Health Benefits of Thyme: Medicinal Uses of a Favorite Herb
The aromatic thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) plant is a perennial and woody shrub harnessing square stems and attractive flowers. A member of the mint family, thyme is an herb that originates in the Mediterranean basin and has a number of varieties, each with its own distinctive oil composition. Thyme is a powerful herb, popular in aromatherapy – so it must be used with caution and care. Do know, though, that the health benefits of thyme are very real.
Thymus vularis ct. linalol is recommended by herbalists as an effective and safe beginner herb for children and the elderly. Other varieties are more potent, and their use should be reserved for qualified herbalists with experience in using them. The volatile essential oils in thyme are packed with anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties, which explains why thyme-based formulas are used as an expectorant, diuretic, fungicide and antibiotic.
Thyme is also a powerful detoxifying agent, making it one of many liver detox foods. What’s more, the herb is a great immune system booster that encourages white blood cell formation while increasing resistance to foreign organisms. With cold and flu season upon us, considering adding thyme-based formulas to the medicine cabinet is a great idea. There is a reason the health benefits of thyme has been experienced for all of time.
The Passing of Thyme
- Both Hippocrates and Dioscorides discussed the medicinal use of thyme in their ancient writings.
- Civilizations in the Mediterranean were familiar with the health promoting benefits of this easy to cultivate shrub which grew happily on sunny banks and in heaths.
- The Romans grew thyme for bee culture, the purification of rooms and to add flavor to liqueurs and cheese.
- Ancient Greek temples were scented with thyme incense and Egyptians favored the fragrant plant for embalming.
- Valiant knights were given thyme for courage in the Middle ages and sprigs were placed in bedrooms and under pillows to ward off depression.
Long before the discovery of modern medicine, crushed thyme was placed on bandages to promote wound healing and ward off infection. Thyme is no stranger to a kitchen, past or present, and is a popular culinary herb. Prior to the invention of the refrigerator, thyme was even used to help keep meats from spoiling.
The Far Reaching Health Benefits of Thyme
Thyme is effective against infections, most specifically respiratory and digestive. It can be taken for diarrhea, infections of the vagina including thrush and infections in the fallopian tubes. It has a relaxing effect on muscles in the bronchi and helps to relive asthma, whooping cough, laryngitis, bronchitis and dry coughs. Mouth and gum infections can be treated with a solution made from as little as .1 percent thyme oil. Inhalation therapy is useful for those who suffer from chronic sinus infections. As an antioxidant, thyme protects the body from the effects of aging. As a stellar digestive herb, thyme can enhance appetite and digestion while stimulating the liver.
Other Uses for Thyme
The health benefits of thyme are undeniable; thyme oil alone, or when used in a mixture of other natural health promoting compounds, has been found to relieve the following conditions.
- Nail fungus
- Muscle pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Hair loss
- Skin problems
- Kidney problems
Methods of Use
Use caution when using thyme on the skin while it’s in a pure, concentrated form, as it can cause irritation. It is always best to mix thyme oil with other compounds such as lemon, lavender or pine before use. Try using thyme oil on the soles of the feet; it is very tolerable and travels through the body with ease. Thyme inhalation therapy is also considered safe using an aroma burner or humidifier.
Be sure to do additional research when using thyme medicinally.