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Garden Thyme

This image of Thyme comes the first edition of De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, a book produced by Leonhart Fuchs in 1542 and one of the most celebrated herbals of the sixteenth century. It features over 500 woodcut illustrations, each hand colored.  
This book, as well as an 1807 edition of Culpeper’s herbal, is available in the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.  

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Native to the Mediterranean region of Europe but cultivated in many part of the world, Thyme is a perennial member of the Mint family commonly used as a culinary herb (Erol et al., 2014; Vetvicka & Vetvickova, 2016). Ancient Sumerian and Egyptian cultures used Thyme to embalm the dead and for its medicinal properties; the Romans flavored cheese and alcoholic beverages with it, and burned it to ward off dangerous animals (Halmai, 1972). In modern times, Thyme has been used to treat bronchitis, laryngitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colds, pneumonia, asthma, diarrhea, gastritis, headache, ringworm, athlete’s foot, scabies, herpes, and wounds (Akram & Rashid, 2017). Some of these diverse used may be related to reports documenting Thyme’s antimicrobial activity (Sienkiewicz, Łysakowska, Denys, & Kowalczyk, 2012).

Historical Use

Historical information on the use of Thyme is included in Nicolas Culpepper’s book The English Physician and Complete Herbal written in 1652. Thyme has been used to strengthen the lungs, to purge the body of phlegm, as a remedy for shortness of breath, and to kill worms in the belly. It was applied as an ointment to remove “hot swellings” and warts, and to ease pains in the spleen, the loins, and hips. Ingested, Thyme would provide comfort to the stomach and promote flatulence.

Historical information on the use of thyme can be found in Nicholas Culpepper’s English Physician; and complete herbal written in 1798. .

Latest Research

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Akram, M., & Rashid, A. (2017). Anti-coagulant activity of plants: mini review. Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis, 44(3), 406-411. doi:10.1007/s11239-017-1546-5

Erol, S., Aydin, B., Dilli, D., Okumus, N., Zenciroglu, A., & Gunduz, M. (2014). An interesting newborn case of fructose 1-6 diphosphatase deficiency triggered after thyme juice ingestion. Clínica y Laboratorio, 60(1), 151-153. doi:10.7754/clin.lab.2013.130245

Halmai, J. (1972). Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as employed for the ancient methods of embalming. Therapia Hungarica, 20(4), 162-165.

Sienkiewicz, M., Łysakowska, M., Denys, P., & Kowalczyk, E. (2012). The antimicrobial activity of thyme essential oil against multidrug resistant clinical bacterial strains. Microb Drug Resist, 18(2), 137-148. doi:10.1089/mdr.2011.0080

Vetvicka, V., & Vetvickova, J. (2016). Essential Oils from Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Chemical Composition and Biological Effects in Mouse Model. Journal of Medicinal Food, 19(12), 1180-1187. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.0029

Other Links

Natural Medicines record for Thyme (access UI only)