Thymol, is an ingredient derived from common culinary herbs like thyme and others and is known for its antimicrobial properties. Many botanical oils from herbs, including thymol, have been used for thousands of years in Roman, Greek, and Indian medicine as antiseptic agents.
Growing to a height of seven to twenty centimetres, it has woody cylindrical stems arranged in clumps or dense bushes. Its small greyish leaves are oval and lanceolate; its highly melliferous flowers blossom in spikes at the leaf axils. Wild thyme, or shepherd's thyme, possesses similar properties.
For thousands of years, humans have used thyme, that grows wild around the whole Mediterranean basin, to cure themselves and to enhance the flavour of their food. The Egyptians used it for embalming and Crete and Cyprus, laboratory islands for aromatic plants, ascribed great importance to this plant beloved by Aphrodite. The Romans used it in their toilet waters and beauty creams. A legend arose from the bitterness of thyme: it arose from the tears of the beautiful Helen, tormented by remorse for having caused the Trojan war. The fact that bees should make such a sweet honey from this bitterness impelled Plutarch to claim that, in this, they resembled "brave men able to derive benefit from their austere way of life". Taken as an infusion, thyme is one of the favourite "grandmother's medicine" remedies, used against considerable number of ailments, from indigestion to whooping cough.