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Natural remedies

Thyme medicinal properties

Thymus vulgaris L.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF THYME

Thyme drawing

A drawing of thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Characteristics of thyme

Common English noun: Thyme

Common name in other languages:

- Spanish / Español: Tomillo, tremoncillo, tomillo de primavera, tomillo borriquero, etc.

- Catalan / Català: Farigola, timó, timonet, tem, frígola, tomello, tomell

- Galician / Galego: Tomiño, Tomentelo

- Basque / Euskara: Ezkai

- Portuguese / Português: Tomilho

- Italian / Italiano: Timo maggiore

- Romanian / Română: Cimbrul de câmp

- French / Français: Thym commun, Thym cultivé, Farigoule

- German / Deutsch: Echter Thymian

- Dutch /Nederlands: Echte tijm

- Danish /Dansk: Havetimian

- Norwegian /Norsk bokmål: Timian

- Finnish /Suomi: Timjami

- Polish / Polski: Macierzanka tymianek

- Русский / Russian: Тимья́н обыкнове́нный

Scientific noun: Thymus vulgaris L.

Habitat: By the side of the roads and shrubs.

Family. Mint family - Lamiaceae

 

Description of thyme

wild thyme
Photo of thyme

Perennial aromatic bush of the mint family - Lamiaceae or Labiatae - up to 30 cm. Ligneous, grayish stems. Lanceolate or ovate leaves, undivided, stalked, white velvety below and with the margins rolled inwards. Pink or white flowers, with the upper lip cleft, the lower one divided in three lopes. Reddish, velvet- like calyx.

Picking-up and storing thyme leaves and floral summits:

Thyme can be grown at home or collected from nature. It should not to be confused with wild thyme or creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum).

Leaves and floral summits must be collected in spring. They should be dried in the shade and kept in a well-closed crystal container.

Thyme grown in the wild has more medicinal properties than in gardening, due to its higher content of phytochemicals.

 

Components of thyme

Among the main active components of thyme. we will include:

- Essential oil (0.8 - 2.5%): rich in thymol and carvacrol (80%), p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, linalool, alpha-terpineol, anethole, borneol (leaves). Thyme belongs to the botanical family of Lamiaceae, the same to which rosemary, oregano, mint or lavender belongs. Many of these plants have in common the high content of essential oils, the main reason why they are used as aromatic herbs.

- Flavonoids: cirsilineol, thymonin, naringenin, eriodictyol, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, rutin

- Vitamin C, beta-carotene

- Amino acids: cystine, valine, glycine, isoleucine (plant)

- Organic acids: nicotinic acid , caffeic acid , oleanolic acid, ursolic acid , rosmarinic acid

- Minerals: potassium, aluminium, calcium, cobalt and magnesium (leaves); iron (plant)

- Tannins

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF THYME

Thyme as a traditional medicinal plant

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a plant that stands out for its fragrance. This odor is because it contains essential oil rich in thymol and carvacrol, two substances with antibiotic, expectorant and balsamic properties.

Traditionally, thyme has been used for the treatment of infectious diseases, especially those that affect the respiratory system. Because of its antiseptic power, thyme was also one of the plants used by the Egyptians to embalm the mummies and prevent rotting of the bodies.

buying thyme in a street market
Sale of dry thyme bouquets in a market

Thyme and its antibiotic properties

Thyme is considered a natural antibiotic and one of the best disinfectant herbs, due to its enormous wealth in thymol and carvacrol.

It is adequate to prevent the wounds from infecting themselves (Take three cups a day with the infusion of a teaspoon of dried flowers per cup) (You can take the syrup made with a tablespoon of thyme and two of chamomile in a liter of water until being reduced to 1/3. Sweeten and take 3 teaspoons a day).

These treatments may be useful as adjuncts to antibiotic treatment in digestive, respiratory, urinary and venereal diseases, such as gonorrhea, childhood diarrhea and colds.

 

Thyme infusions for the respiratory system

The doctor and English apothecary Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) in his book "Complete Herbal" says of the thyme as follows: "It is a noble strengthener of the lungs.... It purges the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath.... An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight , and takes away pains and hardness of the spleen, tis excellent for those that are troubled with the gout. It eases pains in the loins and hips. the herb taken any way inwardly, comforts the stomach much, and expels wind."

