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Friday, May 18, 2007


Thyme, or garden thyme, consists of the leaves and flowering tops of Thymus vulgaris, an herb with anthelmintic, antispasmodic, bronchiospamolytic, carminative, sedative, diaphoretic and expectorant properties.

The most common traditional internal uses of thyme include treating throat and bronchial problems, diarrhea, cronic gastritis, and lack of apetite. External conditions include neurasthenia, rheumatic problems, paralysis, bruises, swellings, sprains, and shingles.

Thyme contains 0.8 to 2.6% of a volatile oil called "thyme oil' which is generally considered its active component. The oil is composed of various phenols, monoterpene hydrocarbons, alcohol and other volatiles, including thymol and carvacrol. Apart from thyme oil thyme also contains tannin, flavonoids, triterpenes (ursolic acid and oleanolic acid), phenolic acids (caffeic and labiatic) and other biologicallly active nutrients. Ursolic acid and oleanolic acid are known to have various biological activites (see ligustrum and mume).

Thymol has antispasmodic, expectorant, carminative, anthelmintic (esp. hookworm) and antimicrobial (bacteria and fungi) effects and is used in mouthwashes and toothpaste for its antiseptic properties. But it is also very toxic if accidentallly ingested, although not in the amounts usuallly used in the above products. Just don't drink you r wouthwash!

To give thyme a litlle more credit as a good herb, laboratories have shown that thyme oil, thymol, and labiatic acid all to have antioxidant properties.

Dr. Albert Leung’s book, Better Health with (mostly) Chinese Herbs and Food discusses the use of 60 different herbs as healing foods, including thyme on page 87. For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit www.earthpower.com.

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