Thymus vulgaris

A perennial woody garden herb growing up to 30cm (1ft) in height. Thyme is an aromatic, delicate herb covered in short hairs. The grey/green leaves are opposites with bountiful oil globules. The tiny, bell shaped flowers are pink-light purple in colour. Nutlets are dark brown.

Family: Laminaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Thyme is a key herb in Breathe

Habit and cultivation: A Mediterranean native now growing as a cultivated garden herb in most areas of the world. Grown from seed or cutting and will self sow. It is often necessary to add lime to the soil for a good crop as thyme insists on a pH of at least 6.

Actions (known for): Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tussive, expectorant, antiseptic, carminative, spasmolytic, bitter tonic, astringent and anthelmintic.


One of the most commonly used herbs world wide and acknowledged since Ancient Egyptian (embalming) times. Popular among the Roman emperors as a cure for food poisoning. A farewell gift to soldiers, part of the treatment for the Black death and widely used in the kitchen.

Parts used:

Leaves, harvested just before flowering.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Volatile oil: thymol 40%, carvacrol, cymol, borneol and linalool. Tannins. Bitters. Flavonoids. Triterpenoid saponins

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: B-complex, C and D. Minerals: rich in iodine, smaller amounts of other minerals vary.


Bronchitis, diarrhoea, enuresis, gastritis and tonsillitis.


Liquid extract (1:2): 15-40ml per week. Infusion: 1-4g 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Whooping cough and bronchitis.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Avoid during first and second trimester of pregnancy.

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