Thyme is a powerful respiratory antiseptic, which eliminates germs and reduces the symptoms of the infections they produce, including fever or discomfort. In traditional medicine, thyme has been widely used for its antitussive, balsamic and mucolytic properties, in the treatment of bronchitis, cough, or for sore throat, asthma and loaded chest. (Take three cups a day with the infusion of one teaspoon of dried flowers per cup) (Essential oil: 2 to 3 diluted drops, up to 3 times a day Do not exceed the indicated dose)

It is a plant suitable for bronchitis and cough in children. (Take three cups a day with the infusion of one teaspoon of dried flowers per cup. Adjust the plant dose to age) (It is not recommended to use the essential oil in children)

Thyme is a powerful antiseptic. Eliminates germs and reduces the symptoms of these infections , including fever or discomfort. It can be used to relieve sore throat . Or when the chest is loaded. (Take three cups a day with the infusion of one teaspoon of dried flowers per cup) (You can take the syrup made with a tablespoon of thyme and two of chamomile in one quart of water until is reduced to 1 / 3. Sweeten and take 3 teaspoons a day.) :

Thyme infusion is usually combined with other plants that complement its effect, such as cowslip (Primula veris), mallow (Malva sylvestris) or plantain (Plantago major), with expectorant and demulcent properties.

Bilabiate flowers of thyme
Bilabiate flowers of thyme , characteristic of Lamiaceae plants

 

Properties of thyme to increase defenses

The properties of thyme to fight infections are enhanced by the property of this plant to increase the body's natural defenses.

Thyme increases the activity of lymphocytes or defensive cells of the body, thus helping to fight off infections. (Take thyme in your dishes , eg in thyme soups) (Infusion of thyme, three cups a day of one teaspoon of dried flowers per cup).

 

Digestive properties of thyme

Thyme is a digestive plant. It has digestive, carminative and antipuretic properties. Thyme, used as an aromatic herb in meals or as an infusion after eating, favors digestion, prevents gastric and intestinal spasms (antispasmodic) and prevents the formation of putrid gases and retentions in the intestines, proving useful in case of Indigestion, flatulence, stomach pain or abdominal cramping.

The plant is a traditional remedy for . (Infusion of one teaspoon of flowering sums per cup of water, take 3 cups a day after meals) (Maceration of a handful of flowers in a white wine book.

 

Digestive stimulant

The essence of the plant opens the appetite, being very interesting in cases of anorexia or lack of appetite. For this purpose, many times the thyme is used in the preparation of different pickles and preserves that are served as starters, as is the case of olives (Add a sprig of flowers to any preparation)

propiedades del tomillo beneficios thymus vulgaris
Main medicinal properties of thyme and its indications. It is a great disinfectant and natural antibiotic.

 

Thyme as an emmenagogue and anti-inflammatory, for menstrual pain

Thyme has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic properties that help relieve menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea).

Thyme preparations lightly reduce the pain of menstruation and facilitates emptying (emenagogue use), avoiding the collateral problems that cause hormonal changes such as headache, stomach irritation , fluid retention and general irritability. (Infusion of one tablespoon of flowering tops.) 2 cups daily for one week before menstruation)

In a 2014 a study with 84 participants aged 19-23 was realized to test the efficacy of thyme compared with an anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen) in the treatment of menstrual pain. Three groups were divided: treated with ibuprofen (200 mg), with thyme (25 drops of essential oil diluted 2%) and with a placebo. Participants assessed their pain on a scale.

The results showed that thyme is as good as ibuprofen in the treatment of dysmenorrhea or menstrual pain.

The advantage of using thyme is that it lacks the side effects that drugs usually produce, such as headache, dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, acne or vomiting.

 

Thyme for the treatment of anemia

Thyme is especially useful when anemia occurs with high hepcidin and when it may be related to infectious causes, given the role of this plant as a stimulant of the immune system and antiseptic. (Infusion of one teaspoon of dry plant, take 3 cups a day) (Infusion of one tablespoon of dried plant per cup of water, drink 3 cups a day, usually take in food)

In addition, it is a very rich in iron plant that can help increase its contribution in food, provided it is accompanied by a diet rich in iron to overcome the deficiency in the body.

