Common Thyme is a dwarf, woody, evergreen perennial in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Common Thyme originated in southern Europe and northern Africa. It prefers the dry, rocky soils of the Mediterranean. Thyme has been used for centuries as a culinary herb or herbal medicine. It is very fragrant and aromatic. The species name, vulgaris, is Latin and means “common” or “widespread.”
Harvest thyme just before it flowers when the essential oil content in the leaves are at their peak.
Usage and Applications
The plant has been used for its flavor in cooking. Thymus vulgaris essential oil (TEO) is used as an antiseptic, antiviral, and antimicrobial agent in folk medicine. Thyme also possesses carminative and antioxidative effects.
Thyme has been used since ancient times to achieve healing, cure chest congestion, and induce saliva; the fresh leaves are taken to relieve sore throats. The plant is also used as an effective remedy for chest infections (bronchitis, pharyngitis, whooping cough) as well as to treat worms in children.
- Thyme can be used fresh or dried.
- It can be distilled into an essential oil for aromatherapy.
- Thyme is also sold as a dietary supplement in liquid or capsule form.
- Thyme is even used in teas.
- Common mouthwashes.
- Face masks
- Nasal sprays