Thymol and Carvacrol
Thymol and carvacrol are natural plant chemicals with antimicrobial properties. They are found in essential oils like thyme and are used in products like Listerine.
Thymol and carvacrol are members of a class of plant chemicals known as monoterpene phenols. They have potent natural antimicrobial properties and are major components of the essential oils of thyme and oregano. These natural chemicals have long been recognized for their antibacterial uses; modern research is now verifying these properties.
Monoterpene phenols are created by plants and are major components of essential oils. They are organic (carbon-based) molecules that are made up two connected rings of carbon.
Thymol and carvacrol, two different monoterpene phenols with similar properties, are isomeric molecules. This means they have the same chemical formula (C10H14O), but different structures.
In contemporary aromatherapy, essential oils that contain carvacrol and thymol are known as natural antibacterials and antifungals.
In the late 19th century, thymol as an isolated substance was an original ingredient of the antiseptic liquid Listerine (which was first used as a surgical antiseptic).