Thyme branch
Thyme branch with flowers

 

Thyme for cerebral circulation and lack of memory

Thyme contains narigenin, a flavonoid that promotes circulation because of its antiaggregating properties. In addition, it is also rich in niacin (vitamin B3), a very important compound for the supply of glucose to the brain as well as in the preservation of blood vessels.

All this is interesting in the treatment of anomalies that are related to a lack of cerebral blood supply, such as memory loss, lack of concentration, ... (Infusion of one tablespoon of dry plant per cup of water. Cups per day) These components together with rosmarinic acid make it also very suitable to decrease or avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness.

 

Other uses of thyme

- Migraines or headache: Especially when this pain affects one side of the head. (Infusion of a teaspoon of the mixture of dry flowers of linden, thyme and melissa)

- Tranquilizer: Thyme is a natural relaxing and very soft sleeping pill. In situations of tiredness or general heaviness (Here the amino acid lysine is very important, which is essential in the body so that young people have an adequate growth and whose lack can cause, among other symptoms, the sensation of fatigue or general heaviness). A very light infusion, at the rate of one teaspoon per cup of water helps to fall asleep.

Thyme infusion with lemon
Thyme infusion with lemon, delicious and medicinal

- Anti-rheumatic: Its richness in thymol makes it very suitable for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. (Infusion of a tablespoon of dry plant 3 cups daily) (External use: rub with massage oil with essential oil of thyme)

- Cancer: The possible properties of thyme against certain cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate cancer, are being investigated. It must be accompanied by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, foods with omega 3, and avoid red meats, processed meats, tobacco and alcohol.

In addition, introducing this herb into the diet could help alleviate some adverse effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, such as mucositis.

- Food poisoning: The antibiotic properties of this plant are collected in the wisdom of traditional cooking. Thyme is an ingredient that spices most hot dishes, such as stews, casseroles, legumes, etc. Precisely, these types of dishes are those that, when kept for hours, are more susceptible to contain germs and microbes (they have the ideal temperature for the growth of bacteria). Therefore, the use of this aromatic herb, in addition to providing an exceptional aroma, protects against food poisoning.

foto de tomillo
A field with thyme plants

- Amenorrhea: For amenorrhea or lack of temporary menstruation (Infusion of a spoonful of flowering tops. 2 daily cups during one week before the menstruation)

- Sedative and soft somniferous: Being anxious or exhausted, feeling tired or unable to sleep, you can take a sedative bath, by adding in the water a good quantity of infusion made with thyme flowers. (Amino acid lysine, which can become crucial for the youth to attain a normal growth, is very suitable here. Lacking it may lead, among another symptoms, to become tired.) (A light infusion , in a proportion of a tea spoonful per cup of water can help to sleep better.)

- Memory loss: It contains naringenin. Furthermore, thyme is rich in niacin (vitamin B3), a compound important to the supply of glucose to the brain and in the preservation of blood vessels. (Infusion of a spoonful of dried plant per cup of water. Drink two cups a day)

- Altitude sickness: rosmarinic acid and the flavonoid naringenin give it the same properties. It is also rich in niacin (vitamin B3), a compound important to the supply of glucose to the brain and in the preservation of blood vessels. This is interesting in the treatment of abnormalities that are associated with a lack of cerebral blood flow (infusion of one teaspoon of dried plant per cup of water. Take a couple of cups a day a couple of days before leaving for the mountain or ascension

Main curative properties of thyme

Medicinal properties of thyme

External use preparations with thyme plant

- Mouth: Having mouth disorders, as inflammations, wounds, bad breath (Gargles with the preparation seen above)

- Muscular pain: For muscular pain, such as in muscular distensions ,dislocations, muscular atrophy or multiple sclerosis apply a lotion on the painful area with oil of this plant.

