Study: thyme cream for bacterial vaginosis

Thyme Cream BV Treatment

A team of researchers has tested a thyme-like variant – Zataria multiflora – cream for its effect on bacterial vaginosis and trich, compared directly with antibiotic pills containing metronidazole.

Thyme has been demonstrated as effective against Trichomonas vaginalis in vitro, and is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Thyme essential oil is known to be effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, however thymol is known to be an irritant and caused some irritation.

The double-blind study included 420 women with BV and trich, or both together, divided into six groups randomly. Zataria multiflora cream or antibiotics were then administered. Each night for seven nights, the women applied a cream (either placebo, antibiotics, or 0.1 per cent Z. multiflora cream), while every 12 hours taking a pill (either placebo or active antibiotic 250mg metronidazole pill).

It is understood that the herbal treatment of Zataria multiflora reduces adhesion and penetration of bacteria into the cells of the vagina at lower concentrations than below the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). It’s possible that a longer treatment time would be required for better results.

(For our effective, non-antibiotic treatment for BV, read Killing BV.)

Results of the study

  • The overall success of the herbal cream was less than from the oral antibiotics
  • Symptoms were significantly decreased after application of the thyme cream and metronidazole cream, except itching in the thyme group increased at onset of treatment
  • Itching subsided during the treatment from 16 per cent to five per cent
  • Neither treatment presented complications
  • Both treatments were equally effective one week after treatment ceased at BV resolving symptoms
  • Thyme cream caused vaginal burning in 14 per cent of the study participants
  • The antibiotics sometimes caused metallic taste and vertigo
  • Side-effects were overall higher in the antibiotic group



Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.