Antifungal Properties of Fennel and Thyme
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Saied Kianbakht
Posted on: March 3, 2002

I would like to know whether Foeniculum vulgare (fennel seeds) or Thymus vulgaris (thyme) have proven antifungal effects, and if they have, on which fungi?

Both fennel and thyme have antimicrobial properties, including antifungal effects, according to "Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available from Richters). Bartram does not give a list of fungi that are affected by but other references say that thyme is effective against ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush and other fungal infections.

According to a study reported in 1997, thyme oil was "extremely effective as a fumigant, as well as a contact fungicide" against Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., Botrytis cinerea, and Erysiphe graminis (

A recent study looked at the antimicrobial effects of various essential oils, including fennel oil. From the abstract it appears that the study confirms a antimicrobial effect. We did not see the complete study so we cannot provide more details but you can order it from PubMed (

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