Tomillo
Thyme flowers

- Fibromyalgia: Very useful as muscle relaxants (Rub the painful area with a mixture of 10 drops of their essential oils in two tablespoons of olive oil) (Add to bath water Infusion of 3 tablespoons of dried plant in a liter of water. Take a bath for 15 or 20 minutes)

- Backache or pain in the neck: Very useful as muscle relaxants in pain caused by stretching or straining too hard without prior preparation. (Rub the back or the cervicals with a mixture of 10 drops of essential oil in two tablespoons of olive oil. (Add 20 drops to bath water. Take a bath for 15 or 20 minutes) (Add to bath water the infusion of 3 tablespoons of dried plant in a liter of water. Take a bath for 15 to 20 minutes)

- Bad breath: In addition to combat bad breath, it is useful when problems arise in the mouth, such as inflammations or sores. (Rinses with the preparation of an infusion of dried flowers in a glass of water)

- Dental caries: (mouthwashes with the infusion of the flowers.)

- Cicatrizant - antiseptic- natural antibiotic: Clean the wounds with the liquid resulting from a heavy infusion of floral summits three or four times a day) . This is very useful for the treatment cuts, punctures, scratches, chafing or any type of wounds.

Very useful for scars, thyme is ideal for combating bacterial infections or prevent their occurrence. It is also very appropriate for acne, preventing some signs of it, such as pimples, to be infected causing pustules. Some bacterial eye diseases, such as conjunctivitis or styes, can be treated in the same way.

A syrup can be made with chamomile and thyme to aid wounds cicatrization .(More information about syrup to favor wound healing) soaked in this liquid on the eyes.

- Inflammation of the eyes: It helps to eliminate the eye infections that produce affections (Make an infusion with a tablespoon of flowering sums per glass of water. Apply a cold compress on the stye)

- Food odor: (Decoction for 1/4 hour of 100 g of dried plant per liter of water. Make a foot bath with this liquid warm. Rinse with cold water thoroughly dry and sprinkle talcum powder.)

- Black or purple nails: Make an infusion of whole dry plant . Dip the purple or black fingernail or toenail to reduce inflammation and prevent your nail to become black, bluish or purple.

- Ingrownnails: It has anti-perspirant and anti-bacterial properties, making it well suited to combat germs that can cause burning in feet or prevent excessive sweating, which could create an environment suitable for growth of microorganisms. (Decoction for quarter of an hour of 100 gr. of dried plant per liter of water. Make a foot bath with warm water. Rinse with cold water. Dry thoroughly and sprinkle talcum powder on them.)

- Irritations and genital infections: Thyme is a powerful antiseptic and with properties against infections by bacteria, candida and other fungi. Baths with thyme water help relieve itching and fight infection. Concentrate infusion of 3 teaspoons of dry plant per half liter of water Allow to cool, strain and make a bath 1 or even 3 times a day Dry the area after the bath and use clean clothes) (Do not use essential oil in genital areas) This remedy is also useful for hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

illustration
Illustration of the remedy with thyme described in the text to cure genital infections, anal fissures and hemorrhoids

- Antiseptic of the skin: It is adequate to prevent the wounds to become infected. It is applied to superficial wounds, cuts, sores, ulcers and injuries as healing and antiseptic. (Infusion 3 tablespoons of dry plant per half liter of water. Cool, strain and apply compress).

To improve the treatments can be accompanied by natural aloe gel or vegetable oils for the skin, which are skin friendly remedies and better tolerated than irritating cosmetic creams. Attention! In case of infected wounds or fever, consult a doctor !!

- Gums bleeding: (Mouthwashes with the infusion of whole plant)

  

Thyme baths for tired and sore feet

Due to its antiperspirant and bacteriostatic properties, it is well suited to prevent the proliferation of germs that can cause burning in the feet or avoid excess sweating which could create a suitable medium for the proliferation of microorganisms.

pediluvio tomillo pies cansados
Drawing courtesy of
©Dibujosparapintar

 

How to make a footbath with Thyme

In this sense, this plant can be considered as a good natural antibiotic. (Decoction for 1/4 of an hour of 100 g of dry plant per liter of water) Make a foot bath with warm water. Rinse with cold water, dry well and sprinkle talcum powder on your feet.

Other thyme remedies in external use

- Relaxing and very soft sleeping remedy: In situations of tiredness or general heaviness you can apply a relaxing bath by adding a good infusion of thyme flowers in your bath.

