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Worth knowing about the medicinal plant THYME

Photo: Uschi Dreiucker /

Thyme herb (Herba Thymi)

Thymus vulgaris (True Thyme) and Thymus zygis (Spanish Thyme)

Thyme contains THYMOL and is one of the most valuable medicinal herbs for cold cough.


Traditional medicinal plant

The use of thyme in bronchitis and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract runs like a thread through all eras of traditional herbal drug use. This could also be impressively confirmed today by experimental research.

Synonyms: its many names testify to the long tradition of medicinal use of thyme

English: Common Thyme; Garden Thyme; Rubbed Thyme; Herb of Thyme; Mother of Thyme.

German: Real thyme; Garden thyme; Common thyme; Roman thyme; Welscher Thyme; Kuttelkraut; Spanish Kudelkraut; Kunerle; Chicken cabbage; Humility; Virgin humility; Marikenbettstroh; Common Chölm; Kölm; Immenkraut; Zimis; Tymon, Thymos, Thymiama (Greek); Thymus (Roman); Stephane, tham (Egyptians)
French: Herbe de thym


Thyme is a richly branched 10 cm to 40 cm tall perennial dwarf shrub of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Due to its many small gray-green elliptical leaves and hair on the underside, the thyme has adapted to the hot and dry climate of its homeland, the Mediterranean shrub heath. Most he finds himself in stony and lean-soil areas.

Applied plant parts and medicinal preparations of thyme

The drug consists of the whole abgerebelten, dried leaves and flowers of the genuine and Spanish thyme predominantly comes from controlled cultivation. Since the composition and the content of essential oil varies greatly depending on the type of thyme, growing conditions and origin, the pharmacopoeia prescribes a minimum content of the essential oil.
Thyme preparations: Medicinal tea (Herba thymi) - Thyme syrup (Syrupus THYMI / PHYTOBENE THYMI) - Thyme extract (Extractum Thymi fluidum)

Active ingredients of thyme herb

The main ingredient is the essential thyme oil which consists of so-called terpenes such as THYMOL (30% - 50%), Carvacol (3% - 5%) but also cineole. Likewise Lamiaceen tannins of which predominantly rosmarinic acid (~ 4%) is included, but also flavonoids and triterpenes (antioxidants).
Thymic oil with the main constituent THYMOL is regarded as the pharmacologically most important active ingredient of thyme.

The healing effects of thyme herb

The thyme belongs to the aromatic medicinal plants.
Thyme herb and its preparations can contribute to the liquefaction of tough bronchial mucus and to a relaxation of the bronchial musculature. This can promote the removal of the bronchial mucus and facilitate coughing.
Thyme is therefore used in the treatment of colds of the respiratory tract with viscous mucus and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.

Mechanism of action

The effectiveness determining ingredients are THYMOL and carvacrol, two phenolic monoterpenes. The essential thyme oil has a pronounced antibacterial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Thyme extracts with a defined proportion of essential oil and flavonoids inhibit in vitro dose-dependently and reversibly the experimentally induced spasm of the bronchial musculature on the isolated guinea pig trachea.
With the fluid extract also its anti-inflammatory effects could be detected.

In addition to the long tradition as a medicinal plant for bronchitis and whooping cough promoted the recent research that envisages the whole range of ingredients of the "multi-ingredient-thyme" a number of promising new effects. On further results of the relatively young thyme research may wait curiously.

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