In dusting powders for the treatment of tinea or ringworm infections, and was used in the United States to treat hookworm infections. It is also used as a preservative in halothane, an anaesthetic, and as an antiseptic in mouthwash. When used to reduce plaque and gingivitis, thymol has been found to be more effective when used in combination with chlorhexidine than when used purely by itself. Thymol is also the active antiseptic ingredient in some toothpastes, such as Euthymol.
The antifungal nature of thymol is caused by thymol’s ability to alter the hyphal morphology and cause hyphal aggregates, resulting in reduced hyphal diameters and lyses of hyphal wall. Additionally, thymol is lipophilic, enabling it to interact with the cell membrane of fungus cells, altering cell membrane permeability permitting the loss of macromolecules.
Recent medical research on rats concludes that “Thyme extract had relaxing effects on organs possessing β2-receptors (uterus and trachea).Thymol has antimicrobial activity because of its phenolic structure, and has shown antibacterial activity against bacterial strains including Aeromoans hydrophila and Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, thymol demonstrates considerable post antibacterial effect against some microorganisms. This antibacterial activity is caused by inhibiting growth and lactate production, and by decreasing cellular glucose uptake. Thymol has been used in alcohol solutions and
In a 1994 report released by five major cigarette companies, thymol was listed as one of 599 additives to cigarettes.
Thymol has been used to successfully control varroa mites and prevent fermentation and the growth of mold in bee colonies, methods developed by beekeeper R.O.B. Manley.
Thymol is also used as a rapidly degrading, non-persisting pesticide.
Derivatives of thymol and carvacrol with increased antimicrobial activities have been developed. The preparation of methacrylic and p-styrenesulfonic acid esters of thymol could lead to less toxic macromolecular biocides, which can be attached to a polymeric backbone.
A minor use of thymol is in book and paper conservation: Paper with mold damage can be sealed in bags with thymol crystals to kill fungal spores. However, this practice is not currently recommended due to apparent accelerated degradation suffered by these objects.
Thymol can also be used as a medical disinfectant and general purpose disinfectant.