Herb Reference Guide

Thyme

History

Thyme has a long history of use that dates back as far as 2750 BC with Sumerian cuneiform tablets suggesting that Thyme be dried and pulverized with pears, figs and water for use as a poultice. The Egyptians used it to embalm their dead, and the Romans threw Thyme on their floors to deter venomous creatures. The Benedictine monks added Thyme to their elixirs for its health supportive benefits. Both in the past and today, thyme has been readily used as a culinary spice in chowders, stews, sauces and stuffing.

There are up to 400 different species of Thyme including different culinary flavored thymes such as lemon thyme and decorative species such as creeping thyme. Thyme grows in many regions around the world, but prefers dry, rocky soil. It is cultivated commercially in Europe, especially Hungary, Turkey and Germany.

Function

Thyme has long been used to support the immune system and support surrounding mucous membranes. A component of Thyme, thymol, has been well studied for its microbial benefits, specifically in mouthwashes, gargles, cough drops and vapor rubs. Thyme also has digestive supportive properties, has naturally occurring antioxidants, and supports healthy levels of inflammation.

Uses of Thyme

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Thyme is composed of many essential oils including thymol, carvacol and phenol. It also contains terpenes, flavonoids, and saponins.

Parts Used

  • Leaves, essential oils

Important precautions

Thyme can be consumed in pregnancy in amounts that are commonly found in food only.

Additional Resources