- Mouth: When problems appear in the mouth, such as inflammation, sores, pyorrhea, cavities or bad breath (Gargling with the preparation of an infusion of dried flowers in a liter of water)

- Skin healer and antiseptic: Wash the wounds with a well-infused floriferous tops three or four times a day.

- Antiperspirant: Can be used to combat excessive sweating of hands or feet. (Decoction of 100 grams of dry plant for 1/4 of an hour per liter of water Wash hands and feet) (With dry and ground plant sprinkle hands or feet and keep dust on them 3 hours)

- Mosquito repellent: Having alcohols and essential oils (specially carvacrol that has an industrial use as disinfectant and fungicide) it can be considered together with basil a good mosquito repellent , so that you can have it at home, placing it on a windowsill, in order to these insects not to approach so much to houses.

EDIBLE PROPERTIES OF THYME

Thyme as aromatic herb

Thyme is a good aromatic herb. It can be used to flavor the dishes, giving a typical flavor touch to the preparations that increase its medicinal properties. It is suitable to add to legume dishes in order to make them less flatulent.

It has also been used to flavor cheeses and even have come to eat tender shoots (flowers). The presence of niacin favors blood circulation, reduces cholesterol and avoids the symptom of indigestion, often associated with the lack of this element in the body.

thyme in flower fried in flour
Photo of thyme in flower fried in flour, a surprising and very aromatic recipe

 

What is the taste of thyme?

Thyme has a strong, sharp and warm taste. Fresh or dried leaves are often used in foods.

Its flavor may slightly remember oregano, because both are rich in carvacrol, the component that gives it a sharp taste. However, thyme, rich in thymol, is less spicy than carvacrol, and therefore the thyme has a milder taste than oregano.

It combines very well with other aromatic herbs and spices, such as rosemary, garlic, marjoram, savory, onion, nutmeg or lemon peel.

 

What foods does thyme combine with?

Thyme binds well with asparagus, beets, carrots, onions, all kinds of breads and sauces (especially in the "romesco sauce") and also balances the taste of meats, fish, cured and creamy cheeses.

 

Recipes with thyme, herbal medicine in the kitchen

Using thyme in food does not only bring medicinal properties, but it is highly nutritious due to the high content of potassium, calcium and antioxidants that this plant has.

Aromatic herbs do not appear in any food pyramid or nutritional guide, but they are nevertheless a very interesting component of the diet to improve health.

dried thyme
Photo of dried thyme, ready to be added to the recipes

 

Thyme for cholesterol and intestinal flora

Thyme has antioxidant properties and helps to preserve food better. For this reason, the maceration of thyme in virgin olive oil (or other unrefined oil) is an excellent combination. The essential oils and thyme flavonoids help the oil to better preserve all its properties.

In addition, it has been shown in scientific studies that the consumption of olive oil macerated in thyme was able to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") and increase the population of intestinal bifidobacteria.

For all this, it seems that aromatic herbal oil, such as thyme oil, is an excellent resource for improving cardiovascular health and for improving the intestinal microbiota.

 

Thyme for hypertension

Aromatic herbs, such as thyme, have great nutritional properties for hypertension. They stand out because they are the foods richest in potassium, a mineral with proven properties to improve hypertension, heart health and bones. A diet with little potassium has also been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.

Therefore, it is recommended that people with hypertension and heart problems incorporate daily abundant aromatic herbs to meals, especially thyme, for the properties mentioned.

 

Industrial uses of thyme

Thyme is also used to extract oils for industrial use. From it, products like anethole , used in the manufacture of perfumes, or carvacrol, can be extracted.

 

Dangers. Is thyme safe?

In the established doses, its use has no toxicity whatsoever. The daily amount of thymol corresponds to 1-4g per day of dry herb. The greatest adverse effects of thymol poisoning observed so far are dizziness, nausea, intestinal discomfort, headache and mental confusion.

However, when essential oil is used, it should never be used in cases of pregnancy, ulcer or heart problems. Cases of stomatitis, chelitis and skin irritations have been reported due to the use of dentifrices and shampoos that contained essential oil of this plant.

Excessive or prolonged use of the essential oil, due to its content in thymol, can produce hyperthyroidism or intoxication, due to irritation of the digestive system.

punto rojo More information on contraindications and thyme toxicity

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