One of my favorite herbs to grow in the garden is Thyme. Thyme is a beautiful perennial herb that adds a lot of beauty to the garden, is very aromatic and extremely versatile.
Botanical Name: Thymus vulgaris
Parts Used: Aerial parts
Energetics: Warming, Drying, Pungent(Spicy), Aromatic, VK-P+
Common name: Garden Thyme; Common Thyme
The common Garden Thyme is not an herb to underestimate; it is a powerful healing plant. Thyme is a very Aromatic herb which is Pungent/Spicy in taste. By just brushing your hand across the top of the herb you get a whiff of the distinct aroma right away.
Aromatic herbs like Thyme are stimulating which allow them to get things moving or increase function. Increased function in the digestive system helps to increase appetite and promote digestion. Aromatic herbs are also Carminative which means they help to prevent or expel gas and therefore reduce bloating. All Carminative herbs are antispasmodics meaning they help to reduce cramping, griping and spasms in the gut. This would mean that Thyme would make a wonderfully effective digestive tea when there is griping, a feeling of stagnation, bloating and flatulence.
Aromatic herbs are also antimicrobial, meaning they are beneficial when used with bacterial, viral or fungal infections either topically or internally. Thyme contains the constituent Thymol which is a superior antimicrobial making it quite effective against various intestinal bacteria to include Salmonella, E. Coli and Listeria as well as multidrug resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas genus. (1) Research also indicates that it is quite effective against herpes simplex virus type 1. (2)
Because of their high content of volatile oils, Aromatic plants have an affinity to the lungs. This makes Thyme a very useful herb for respiratory conditions. When there is dampness in the lungs such as a cough with lots of mucous Thyme not only helps strengthen the lungs but also helps to expectorate the mucous (or in other words… get it up and out of the lungs. Also consider Thyme for conditions such as upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and whopping cough. A warm tea made with Thyme will help to increase perspiration (diaphoretic) and is helpful for the first stages of a cold or flu.
Thyme, like other aromatics, also has an affinity for the urinary tract and may be used as a tea when there is indication of a urinary infection or as an astringent for diarrhea and bedwetting.
- Bloating and flatulence (Carminative)
- Colds and flu
- Promotes perspiration (Diaphoretic)
- Pertussis (Whopping Cough)
- Lung congestion
- Damp coughs
- Gargle for sore throat (Topical antiseptic)
- Urinary tract infection
- Canker sores
Thyme can be used in various preparations to include cooking, as a tea, in an herbal syrup or in an Oxymel. An Oxymel is a medicinal preparation which has been used for centuries. An Oxymel combines vinegar with honey and is considered not only tonic, but having an affinity for the respiratory system.
On its own apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a remarkable healing agent. Whether used internally or applied topically, ACV is astringent (tighten and tones tissues) and antiseptic.
Honey is a natural expectorant, helps to coat and sooth irritated tissues and is antibacterial. Honey also contains flavonoids and antioxidants which help reduce cell damage and support immune function.
½ cup of dried or ¾ cup of fresh Thyme
¾ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ cup honey
Place the Thyme in a small jar and completely cover with Apple Cider Vinegar. Add honey and stir. Cover the jar with either plastic wrap or a plastic lid (ACV will corrode metal) and set aside for 2-4 weeks. Strain off the Thyme, rebottle and you have yourself a Thyme Oxymel.
This Oxymel is a very simple yet powerful remedy and can be used as a gargle for sore throats, for respiratory infections, whooping cough, lung congestion, damp coughs, urinary tract infections and during colds and flu.
Antiseptic Wash (Topical)
Place 1 ounce of dry Thyme leaves (or ½ ounce fresh) in a quart canning jar. Cover the herb with boiling water, place a lid on the jar and allow it to sit until cool. Strain off the herb. The liquid can be used as an antiseptic wash for conditions which are either bacterial or viral in nature or where there is inflammation and as a mouth rinse for canker sores and sore throat. Thymol, a constituent found in Thyme is also analgesic, meaning it helpful in reducing pain. (ie: cuts, wounds, infections, sprains, herpes)
Steam Inhalation for Sinus Congestion
Place ½ ounce of dried thyme in a large open pot and pour boiling water over the herb. Place your head over the pot and cover your head with a towel to create a “tent”. Inhale deeply through the nose and do so until the head begins to clear or the water cools. Use caution as to not burn yourself with the boiling water.
1. Sienkiewicz, M., & Łysakowska, M. et. al. (2012, April 18). The antimicrobial activity of thyme essen… [Microb Drug Resist. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22103
2. Lai, W., & Chuang, H. et al (2012, August 13). Inhibition of herpes simplex virus type 1 by thym… [Planta Med. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2289
© Natalie Vickery 2013