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Lemon Thyme

Image taken from Culpepper’s English Physician; and complete herbal. This book can be found in the John Martin Rare Book Room at Hardin Library.

Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)

Thymus x citriodorus, an interspecific hybrid between Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) and Thymus pulegioides (Broad-leaved Thyme) is a perennial subshrub in the mint family (Lamiaceae). This medicinal and aromatic plant has a rose-lemon-like flavor, supposedly inherited from T. pulegioides (Lundgren L, 1982; Stahl-Biskup E, 1995). Because of its pleasant aroma and flavor, Thymus x citriodorus is commonly found in various herbal tea blends and offered as a condiment for fish dishes (Jurevičiūtė, Ložienė, Bruno, Maggio, & Rosselli, 2019). A study has shown that its essential oils showed good effectiveness and the broadest spectrum of the samples evaluated for antimicrobial activity (Sacchetti G, 2005).

Historical Use

Historical information on the use of lemon thyme can be found in Nicholas Culpepper’s English Physician; and complete herbal written in 1798.  Lemon Thyme has been used to strengthen the lungs and to purge the body of phlegm.  An ointment made from lemon thyme has been used to remove warts and ease pains in the spleen.   

Excerpt from Nicholas Culpepper’s English Physician. This book can be found in the John Martin Rare Book Room at Hardin Library.

Latest Research


Jurevičiūtė, R., Ložienė, K., Bruno, M., Maggio, A., & Rosselli, S. (2019). Composition of essential oil of lemon thyme (Thymus × citriodorus) at different hydrodistillation times. Nat Prod Res, 33(1), 80-88. doi:10.1080/14786419.2018.1434642 

Lundgren L, Stenhagen G. (1982). Leaf volatiles from Thymus vulgaris, T. serpyllum, T. praecox, T. pulegioides 

and T. × citriodorus (Labiatae). Nord J Bot., 2, 445-452.  

Sacchetti G, Muzzoli M, Scaglianti M, Manfredini S, Radice M, Bruni R. (2005). Comparative evaluation of 11 essential oils of different origin as functional antioxidants, antiradicals and 

antimicrobials in foods. Food Chemistry., 91, 621-632.  

Stahl-Biskup E, Holthuijzen. J. (1995). Essential oil and glycosidically bound volatiles of lemon-scented 

thyme, Thymus × citriodorus (Pers.) Schreb. Flav Fragr J., 10, 225-229.