Creeping thyme – wild thyme (harvesting and storage)

Thymus seniyllum L. Ukrainian name – borovy thyme, popular names – bonnet, chebrik, shchebrik, chober, cheber, chiber; divine grass.


Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family.

The herb is used for medicinal purposes. It occurs in Polissya, more often in the right-bank part of Ukraine on the sands, in sparse forests, forest edges and clearings, in young forest plantations. In some places it forms almost continuous thickets, but in small areas. Preparations are possible in Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv regions.

Stocks of raw materials are quite large. Average annual harvesting of grass in the republic in 1974-1976 amounted to 27.2 tons.

Creeping thyme – creeping, Low (up to 10-15 cm in height) semi-shrub with a woody stem, from which thin twigs extend. The leaves are small (5-10 mm long), elliptical or elongated elliptical, opposite, short-petiolate, entire, with lateral veins convex below. The flowers are small, two-lipped, with a purple corolla, collected in axillary rings, forming inflorescences similar to heads on the tops of the branches. Fruits – four-nut, in a cup. The plant blooms in June – July. The fruits ripen in August.

In Ukraine, there are more than 35 types of thyme, which differ in appearance, content and composition of the essential oil, but the producers do not distinguish between them. Collecting all of them is allowed. The most commonly harvested is the widespread Marshall thyme (Thymus marschallianus Willd.), which grows in the Steppe and Forest-Steppe.

Grass is harvested during flowering, cutting off shoots without coarse lignified parts with knives or sickles.

Dry in the open air or, better, in attics under an iron roof, under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a layer of 5-7 cm on paper or cloth and stirring frequently. Then they thresh and separate coarse stems on sieves or winnowers. The yield of dry raw materials is 25%.

According to FS 875-74, the raw material consists of a mixture of leaves (within a length of 15 mm and a width of 7 mm) and flowers with an admixture of thin twigs. The leaves are green, the calyxes are brownish-red, the corollas are blue-purple. The smell is fragrant, aggravated by rubbing. The taste is bitter-spicy, slightly pungent. Humidity is not higher than 13%. No more than (percent) is allowed in raw materials: stems thicker than 0.5 mm – 10, organic and mineral impurities – 1 each. Ash content is allowed no more than 12%, and not soluble in 10% hydrochloric acid – 5%. Extractive substances extracted with 30% alcohol should be at least 18%.

Raw materials are packed in bags weighing 15-20 kg or bales of 40-50 kg. Stored in dry, well-ventilated rooms in the group of essential oil raw materials on undercarriages. Storage period up to 2 years.

Creeping thyme contains an essential oil, the main component of which is thymol, tannins and bitter substances, resins, pigment. It is used mainly as an expectorant for bronchitis and other diseases of the upper respiratory tract (pertussin product, liquid extract) and as an analgesic for neuritis and radiculitis. Thymol is an antifungal and antihelminthic agent.

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