Fresh Thyme showing leaves and stem on the left, dried thyme leaves on the right.
Latin nameThymus Vulgaris L.
Standardized common name Thyme
Common names: Common Thyme
Other common names: English Thyme, Garden thyme, Lemon Thyme, Mother of Thyme
Family: Lamianceae
Authored by:  ANNA T ATHIENO
Parts used:
Thymus vulgaris (fl vs If)
Botanical description:
 Thymus Vulgaris L.has got many woody stems growing upwards. The stem has tiny straight pointed green and yellow leaves which are opposite and sessile with some white dots.  It is said to have whorled flowers although I was not able to see any flowers. In the bastyr garden it is growing among other plants in the Lamianceae family. The branches are thin and spread out.

On the plant use website, the natural habitat of Thyme is listed as Mediterranean, hot, dry summers, cool and wet winters. It also grows at temperatures between 4-28 degrees Celsius but optimally at 16 degrees, it is  listed as hardy at -15 degrees Celsius. Thyme is also said to be drought tolerant although a little water during dry periods is helpful. It can also grow in  heavy  wet soils , it may die quickly .There is some thyme  being cultivated  in the Bastyr  garden  with  a  climate  considered  to  be  Marine west coast  with damp , cool winters  and mild , dry summers  (The weather of the pacific north west)
Taste & Energetic properties:
Energetics: Aromatic, sweet, tastes like cow urine, it’s irritating to the lungs.
 Tendencies: warming and drying (herbal medicine from the heart of the earth)
  When   the fresh leaves are chewed and swallowed it leaves   a sharp piercing feeling on the tongue and draws out a lot of saliva, it also made me cough a lot. Also when the dry leaves are chewed on, it  tastes herbie and bitterish . A hot infusion of fresh thyme leaves tastes and smells like cow urine. An  A decoction of dry thyme leaves where I used the water extract as a base for the cough syrup with a mixture of union and honey . The syrup had the strong aromatic smell and tasted sweet most likely because of the honey but after swallowing it a caused a mouth full of saliva and also made me cough and hence the likely irritation to  the lungs. When thyme is added to rice as spice, it gives the rice a nice aroma and it tastes like curry  but when rice is boiled with thyme t gives the rice a spicy taste (My experience)
Doctrine of Signatures:
Because Thyme attracts bees, it can be used as a flavoring in honey. Also Thyme stimulates the thymus gland (Earth wise herbal page 484)
Actions section
Expectorant and secromotor activities:  An experiment  showed that saponin  extract  from T. vulgaris  proved  that thyme oil  had an effect of secromotor activity , also there was   stimulation of  ciliary movement of the pharynx of mucosa frogs  that were treated  with thyme oil dilutions .Thyme extract also showed an increase in mucus  secretion of the bronchi . (WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants.-Vol. 1.)
Antifungal and Antibacterial activities : Invitro studies have shown that thyme  essential oils  and thymol  have antifungal activities against  Cryptococus , neoformans , Asperquillas, Saprolegnia  and Zygorhychus species .Both  Essential oil  and thymol  showed  activity against  Salmonella Typhimurium , Staphylococcus aureus , Esherichia coli  and other bacteria species (WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants.-Vol. 1.)
Anti-mutagenic  : In cooking  Lutcoin  a flavonoid isolated from  thyme  showed  ant mutagenic activity  in vitro  against  dietary  carcinogen  formed during cooking . An extract  of thyme  also showed  ant mutagenesis  with modulating  effects on DNA repair of ecoli which is said  to be a result of stimulating  of error free repair principles  and practice  of phytotherapy   modern herbal  medicine (WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants.-Vol. 1.)
Anti-spasmodic: Although  the volatile  oil of thyme  was proven to  have antispasmodic  effect .The assumption  of anon volatile principle  inspired a  study which  focused on  flavonoids  and found that  Flavonones  and thyme extracts  were effective on smooth muscle guinea pigs . Also In vitro it was found that the Flavone of Thymus vulgaris are calcium channel blockers and musculotropic agents which     act on the smooth muscles by   reducing the contraction of arteries and increasing the arterial diameter. (WHO monographs on selected medicinal p-Vol. 1.)           
Antioxidant: Rosmarinic acid  also showed  antioxidant  activity in vitro  in inhibiting lipid peroxidation, reduced  production  of superoxide  anion radical; and also inhibited  the external  oxidative  effects  of polymorph nuclear granulocytes .The biphenyl compound and eriodictol isolated from  thyme  showed  antioxidant   properties  by inhibiting  superoxide production and  the biphenyl  compound showed efficiency  as  it  protected red blood cells  against  oxidative hemolysis .(Principles  and practice of phytotherapy )
 Ant allergic and anti inflammatory activity: Rosmarinic acid inhibited immune hemolysis of enterocytes   in vitro which was due to inhibition of the classic complements pathway. Also when it was administered orally, it showed inhibition of passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in a rat. Also a study showed  that thymus  inhibited neutrophil chemotaxis  in vitro .There was  a positive correlation observed  between superoxide  anion generation  in neutrophils and inhibition  of neutrophil  chemotaxis .Thyme also exhibited  allergic  reaction  by inhibiting  beta  hexasaminadase  release  from rat basophilic  leukemia  cells invitro  .(WHO monographs on selected medicinal p-Vol. 1. )
Neurological activity: Carvacol was screened for pharmacological effects on the central nervous system and it was found to have anxiolytic activity when administered orally in mice. Also when  with oral dosage of  about 12.5g to 50g   of  carvacol , antidepressant effects were observed  and was assumed to be  due to an  increase  in dopamanic levels . .(WHO monographs on selected medicinal p-Vol. 1.)

