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Thyme proves promising in treating acne

Leeds, England — A British study suggests that herbal preparations of thyme may be more effective in treating skin acne than prescription creams.

Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium that causes acne, and found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes of exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three. Investigators also found that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams.

Medical News Today quotes lead author Margarita Gomez-Escalada, Ph.D., as saying, “While thyme, marigold and myrrh are common herbal alternatives to standard antibacterial skin washes, this is the first study to demonstrate the effect they have on the bacterium that causes the infection leading to acne.”

Dr. Gomez-Escalada noted that side effects — most commonly, a burning sensation and skin irritation — are associated with benzoyl peroxide treatments. “Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties, while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments,” she said.

Dr. Gomez-Escalada said further tests are needed. “If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments,” she said.

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