Did you know it’s not possible to buy plain “thyme” oil? That’s because the thyme plant can produce different variations of its essential oil. These are called essential oil chemotypes.

Two thyme plants can have the exact same genus and species—Thymus vulgaris—yet produce dramatically different essential oils. (Nature is amazing!)

What are essential oil chemotypes?

Have you ever seen the letters “ct” on your essential oil label and wondered what it means?

These two little letters have a dramatic impact on your blends!

When a plant produces variations in its essential oil—as thyme does—the letters “ct” tell you which chemical type of the oil you have, also known as its “chemotype.”

Factors such as moisture, temperature, the region the plants grow in, and the amount of sunlight they get all affect the type of oil that thyme produces. Each type contains a different cocktail of natural chemical components. These components are the molecules that literally make up thyme oil. You can think of them as the oil’s “ingredients.”

Essential oil chemotypes infographic

How do we know what components are present in an essential oil? A GC/MS test tells us!

GC/MS stands for “Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry.” It’s a laboratory test. You can think of it like purity testing. Not only does a GC/MS test verify an oil’s purity, it also identifies the individual components present in the oil.

When we look at the list of components for a bottle of thyme oil, we can see which are more prevalent. This tells us which chemotype of thyme is in the bottle.

Thymus vulgaris actually produces six common chemotypes: oils rich in thymol, linalool, carvacrol, geraniol, a-terpineol, and thuyanol.

In this post, we’ll explore two of the most popular: thymol and linalool

Chemistry: thymol vs linalool!

Thymol vs linalool

Thymol is a super-strong, potent component. It has powerful actions (especially against germs), but can irritate skin and mucous membranes.

Linalool is an ultra-gentle component. It can relax the mind, calm stress, and soothe your entire system holistically.

Thymus vulgaris ct thymol

An oil's chemotype is noted in its Latin name

While both chemotypes of thyme are useful for reducing germs (and fungi) and for boosting immunity, thyme ct thymol is more appropriate for acute, short-term use.

The component thymol can be harsh on skin and mucous membranes. Use thyme ct thymol sparingly in topical blends and inhalers. We suggest a 1% dilution (5 to 6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz/30 ml of carrier). The thymol content adds a robust kick to short-term blends for issues like strengthening immunity during cold season, or soothing itchy feet.

If you don’t have an acute, urgent need for thyme ct thymol’s strength, you can use it in plenty of blends where its potent touch won’t irritate sensitive skin or noses.

Try it in blends for natural cleaning, diffuser blends to purify your indoor air, and mists to support your breath.

Use thyme ct thymol oil to:

  • Clean your home naturally
  • Purify indoor air
  • Massage achy muscles & joints
  • Boost immunity
  • Open your breath

Thyme ct Thymol Oil (Thymus vulgaris ct thymol)

Thyme ct. thymol essential oil has a warm herbal aroma that’s sharper than the linalool chemotype of thyme. This emboldening oil can help restore the body’s strength and health, activating an indomitable will that can accomplish anything. Like the other chemotypes of thyme, it has no patience for germs—however, this variety is so potent that it should be diluted well in topical blends. Our certified organic thyme ct. thymol essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and leaves of herbs grown in rural, sunny Spanish fields.

Thymus vulgaris ct linalool

thyme linalool latin name on label

Thyme ct linalool is the gentler chemotype of the two thyme oils. It’s still an excellent purifying oil, and is appropriate for long-term use.

Linalool is famous for soothing skin, so there’s less concern of irritation with this chemotype. Thyme ct linalool is ideal for acne care, and for comforting small cuts or scrapes (after washing them with soap and water). Linalool is also one of the main components in lavender (and several other relaxing oils), and it makes thyme ct linalool a softer, comforting choice when you’re not in need of acute support.

Choose thyme ct linalool for purifying topical blends, such as immune-boosting hand lotion, or for personal inhalers that won’t irritate the inside of your nose. It’s also helpful in blends to calm stress.

Use thyme ct linalool oil to:

  • Purify acne-prone skin
  • Soothe anxious feelings
  • Comfort sore, damaged skin
  • Boost immunity
  • Open your breath

Thyme ct Linalool Oil (Thymus vulgaris ct linalool)

Herbal, fresh, and sweet, thyme ct. linalool’s aroma is softer and woodier than thyme ct. thymol. With its soothing scent and gentle touch, this variety of thyme can help cleanse germs while treating skin and mucous membranes tenderly. “Linalool” is a component that helps make lavender relaxing, so turn to thyme ct. linalool to inspire a calm heart as it secures your health. Our certified organic thyme ct. linalool essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and leaves of herbs cultivated in bright, sunny fields in the Spanish countryside.

Thyme ct linalool recipes

Pay Attention to the Details!
In an oil’s Latin name, its chemotype is shown with the letters “ct.” This is why it's important to purchase your oils from a company that shares information like Latin name with you.

Learn more about essential oils

Thyme ct thymol is one of our top 10 essential oils for natural cleaning!

See the full list—and get a complete guide to cleaning your entire home without harmful chemicals—in Going green at home: natural cleaning with essential oils. You’ll learn why green cleaning is important for your family’s health, how to be safe while making and using your own products, and recipes you can start making today. Read the guide online or download it and print it out.


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March 11, 2021 — Karen Williams