Thyme or Thymus vulgaris is a revered medicinal plant that has been around for centuries. It can be noted as one of the great medicinal plants due to its use throughout history for numerous purposes. It belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, part of the mint family. Common names of this medicinal plant include Thyme, Wild Thyme or Common Thyme. Thyme is a very aromatic herb commonly used in cooking. It does however, have a very wide range of medicinal uses and abilities.
In ancient history and folklore, there are plenty of notations of this plant. Thyme is one of the first herbs to be used as incense, mainly because of its rich fragrance. Folklore states that anywhere that thyme grows wild is a place that is blessed by fairies. People would plant thyme in their gardens in hopes that it would attract magical visitors. It is also mentioned in literature that a pillow stuffed with thyme would prevent nightmares and cause the person to have pleasant dreams. Civilizations in the Mediterranean were familiar with the health promoting benefits of thyme and how easy it was to cultivate the shrub. The Romans grew thyme for purification and to add flavor to their foods. Ancient Greek temples were scented with thyme incense. Egyptian writings mention the use of thyme for embalming. Valiant knights were given thyme for courage in the Middle Ages. It came to North America with the first colonists, primarily as a food preservative and for medical treatment.
The list of medicinal uses of thyme is as long as its history. Thymus has been used as an analgesic, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, antispasmodic, antitussive, expectorant, antiseptic, sedative and as a digestive aid.
Very effective against infections, especially in the respiratory and digestive tract, thyme can also be taken for numerous ailments. This would include diarrhea, stomach pain, colic, gastritis, flatulence, bad breath, intestinal parasites and bed-wetting issues.
Thyme is one of the well-known herbs for cough, congestion and as a cold remedy. It acts as an expectorant to clear the lungs of mucous as well as an antitussive, to calm coughing spasms. This makes it beneficial in cases of whooping cough and bronchitis. It also helps to relieve a sore throat and relieve aches and pains associated with the flu.
It is also worth mentioning the other uses of thyme which include: aromatherapy, cosmetics, perfumes, herbal teas, insect repellant, oral care, cuts and wounds, boil treatment, lice treatment, toe nail fungus, hair loss, depression, fatigue, headache, insomnia, snoring, skin conditions, anxiety and stress.
Due to thyme’s long history of treating many medical ailments this is one medicinal plant to keep in your pantry. One might also consider planting it in your garden next summer.