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Common Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

tymianeknspThe common thyme, or simply thyme, is a plant of valued medicinal properties. It is also used in cooking as seasoning.

What does thyme look like and where does it come from?

Common thyme comes from the areas around the Mediterranean Sea, where it grows wild in Spain, Morocco and Italy. It is cultivated in Poland, but due to its poor resistance to low temperature, it usually cannot survive the winter.

The appearance of this low shrub can be attractive. It features tiny, bell-shaped flowers in the colour of lilac or pink (observed from May to as late as September). The leaves of thyme feature short petiole; they are also small and curled up on both sides. The thin branches are huddled together into tufts with many leaves and flowers.

Medicinal substance content in common thyme

The pharmaceutical material (used in medicine) is the thyme herb harvested during bloom. The ethereal (essential) oil contains thymol and other derivatives of ether, as well as tannins, caffeic acid, triterpene acids, gentians, saponins and flavonoids.

Thymol makes thyme a disinfectant (bactericidal and fungicidal action) and an expectorant.

Other properties of thyme extract include:

  • spasmolisis, i.e. relaxation of smooth muscles in the airways;
  • anti-inflammatory action;
  • sedative action;
  • sudorific action;
  • acceleration of healing of wounds,
  • styptic (reduces bleeding and causes constriction).

Therapeutic indications for thyme extract

The primary therapeutic indication for the thyme herb extract is inflammation of the airways. When used in diseases of the upper airways or bronchitis, thyme facilitates expectoration of phlegm deposits and accelerates treatment of the inflammation.

Thyme extracts are usually used in syrups that contain other drug substances (like ephedrine hydrochloride) or plant extracts (of marshmallow or acerola). In combination with ephedrine, the extracts of thyme are administered on prescription only, while compositions with other herbal extracts are available over the counter. An interesting combination of thyme herb extract is a dietary supplement called Bronchopect. The preparation also contains an extract of the marshmallow root and acerola fruit. The marshmallow moistens the throat, the larynx and the vocal cords. Vitamin C contained in acerola improves the functioning of the immune system. Finally, the thyme refreshes and moisturises the throat. The rich composition of the syrup positively affects the body during spring and autumn solstices. It also improves the defence mechanisms of the body.

Thyme is also used in the treatment of inflammation within the oral cavity (in the drug Mucosit). In combination with other extracts (from sage, Coltsfoot, oak, mint, camomile or pot marigold), the formulation inhibits the development of inflammation, disinfects, soothens, alleviates pain and stops bleeding.

Thyme as a seasoning

The specific aroma of thyme has made it a favoured culinary addition. It is used both as a food seasoning (mainly for meats but also pizza) and an aesthetic topping of served meals. Its addition to food not only gives flavour and aroma, but also ensures some healing action of the herb itself.

Products containing Common Thyme

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