from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An aromatic phenolic compound, C10H14O, found in plants such as oregano and savory and used in flavorings and fungicides.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A monoterpenoid phenol with a characteristic pungent, warm odour of oregano and a pizzalike taste.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A thick oily liquid, C10H13.OH, of a strong taste and disagreeable odor, obtained from oil of caraway (Carum carui).
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A viscid oily substance, of a very disagreeable odor and strong taste, made from oil of caraway. In medicine it has been found serviceable in relieving toothache.
Despite its gentler aroma, thymol is as powerful a chemical as carvacrol, which is why thyme oil has long been used as an antimicrobial agent in mouthwashes and skin creams.
Antimicrobial compounds such as carvacrol and 2-Nitro-1-propanol (2NPOH) are effective inhibitors of pathogens such as E. coli O157: H7 and B. cereus and can be used with foods including cereal dough to prevent spoilage, claims a new study.
It has a complex flavor that includes musky sulfur compounds, and clove and oregano notes from the phenolics eugenol and carvacrol.
Thymol is a kinder, gentler version of carvacrol, penetrating and spicy, but not as aggressively so.
Greek oreganos are typically rich in carvacrol, while milder Italian, Turkish, and Spanish oreganos contain more thyme-like thymol and fresh, green, floral, and woody terpenes.
Both summer savory (S. hortensis) and winter savory (S. montana) taste like a mixture of oregano and thyme; they contain both carvacrol and thymol.
Despite its name, Cuban oregano is an Asian member of the mint family, Plectranthus amboinicus, with fuzzy succulent leaves and a good dose of carvacrol.
Some varieties do have a high carvacrol content, some more resemble thyme, and some are more woody and piney.
There are also many flavors of thyme, including lemon, mint, pineapple, caraway, and nutmeg. A number of thyme species and varieties taste much like oregano because they contain carvacrol.
The penetrating quality comes from the phenolic compound carvacrol.