Thymol is known as an extract of the thyme plant, but it can also be found in other kinds of plants. It is a natural compound made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that is found in the oil of thyme. Thymol is responsible for the distinct flavour of the herb thyme, but it also has many other applications.
Uses of thymol
- Research suggests that thymol has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is commonly used for the treatment of fungal infections, such as tinea and ringworm. It is an active ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste to help reduce plaque and gingivitis. It is also the preservative used in the anaesthetic called halothane. There is also some evidence that thymol is effective at treating fungal nail infections.
- Thymol is also used as a safe and effective pesticide. It is also considered to be an environmentally friendly pesticide because it degrades rapidly in the environment. It is most commonly used to control the varroa mites that attack honey bees. This has the added benefit of reducing fermentation and mold within beehives.
- It has also been used to remove mold from old paper and books. The books are added to a bag with thymol crystals to kill mold spores. However, it is now believed that this process may cause further damage of these objects.
- Thymol is also listed as a minor ingredient in cigarettes.