Thymus vulgaris
Category: Immunity Tincture
Part used: Aerial parts

Low-growing and somewhat straggly, Thyme is a familiar garden and culinary herb, its pleasant, cleansing taste adding savour to many dishes. With its strongly antiseptic and antifungal essential oil, Thyme inhibits the oxidation of fats1 and prolongs the shelf life of food, and it is used by the food industry for this reason.

“Everyone knows Thyme”, wrote Dioscorides, the Roman army surgeon in his Materia Medica c.66 CE, listing asthma, throat congestion and stomach problems among key uses. Contemporary understanding of Thyme is not that different, as Thyme is seen as a specific for the respiratory system, with antimicrobial, antispasmodic and expectorant (promoting clearance of mucus) activity. Like Garlic (Allium sativum), Thyme’s essential oil is removed from the body mainly via the lungs, countering infection and inflammation, clearing catarrh and phlegm, and relaxing the airways, as it is exhaled.

A very safe herb, Thyme syrup (or infusion with a dash of honey) is commonly given to children for catarrhal and chest problems, as well as intestinal worms, while the infusion can be taken as a general tonic, supporting healthy digestive and immune function. The herb’s pronounced antispasmodic activity makes it a useful remedy in muscle aches and cramps, and it can be particularly helpful in easing menstrual cramps2, one clinical trial finding Thyme oil as effective as ibuprofen in relieving menstrual pain.

  1. Jorge N et al. Antioxidant Effect of Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) and Oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) Extracts in Soybean Oil Under Thermoxidation. J Food Process Preserv. 2015 Dec;39(6):1399-406.
  2. Salmalian H et al. Comparative effect of thymus vulgaris and ibuprofen on primary dysmenorrhea: A triple-blind clinical study. Caspian J Intern Med. 2014;5(2):82-8.