Weekly Herb Review #3 – Thyme

This one is for you, Kathy!

Common Name: Thyme

Scientific Name: Thymus species (There are over 100 varieties of Thyme, all stemming from Thymus serphyllum or ..ther-of-thyme..r

Family: Labiatae (the mint family, square stems)

Parts Used: Aerial (above ground) parts

Harvesting: Thyme is an evergreen and can be picked year round. But, the best time for harvest is when it is in bloom, during the summer months. Strip the leaves from the hardened stem for use, if you like.

Constituents/Nutrition: volatile oils (thymol, carvacrol, etc. account for most of its effects), lamiaceae tannins, flavonoids, treterpenoid saponins, high in Aluminum, chromium, fiber, iron, silicon, and many other minerals

Properties/Actions: Antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, vulnerary (wound healing), anthelmintic (expels worms), aromatic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal

Uses/Indications: To soothe coughs (!!), relieve fever, expel gas, increase perspiration, mild mood elevator, for inflammation and spastic conditions of the upper respiratory tract (colds, coughs, bronchitis, etc.) and gastrointestinal tract, mouthwash, mild insect repellant

Folk History/Magical Uses: Thyme has a long history of use dating back to at least 3500 BC!! Egyptians used it as part of their embalming oil. Thyme was used in temples as incense, and in Greece the highest compliment a man could receive was to tell him he smelled of thyme, because it was the symbol of courage, elegance, and grace. In Medieval days, Thyme was put in cordials to inspire courage and strength. Thyme was sewn into kerchiefs in the Middle ages and given to knights to protect them in battle. It was also thought to be a favorite herb of the fairies, who would dance on beds of Thyme at midnight on Midsummer.?Eve. In WWI, the oil of Thyme was used as an antiseptic. The flowers are wonderful for attracting honeybees.

Cautions/Side Effects: Thyme oil can be toxic in large doses. Thyme is also very stimulation and shouldn.?be used medicinally during pregnancy or while nursing.

Preparation/Dosage: Can be prepared as a tea, mouthwash, essential oil, salve, oil, liniment, tincture, and more. The dosage and preparation would depend on the condition you are treating.

Recipe: Spiced Olive Oil-
To one cup of Olive Oil, add 1 tsp. each of Thyme, Rosemary, Basil and Sea Salt, and 1 or 2 whole cloves of garlic. Use as a dip for breads. The longer it sits, the stronger it will be. Mmmmmm.

My Thoughts:I have not used this herb a whole lot in my remedies, but when I have, it works wonderfully! I love adding it to cough syrups, and medicines for cold and flu. This might be a nice one to add to your elderberry syrup if you plan to use it for coughs, or just make cough drops with it!

Bremnes, L. 1988. The Complete Book of Herbs. Penguin Group, New York.
Cunningham, S. 2000. Magical Herbalism. Llewellyn Publications, Minnesota.
Hoffman, D. 1990. The New Holistic Herbal. Second Edition,
McVicar, J. 1994. The Complete Herb Book. Kyle Cathie Limited, London.
Onstad, D. 1996. Whole Foods Companion. Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont.
Skenderi, G. 2003. Herbal Vade Mecum. Herbacy Press, New Jersey.
Tierra, L. 2000. A Kid.?Herb Book. Reed Publishers, California.

Here are some sites with more info in Thyme:

2 thoughts on “Weekly Herb Review #3 – Thyme

  1. Thanks! Good info all around. I love thyme and have it growing in the flower beds in our front yard. This dry summer hasn’t done it any favors, but maybe it will perk up in the fall.

  2. Thanks for the information! I haven’t made many recipes that have called for thyme lately…so I’ve been wondering what else it was good for.


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