     Essential oil (borneol, carvacol, cymol, linalool, thymol).

 Bitter principle. (Herb farm) Thyme consists of Beta carotene, geraniol, Limonene. Campor , Citra amino acids , caffeic ,Capyric , chlogenic , cinnnamic acid , Gallic ,vanillic and other essential fatty acids , salicylates , tannin , calcium , iron , magnesium , manganese , phosphorus,  potassium , selenium , Zinc , B-vitamins  and vitamin c .(The complete  herbal guide )

 Flavonoids ; Flavones  apigenin and luteoline  were found  to  be important  flavonoids  present as 0-glycosides  and a glycones and are accompanied   by many methylated  flavones   also flavonols and flavonones  are not of much importance ( handbook of herbs and spices by Vk peter)

 Tannins and   Phenolic compounds: Tannins are represented   by resmarinic acid a depside of caffeic acid and dehydrocaffeic acid. Also free phenolic acids were found like P-courmaric acid, syringic acid and felulic acid (handbook of herbs and spices by Vk peter)
            Thymol (a thyme extract) was administered  an ethanol  dry extract  of thyme  experiment with 12 volunteers where just thymol was administered and  it was not detected  neither in plasma and urine ,  but metabolites    thymol sulphate   and thymol  glucuronide was  found in urine  , only thymol glucuronide was detected in plasma. The amount of the plasma only on the thymol sulphate was detected. The amount of both thymol sulphate and glucuronide extracted was in 24 hour was 16.2% +4.5%(The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology ).

Indications and Effects:
 Common cold  .A person experiencing   a cold  with chills ,sore throat , and   stuffed  nose because it has got  expectorant   properties  which would help  to remove  excess mucus  and as an irritating expectorant it will irritate the lining of the bronchials   such that the  phlegm is coughed out .(new age herbalists )  drops of thyme oil in steam inhalation in hot water  can  clear nose and throat  also fresh  thyme leaves  can clear a stuffed  nose .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also it would be useful on someone with a viral  infection when used  as an antibiotic because it  is a strong antimicrobial  , it has got  volatile oils so as a steam inhalation  would help someone with a lung infection.
  I didn't find any  warnings written
 Pregnancy: No data given   and therefore should be used with care or with permission from medical personnel.
 No information available concerning  herb to drug interactions, drug and laboratory interactions and pediatric use.

