Can Thyme Be The Acne Cure-All? Thyme and Acne

We are always on the look-out for the latest natural and practical solutions to get clear and healthy skin.

As we get smarter about herbs and foods that may improve our skin (and those that may be bad for it), we need to treat news headlines with a grain of salt.

Thyme - a popular herb found in gardens, stores and traditional medicinal products and experientially known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties - made recent headlines as a possible acne treatment. Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K. steeped thyme, marigold, and myrrh in alcohol to make what's called a tincture, and then tested them on the bacteria that cause acne break-downs. They all had greater antibacterial effect after five minutes compared to those exposed to plain alcohol, but thyme was the most potent.

In fact, the thyme tincture was more powerful than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in many acne products. The new findings were presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin.

Does this mean we should immediately run out to the nearest grocery store to buy ingredients to make thyme tincture?


It is true that treatments containing benzoyl peroxide may have been associated with such side effects as a burning sensation, skin irritation and even premature aging, and thyme preparation may be less harsh on the skin. Neither one of them however addresses the real cause of acne, which is overactive sebaceous glands that can ONLY be balanced from the inside. So, if we are one day to use thyme as an acne weapon it will be as an adjunct therapy, not a primary one.

In addition, like with many other non-standardized treatments, there is no reliable data yet on how much thyme one should use, and how often and how this tincture should be prepared. For now, unless you want to ask the compounding pharmacist to develop thyme based tincture especially for you and to check for yourself if it is a friend or a foe, save thyme for cooking and look into standardized botanical medicinal products to solve your acne problem.

Dr Agnes Olszewski natural health expert

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«My work in China in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, and my personal experience while growing up in Europe, inspired me to develop Herborium®, a novel Botanical Therapeutics® company, based on a new, innovative healthcare concept that combines science and nature. Our approach has already been proven up to 95%effective in our acne treatment, AcnEase®. Not only do I focus on developing botanical based medicinal products that are helpful in treatment, prevention and
management of different heath conditions, but also on educating the public about
the values and dangers of natural medicine.»


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