Common thyme is a herbaceous plant with aromatic leaves, which are used commonly as flavouring in salads, soups, sauces, and stews. Thyme grows up to a height of 1-3 feet. It has many stems which bear oval green leaves, bisexual white and pink flowers, and woody roots. It grows in the dry slopes of the Mediterranean region. It is a native of Southern Europe.
Part used: Leaves (dry and fresh) contain aromatic oil.
Chemical composition: Essential oil in the leaves contains aromatic compounds thymol and caracole. Leaves also contain protein, water, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, vitamins A, B and K, fibre, thyme oil, borneol and other oils.
Thyme leaves are used to make tincture and syrup. They are also used for steam inhalation.
A tea made from thyme leaves is beneficial for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, cough, and whooping cough. Thyme leaves contain antioxidants which provide immunity and improve general health if consumed regularly. They can also give relief from digestive disorders, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems. They are used to expel worms such as roundworms, pinworms, hookworms, and other parasites.
Thyme oil is used externally in Aromatherapy. It is an antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial. It is applied to heal cuts and wounds. It gives relief from fungal infections such as Athlete's foot and candidiasis. Steam inhalation of oil gives relief in cough, congestion, bronchitis, and reduces phlegm. It reduces worm and head lice infestation. The oil is also beneficial in nerve disorders. It helps reduce headache, depression, anxiety and stress. It is applied the joints to help reduce arthritic pain. Since it is antibacterial, it is used to reduce gum infections caused by bacteria. It is one of the ingredients of tooth pastes and mouth wash.
Contraindications: Thyme oil should be always diluted with a carrier oil as it is very strong. It can cause skin irritation. It is contraindicated to children and pregnant women.