Classic formulas:
 In Dr. John Christopher’s formula thyme was used both internally and externally. I Cup of water  was sweetened with 1 table spoonful of honey  and taken 3-4 times daily  and used to treat  infections , diarrhea and cancer .
  I would combine Thyme with Rosemary and sage to make tea. Rosemary is atonic and improves immunity, and just like thyme has got a high amount of Rosmarinic acid which is antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory also Sage which is antibiotic and is good for clearing fevers, germs and phlegm. I would make a tea for treating a common cold and flu.
Preparations and Doses:
 Rosemary galdster suggests   a hot infusion of Thyme in honey by adding   thyme leaves and flowers to a warm honey after which it left to steep for two weeks and is used by tea spoonful.
A mixture of thyme with a facial steam to treat flu and common cold, all the mucus drained out  and I didn’t have a stuffy nose the following  day  however  the coughing  didn’t  stop  .
 A cup of thyme tea take 3 times a day for three days cleared my sore throat.

Sustainability/Ecological Issues:
Thyme is said to have the potential to modify the soil through leaching water-soluble compounds from leaves and litter decomposition. (The response of Bromus erectus to the presence of different Thymus vulgaris chemo types. Ehlers BK1, Thompson J.) Thyme is out of danger because it can tolerate most climates although   well drained alkaline soil and a sunny location favor it. However, good harvest practices should still be practiced and better yet Thyme should be allowed to grow wildly it’s okay to cultivate but   the one that grows wildly shouldn’t be destroyed.
Current literature
   Invitro study carried out to determine the antifungal activity of essential oils obtained from Mentha spicata, Thymus vulgaris and Laurus nobilis. (
 A study was carried with an   aim to evaluate the in vitro and vivo anthelmintic activity of the essential oil of thymus vulgaris against H. contortus and of its main component, the monoterpene thymol. Despite the relative ineffectiveness of the oil in the in vivo test, it was the in vitro results that validated the use of T. vulgaris oil as an anthelmintic agent. It was found that the essential oil and thymol, which accounts for were effective against the three main stages of H. contortus. The oil and thymol were also able to inhibit egg hatching by 96.4-100%, larval development of Haemonchus contortus by 90.8-100 %,)( Thymus vulgaris L. essential oil and its main component thymol: Anthelmintic effects against Haemonchus contortus from sheep.)(
In vitro and in vivo efficacy of carvacrol against Echinococcus granulosus was carried out. In the study it was  revealed  that the germinal layer of cysts treated with carvacrol lost the multicellular structure feature not only that but also  when  40mg/kg of  cavicorn was administered during  20 days in mice with cysts compared to the control there was a reduction in cysts size .( )

Personal Experiences:
I  liked Thyme as a spice in fish or chicken  but  after  reading  about  how  it  was a good expectorant , I decided  to experiment with  it a little bit . I  used it as  a facial steam   to treat  the cold and flu  and  the following day the stuffy nose had cleared  , I also made  tea  with honey  to  for a sore throat  and it cleared my throat  although I’m not sure if it’s treating the cough or worsening it  because the more I take it  the worse  my  got  cough .

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Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 2003. Print.
Allen, Gary. The Herbalist in the Kitchen. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2007. Print.
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Jacope. "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme: Herbal Tea to Keep You Healthy." Delishably. Jody, 24 Aug. 2016. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
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Adjou ES, Kouton S, Dahouenon-Ahoussi E, Soumanou MM, Sohounhloue DC. Effectof essential oil from fresh leaves of Ocimum gratissimum L. on mycoflora duringstorage of peanuts in Benin. Mycotoxin Res. 2013 Feb;29(1):29-38. doi:10.1007/s12550-012-0150-y. Epub 2012 Nov 9. PubMed PMID: 23334722.
"Systemic Availability and Pharmacokinetics of Thymol in Humans." C Kohlert, G Schindler, RW Marz, G Abel, B Brinkhaus, H Derendorf (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 2 Aug. 2002.

                                                    By Anna Athieno
 She is a herbal sciences major at Bastyr University , she is also an enterpreneur , a blogger and is very passionate about nature. Takecharge of your health, health is wealth .


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