The herb thyme is more effective in treating acne than medicated creams, UK scientists claimed Wednesday.
Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University, in northern England, said a simple tincture of the widely-used cooking herb was more effective in killing the bacterium associated with acne, Propionibacterium acnes, than medicated creams.
The team tested tinctures of thyme, myrrh and marigold against benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient used in most acne creams.
The herbs, which were steeped in alcohol for days in order to extract the active compounds from the plant, all killed the bacterium -- but thyme was the most successful.
Lead researcher Dr. Margarita Gomez Escalada said, "The preparation that was found the most effective was thyme tincture, even better than benzoyl peroxide. This shows the potential of thyme tincture for treating acne."
She said further tests were needed in conditions that mimic the skin to confirm thyme tincture as a "natural alternative to current treatments."
A natural treatment for the skin condition could bring an end to unpleasant side effects associated with benzoyl peroxide, including a burning sensation and skin irritation.
Escalada presented her findings at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin.