has a range of internal and external uses that make it ideal for survivalists. 

Thyme has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can heal wounds, repel insects, and treat tooth decay. 

Not only is thyme oil easy to make, but it also has a long shelf-life, lasting up to a year if kept in a cool, dry place.  

How to Make Thyme-Infused Oil

You can make thyme-infused oil simply and quickly, making it a suitable alternative to essential oil. 

While essential oils are more potent and suitable for internal and external use, infused herbal oils also have their place in the survivalist’s first aid kit. 

Thyme oil is an effective treatment for external parasites, such as lice, crabs, and scabies. You can also use it to reduce inflammation and repel bugs. 

Thyme oil is also effective against bacterial infections and can reduce the irritation and swelling associated with skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

Internally, it can be used to treat coughs and sore throats and eliminate intestinal parasites. 

Step One: Getting Started

To make a thyme oil infusion, you’ll need:

  • Fresh thyme leaves and flowers
  • Oil –  a light oil is best for thyme, as it makes it suitable for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Thicker oils tend to clog the pores, reducing their efficiency at treating skin conditions. Either olive oil or coconut oil is ideal.
  • A clean glass jar with an airtight lid
  • Saucepan
  • Tea strainer 
  • Labels

Step Two: Harvest and Crush Thyme 

There are many varieties of thyme, the most common of which is Thymus vulgaris or garden thyme. As an evergreen plant, thyme can be harvested at any point during the year, although it’s at its most potent in early summer, just before flowering.

Harvest thyme early in the morning after any residual dew has dried. I find using scissors is the easiest way to harvest this delicate herb, as picking it with your hands can damage the plant.

Harvest Thyme
Harvesting Thyme

Cut sprigs of thyme roughly five to six inches long, if you can. My thyme plants are still quite small, so I made do with slightly shorter ones. 

Experts recommend that you don’t wash the thyme before use as this can remove some of the essential oils.

Once you’ve got a good handful of thyme, you can start processing the herb. 

Handful of Thyme 
I used garden thyme

To do this, you need to crush it lightly using a pestle and mortar. This process helps to release and activate the oils in the plant, making your oil more potent. 

Crush Thyme with a Pestle and Mortar
Crush to release the essential oils

Step Three: Combine Herbs and Oil 

Place the crushed thyme in a saucepan and add one cup of oil.

crushed thyme in a saucepan
Combine with oil

Heat the mixture gently until you see bubbles starting to form.

Heat oil for five minutes 
Heat gently

After five minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool.

Once the oil is cool, strain it into a clean jar using a tea strainer or similar utensil. 

Strain oil using a tea strainer 

Label your thyme oil before storing it in a cool place out of direct sunlight.   

Label jar
Label and store

Thyme Oil Uses and Benefits 

Thyme-infused oil can be used externally for the following: 

#1 Treat and Prevent Bacterial Infections 

Cuts and minor wounds are an inevitable part of life and are usually harmless if a little painful. Once infected, however, even a minor wound can become potentially fatal. 

Research shows that thyme oil is highly effective at treating bacterial infections. In one study, researchers tested thyme oil against 120 strains of bacteria, finding it to have strong activity against all of them, particularly antibiotic-resistant strains. 

Not only does thyme oil kill bacteria, but it can also inhibit its growth, making it an effective treatment for intestinal infections and bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract. 

#2 Heal Burns and Wounds 

Thyme is an “antibacterial and wound healing promoting agent” that can be used instead of antibiotic cream. Not only will it prevent infection, but it will also encourage the wound to heal faster. Thyme also has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory qualities, making it excellent for healing burns. 

#3 Treat Fungal Infections 

Thyme oil has proved to be highly effective against stubborn fungal infections of both fingernails and toenails. These infections can be painful and difficult to treat. 

It’s also proved effective against athlete’s foot and other similar infections. 

#4 Cure Skin Problems 

Applied directly to the skin, thyme oil can help alleviate the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions. It can ease both the irritation and inflammation associated with such conditions.

#5 Relieve Joint and Muscle Pain

Thyme oil can be used topically to ease muscle pain, tension, and inflammation. You can also use it on bumps, bruises, aching joints, and sore muscles. 

#6 Repel Insects 

Thyme oil is one of the most effective natural insect repellents around. It can provide up to around 3.5 hours of protection against mosquitos and other biting insects. 

You can also use thyme oil to keep insects out of your camp kitchen and tent. Apply a few drops of thyme oil to any surface to repel moths and beetles. 

#7 Soothe Insect Bites 

Not only does thyme oil repel biting insects, but it also helps to soothe any bites that do manage to sneak through. In addition to calming the bite by removing the swelling and irritation, thyme oil also reduces the risk of infection.

#8 Cleanse the Skin 

Thyme oil can be used as a cleanser to prevent acne and reduce inflammation.

#9 Soothe Menstruation Pain and Heal Fibroids 

Massaged into the abdomen, thyme oil increases the body’s progesterone levels, making it effective as a natural fibroid treatment.

#10 Kill Parasites

Thyme oil is an effective remedy for crabs, lice, and scabies. Apply the oil liberally to the affected area and leave for one hour before washing off. 

Thyme oil can be used internally to treat:

  • Epileptic seizures
  • Coughs and sore throats
  • Tooth decay and gum disease 
  • Worms and internal parasites 

It can also boost the immune system. 

How To Use Thyme Oil

This thyme-infused oil is safe to use internally and externally, although it can cause a drop in blood pressure if taken in excess. Some people are also allergic to thyme oil and can develop diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting if they take it internally. 

Although this thyme-infused oil isn’t as concentrated as an essential oil, it still packs quite a punch. If you take it internally, a safer approach would be to use fresh thyme to make a mild thyme infusion or tea. 

If you decide to take this oil internally, start with a small dose of just a few drops and monitor your reaction. If you have no unpleasant side effects, you can gradually increase the dosage as necessary.

Thyme-infused oil can be applied directly to wounds, burns, cuts, and scratches to prevent infection and promote healing. It can also be used as a massage oil to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. 


Thyme-infused oil helps to rid the body of infections and parasites. It repels insects, soothes bites, cleanses the skin, reduces inflammation, and relieves pain. 

Like many herbal oils, it’s safe to use internally and externally, although only in moderation. When added to food, it also acts as a preservative and prevents bacteria from forming.

Further Reading

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