Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thymus vulgaris Introduction

Thyme is the common name for all the herbs of thymus species which are small, perennial plants native to Asia and Europe. Garden or common type of thyme is considered to be the principal type and is used commercially for ornamental purposes. This herb is also known as the mother-of-thyme because of its use in uterine disorders and in domestic medicine.

Its Latin name is Thymus vulgaris and it belongs to the family Lamiaceae.


A low growing perennial plant of 40cm tall with fibrous roots and woody stalks. Leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets) and born on erect stems which are 1/8 inch long and 1/16 inch broad, greenish grey in color and set in pairs upon very small foot stalks. Flowers of this herb are borne in summer and are very attractive. The calyx is striated, tubular, closed at the mouth and divided into two lips in which the uppermost is cut into three teeth and the lowermost into two teeth. This herb has an aromatic smell and pungent taste. Its fruit is dry and does not split open when ripe.

It was cultivated in England and now is widely distributed in the mountains of Spain and other European countries.

Part Used

Aerial parts and oil are the most commonly used parts of the plant for its medicinal and commercial purposes.

Medicinal Properties

  • Rasa (Taste): Tikta (Bitter) and Kashaya (Astringent)
  • Guna (Qualities): Rooksha (Dry), Tikshna (Sharp) and Laghu (Light for Digestion)
  • Veerya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
  • Vipaka: Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after the digestion process)
  • Karma (Actions): Kapha-Vata Shamaka (Vitiates Kapha and Vata dosha)

What are the Benefits of Thyme?

Thyme is well known for its various medicinal benefits. Its flowers, leaves, and oil have been used to treat various diseases. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that make it an effective remedy for cough, cold and other respiratory related disorders. Its extract lowers down the blood pressure level and also rich in vitamin K, calcium and iron. The calcium present in it maintains the healthy bones. Its leaves are rich in potassium, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and selenium and all these are essential for maintaining the normal body functions.

What are the Therapeutic Uses of Thyme?

Helps in Controlling Blood Pressure

Thyme leaves contain potassium which is the most important component of cells and body fluids that controls the blood pressure and heart rate. An extract of this herb has also been known to maintain the blood pressure level in hypertension (high blood pressure).

Muscle Cramps

Thyme has an anti-inflammatory property which makes it effective in treating muscle cramps and other spasms in the body. Doctors often recommend thyme tea for the treatment of PMS in females.

Treats Anemia

Thyme is the richest source of iron. It is vital for the growth and development of RBCs in the body. As iron deficiency in the body can cause anemia so incorporating thyme in the daily diet can help to prevent anemia.

Healthy Bones

Thyme contains vitamin K and is the richest source of iron, calcium, and manganese. All these minerals work and play a crucial role in bone health, promote bone growth and development and reduce the risk of bone-related disorders. Thus thyme helps in keeping the bones healthy and prevents bone diseases.

Hair Growth

Thyme provides nutrients to the hair follicles for hair growth by improving the blood circulation to the scalp. Applying thyme essential oil on the scalp helps to facilitate the delivery of nutrients to the scalp thus encourages the growth of hair. It also prevents the hair fall and thinning of hair and because of its antibacterial properties, it is also effective in the treatment of dandruff.

Treats Sore Throat

Thyme has antibiotic and antiseptic properties due to which it is an effective remedy for colds and coughs. It is also useful in the treatment of bronchitis. Thyme oil is the most wonderful natural antimicrobial which is useful in the treatment of sore throat.

Antibacterial Action

Thyme has antibacterial action on the body which fights against infections and diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. It kills the bacteria inside and outside the body. Thus, it is also used for disinfecting skin and other surfaces.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Thyme has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that prevent chronic inflammation, which is the main cause of cardiovascular diseases. It is particularly known for its anti-spasmodic properties which helps in promoting cardiac health. It also maintains the proper functioning of cardiac valves and relaxes the arteries and veins, thus reduces the blood pressure and provides strength to the heart.

Treats Acne

Thyme has antibacterial action which fights against the acne-causing bacteria. It also keeps the skin healthy by eliminating the bacteria which are responsible for causing various skin related issues. Its essential oil can be diluted with water and used as a toner that tightens the mature skin.