Thymus vulgaris

parts used: dried leaves and flowering tops.

collection: the flowering branches are collected between June and August on a dry, sunny day. Dry the branches then strip the leaves and flowers off and store in an airtight container.

cultivation: thyme is not the easiest herb to grow from seed. Many varieties exist and can be found in most garden centres as small plants. It enjoys full sun in a rich well-drained compost and will be very happy in a pot on the patio.

constituents: thymol, carvacrol, thymol, linalol, borneol, bitter principles, tannin, flavonoids, triterpenoids.

actions: carminative, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, expectorant, antitussive, astringent, anthelmintic, antifungal, anti-oxidant, antiseptic.


respiratory system

Thyme’s action as an antimicrobial, antitussive, expectorant makes it a powerful remedy for all coughs and chest infections. It is active against viral and bacterial infections and has a gentle warming action helping to push out those chilly feelings associated with sore throats, flu, colds and bronchitis, especially in the winter time.

digestive system

It is an anthelmintic; garden Thyme is known to be active against hookworm. As an antispasmodic and carminative for the digestive system it is a good herb for dyspepsia and sluggish digestion.

genitourinary system

Its antimicrobial action is of most use in treating this system of the body as it is active against the pathogens which cause thrush and cystitis. It is most effective used as a tea but it is too hot a herb to use as a douche or to add to the bath.

contraindications: none known – however, the essential oil can irritate sensitive skin and I avoid using it topically.

preparations and dosage

tea: half to 1 teaspoon per cup, infuse for 15 minutes. Drink three times daily, or every hour in acute cases.

tincture: 1 part herb to 5 parts 45% alcohol, macerate for 8 days and strain. Take 30–60 drops in water three times daily.


For chesty coughs use it with a soothing demulcent such as Marshmallow leaf and an immune enhancer such as Echinacea. For a sore throat use with lymphatic tonics such as Calendula and another astringent like Sage or Myrrh. Echinacea can also be added for its numbing action when gargled. In treating cystitis it blends well with Marshmallow and Cornsilk.

This is an extract from Sorrell’s book

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