||Whooping cough herb
Habitat: native to the Mediterranean region and
widely cultivated in Europe and the United States. It prefers limy, sandy, and
well-drained soil with sufficient sunlight.
Description: A perennial plant with numerous
procumbent stems, 6 to 12 inches high, covered with fine hair and pale brown
bark. The leaves are small, opposite, sessile, and gray-green with slightly
rolled edges. The small, blue-purple flowers are two-lipped and grow in dense,
whorled clusters, blooming from May to September.
Medicinal parts: leaves and
flowering tops - dried.
| Volatile oils
* For definition of some of the above terms
see the dictionary section of this book.
Thyme is well known throughout the world as a culinary
spice. As a tea, tincture, extract, and oil, it has demonstrated medicinal
properties. Primary among these properties is its effect on the
gastrointestinal tract, where it is antispasmodic, carminative, and
anthelmintic. Thyme is antispasmodic and expectorant in the respiratory system;
it is beneficial in the treatment of bronchial coughs, laryngitis, and whooping
cough. Like many other herbs with a high content of volatile oil, thyme has
strong antibacterial properties. In addition, the herb has hypotensive
(sedative) and cardiotonic characteristics. Thymol, a major constituent of
thyme's volatile oil, is powerful, and should not be used internally unless
directed by a physician.
Thyme contains a large concentration of volatile oil.
Normally, the primary component of that oil is thymol, but actually
concentration may vary greatly. Other constituents include carvacol, tannin,
flavonoids, caffeic acid, labiatic acid, ursolic acid and oleanolic acid. These
oils have antioxidant properties. A lipid fraction has been found to have
Thyme Has Antispasmodic and Cholagogue
As would be expected, thyme has good
antispasmodic action, due to its volatile oils. Hence, it has found verified
effectiveness in treating gastrointestinal problems and respiratory ailments,
such as coughs. The herb is a good carminative and expectorant. The herb is
also a good cholagogue, which helps contribute to its gastrointestinal
Thyme Has Good Antibacterial and
Like other volatile herbs, thyme is effective against a
host of gram negative and gram positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus
aureus, Escherichia coli, N. peraflava, B. subtilis and S. marescens. Incubated
at 37 degrees C. for seven days with the H37Rv strain of mycobacterium
tuberculosis, thyme extract produced inhibition at concentrations lower than
1:80 but higher than 1:40. Thymol is a good disinfectant also, supposedly 25
times as powerful as phenol.
Thyme Is Hypotensive, Cardiotonic, and a
When administered orally or intramuscularly to rabbits, it
has caused arterial hypotension accompanied by increased rhythmic contraction
of the heart. At higher dosages, it also increased respiratory frequency.
Intravenous injections in cats of a 5% emulsion of the oil at 5-10 mg/kg
increased respiratory volume and lowered blood pressure.
Thyme Is Anthelmintic
The anthelmintic property of thyme is supported in the
scientific literature. Hookworms are reported to be especially susceptible to
The antituberculous activity of thyme may potentiate the
adverse effects of other antituberculous drugs, especially ethionamide.
The tannin in thyme may potentiate the antibiotic activity
of echinacea. The tannin in tea made from the herb may be inactivated by the
addition of milk or cream.
By sequestering thyme, mineral oil may reduce the herb's
anthelmintic effect. The same may be true, to a lesser extent, of antacids.
The anti-inflammatory activity of thyme can be seriously
inhibited by phenobarbital and certain other sedatives and hypnotics, such as
chloral hydrate and meprobamate. This is also true of beta-adrenergic blocking
agents, such as propranolol.
Due to the spasmolytic nature of thyme, it may interact in
unknown ways with CNS-depressants or stimulants.
To minimize the risk of central nervous system depression
and possible synergism, thyme should not be taken by persons on procarbazine
In the absence of other hard data, it may be assumed that
observable interactions occur between the many central nervous system drugs and
the psychoactive principles in thyme.
There is evidence to show that combined use of
bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents will lower the effectiveness of the
bacteriostatic agent. However, how this finding applies to herbal
anti-infectives is still unknown.
Thyme and thyme oil are generally recognized as safe by
the FDA. However, thyme oil can irritate the skin when applied topically. Taken
internally in large doses, it is poisonous. Thymol is especially toxic, and can
produce the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, gastritis, headache,
dizziness, convulsions, coma, cardiac arrest, and respiratory collapse.