- Botanical: Thymus vulgaris
- Family: Lamiaceae
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Known asThyme, Thymus vulgaris, Thymiane, Quendel, Feld-Thymian, Sand-Thymian, Betony, Feldbulla, Feldkümmel, Feldpoley, Geismajoran, Geschwulstkraut, Grundling, Hollaien, Hühnerbolle, Immenkraut, Keale, Kinderkraut, Kounala, Kranzlkraut, Kudelkraut, Kückenkümmel
Old Useculinary; medicinal
Collection TimesJune to August
Aromaherbaceius, spicy, warm
Medicinalasthma, bronchitis, bad breath, bleeding, bronchitis, bruises, colds, coughs, diarrhea, eczema, epilepsy, flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, insomnia, joint pain, menstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, menopausal symptom, respiratory, stomach pain, sore throat, wounds, erysipelas, hoarseness, neurasthenia, shingles, sprains
Heart & Circulationbleeding
Hormone & Sexual Organsmenstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, menopausal symptom
Muscle & Jointsjoint pain, sprains
Mind & Nervesepilepsy, insomnia, neurasthenia
Respiratory Systemasthma, bronchitis, colds, cough, hoarseness, respiratory, sore throat
Stomach & Intestinalbad breath, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, stomach pain
Skin & Hairbruises, eczema, erysipelas, shingles, wounds
Propertiesantibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, diaphoretic, expectorant
Thymus is a perennial low aromatic shrub with much-branched woody stems forming dense tufts from which arise tiny, paired opposite leaves on short stalks, each with two minute leaflets at the base. The leaves are 6-8mm long, the underside covered with fine hairs. The flowers are arranged in whorls in the axils of the upper leaves, and are of a typical labiate appearance, pink to lilac in colour.
The plant is indigenous to Mediterranean regions and southern Europe, but is widely cultivated throughout the world, where it thrives in temperate climates, particularly on waste ground.
Properties & Uses
Common thyme has a very long history of folk use for a wide range of ailments. It is very rich in essential oils and these are the active ingredients responsible for most of the medicinal properties. In particular, thyme is valued for its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it is an excellent tonic and is used in treating respiratory diseases and a variety of other ailments.
The flowering tops are anthelmintic, strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative and tonic. The plant is used internally in the treatment of dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea and enuresis in children. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women.
Externally, it is used in the treatment of tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and fungal infections. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. Thyme has an antioxidant effect, thus regular use of this herb improves the health and longevity of individual body cells and therefore prolongs the life of the body.
The essential oil is strongly antiseptic. The whole herb is used in the treatment of digestive disorders, sore throats, fevers etc. The essential oil is one of the most important oils used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Bacterial'. It is used especially in cases of exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory tract infections, skin and scalp complaints etc. The oil can cause allergic reactions and irritation to the skin and mucous membranes.
An essential oil from the leaves is frequently used in perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, medicinally etc. It has fungicidal properties and is also used to prevent mildew. The leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. Plants are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.
The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing whilst the growing plant is said to repel cabbage root fly.
A comment has been made in one report on medicinal uses that the plant should be used with caution. No explanation was given. It quite possibly refers to overuse of the essential oil. All essential oils, since they are so concentrated, can be harmful in large doses. Avoid if inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Internal use contraindicated especially in pregnancy. Caution if sensitive to grasses. Dilute oil in carrier oil before topical use.
Indigenous to southern Europe. It is a pan-European species that is cultivated in Europe, the United States of America and other parts of the world
a-thujone, a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, p-cymene, a-terpinene, linalool, borneol, b-caryophyllene, thymol and carvacrol.