Anzer tea (Thymus praecox, subsp. caucasicus var. caucasicus) naturally grows in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. Anzer tea, a creeping plant with crimson-pink flowers, is important for honey production in the region. In the present study, content, composition and antimicrobial properties of Anzer tea's essential oil were investigated. Essential oil content of dried aerial plant parts varied between 1.53% and 2.05%. Essential oil composition was studied by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and 26 components were identified. The major components were thymol (47.45%), gamma-terpinene (8.73%), p-cymene (8.30%), terpinyl acetate (4.88%) and carvacrol (4.601/6). Essential oil was also screened for its antibacterial activity. In a screen for antibacterial activity, Anzer tea essential oil had significant activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. (C) 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.