Thyme — Thymus vulgaris

Thyme gardenFamily: Lamiaceae

Herbal action: antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, emmenagogue, rubifacient.

Indications: dyspepsia, gastritis, asthma, bronchitis, pertussis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, dysmenorrhea; topically for fungal and bacterial infections, gingivitis

Medicinal uses: Thyme is best suited for cold, inactive conditions where the patient tends to be chilled, shivering, putrefaction, sepsis and stagnant, and stuck mucus. It has even been used against anthrax, typhoid fever and diphtheria.

Thyme can arrest gastric fermentation and is useful in gastrointestinal spasm and colic. A cold infusion is useful in dyspepsia, with weakness and irritability of the stomach, As a diaphoretic, the hot infusion can assist in promoting perspiration at the commencement of a cold or fever, and is useful in dysmenorrhea, flatulence, colic, and headache. According to Culpepper, thyme is “…a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows, nor is there a better remedy growing for whooping cough. It purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It is so harmless you need not fear the use of it. An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight and takes away any pains and hardness of the spleen: it is excellent for those that are troubled with the gout and the herb taken anyway inwardly is of great comfort to the stomach.” Gerard adds that it will “cure sciatica and pains in the head,” also indicated in leprosy and the epilepsy. Weiss states that the oil when taken internally is eliminated by the alveoli of the lungs, exhibiting an antimicrobial as well as spasmolytic activity on the bronchia. To this extent thyme is sometimes referred to as ‘tracheal relaxant,’ used in convulsive coughing from infectious or allergic causes. Thyme is especially indicated in whooping cough, or pertussis, and represents a viable alternative to the pertussis vaccine. For sore throat, tonsillitis and laryngitis, the diluted tincture or strong infusion is a useful remedy. For gingivitis, a dilute tincture of thyme can be used as a mouthwash. Felter and Lloyd state that the “…oil is valuable as a local application to neuralgic and rheumatic pains”, but should not be applied to the skin without a carrier. Thyme may be helpful as an antioxidant and hypolipidemic agent, useful in cardiovascular disease, and as an adjunct in the treatment of gastric ulcer.

Thyme stimulates the thymus gland (its namesake) and thus improves immunity, self identity and reduces adrenal stress, By relaxing the parasympathetic system, thyme acts on the gastrointestinal tract, useful for dyspepsia and sluggish digestion.