Popular names: thyme, mountain thyme. Parts Used: Aboveground parts of plants.
Pharmacy name: thyme herb – Serpylli herba (formerly: Herba Serpylli).
Botanical description. This semi-shrub traditionally develops from a thin lignified rhizome numerous creeping or ascending stems up to 15 cm long, rounded or faceted, glabrous or pubescent. The leaves are small, linear or ovoid, entire-marginal and often also pubescent. The rose-red flowers are borne in capitate whorls or short spikes at the top of the stems. The whole plant, especially the flowers and leaves, contains a lot of essential oil and therefore has a strong and characteristic odour. Blooms from May to August. It occurs in dry rocky places, along slopes and along roadsides, also in sunny forest glades and edges, even on rocks and walls. Often forms luxurious turfs.
Collection and preparation. Flowering grass is harvested without roots and immediately air-dried in the shade.
Active ingredients: essential oil, a little tannin, bitterness, flavonoids (probably saponins).
Healing action and application. The main active ingredient of this and other thyme is an essential oil that has antispasmodic and disinfectant properties. Lungs and bronchi, stomach, and intestines are the organs that are treated with thyme; it alleviates irritating coughs, even in whooping cough, revitalizes the activity of the stomach and intestines, stimulates the appetite, so that food is better digested. Most often, tea is made from this medicinal plant, which is drunk with sweetened honey for coughing, and unsweetened in case of disorders of the gastrointestinal activity.
- Thyme tea: 1-2 teaspoons topped with herbs, pour J/4 liters of boiling water, let steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Dosage: 3 cups every day. The German National Health Service recommends thyme only for catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract.
Use as a condiment. Healing plants that have an aromatic smell, which means they contain a lot of essential oil, are very often used as a seasoning. This also applies to thyme, especially since one variety of it has a smell that strongly resembles lemon. Thyme is readily used fresh as an aromatic additive to salads of various kinds, including fruit salads, in the latter case, however, very carefully. Dried thyme is good to season very fatty dishes, which are better absorbed due to this. Fried potatoes, scrambled eggs with bacon, fatty fish dishes and strong soups are particularly well digested when thyme is added.
My special advice. There are people who do not tolerate eggs, especially hard-boiled, both in their pure form (then the egg lies on their stomach like a stone), and in salads. For them, a spice mix that contains thyme, wormwood, rosemary and a little salt is a real boon. Egg for breakfast and egg dishes seasoned with this mixture are more digestible.
- Seasoning mix: Thyme powder 5.0 Rosemary powder 2.0 Wormwood powder 1.0 Salt 12.0
Application in folk medicine. This fragrant herb is very loved in folk medicine. It treats cough and lung diseases, flatulence and intestinal diseases – as a rule, successfully. Use tea, the preparation of which has already been described above. Medieval herbalists glorify thyme as a “female remedy”, in folk medicine tea from it is recommended during menstruation. In addition, an alcohol extract (thyme alcohol) is used as a rub for rheumatism and gout. In the same way, dislocations, sprains and bruises are treated. There are all sorts of cooking methods here. An alcohol tincture suitable for consumption is obtained if 20 g of thyme herb is poured into 250 g of 70% alcohol and allowed to brew for 10 days. After the surgical removal of toenails – according to the pharmacologist G. W. Aitzen, a foot bath with thyme is very useful.