Archive for category Thyme'

The Medicinal Uses of Thyme

The uses of thyme, Thymus vulgaris and other Thymus species are well known, and extensive parts of the world get benefit from this plant group in medicinal and non-medicinal respects. Following the development of the medicinal uses of thyme we can see that thyme has changed from a traditional herb to a serious drug in rational phytotherapy. This is due to many pharmacological in vitro experiments carried out during the last decades, and even a few clinical tests. The studies have revealed well defined pharmacological activities of both, the essential oils and the plant extracts, the antibacterial and spasmolytical properties being the most important ones. The use of thyme in modern phytotherapy is based on this knowledge, whereas the traditional use of thyme describes only empirical results and often debatable observations. Therefore it seems necessary to present here the data available on the pharmacodynamics of thyme and thyme preparations in order to substantiate the use of thyme in modern medicine. The non-medicinal use of thyme is no less important, because thyme (mainly Thymus vulgaris) is used in the food and aroma industries. It serves as a preservative for foods and is a culinary ingredient widely used as Read more […]

Pharmacological Effects of Thyme

Antimicrobial effects of thyme essential oils and thyme preparations Antibacterial effects The first researcher who attributed antibacterial properties to thyme (without specifying the species) was Chamberlain in 1887, after observing the antibacterial effect of its “vapours” on Bacillus anthracis. Since then, numerous studies with essential oils of different species of Thymus have been carried out. They were shown to inhibit a broad spectrum of bacteria, generally Gram-positive bacteria being more sensitive than Gram-negative bacteria. This became obvious in some screening studies administering Thymus oils to a variety of bacteria. Recently the antibacterial activity of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) oil against some important food-borne pathogens, namely Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter jejuni, was tested. The latter was found to be the most resistant of the bacteria investigated. In another study it was shown that the essential oil of thyme and especially its phenols, thymol and carvacrol, have antibacterial acivity against periodontopathic bacteria including Actinobacillus, Capnocytophaga, Fusobacterium, Eikenella, and Bacteroides species, and Read more […]

Spasmolytic effects of Thyme

The spasmolytic properties are commonly considered as the major action of thyme preparations. In this regard Thymus vulgaris is the most representative species. Therefore many publications have focused on the effects of thyme preparations on smooth muscles, especially rat and guinea pig intestines, such as duodenum and ileum, guinea pig trachea.. seminal vesicles and rabbit jejunum. Two different protocols are typically followed: (i) The isolated smooth muscle is first contracted using several agonists (acetylcholine, histamine, adrenaline, nicotine and BaCl2) and the thyme preparations are subsequently added until maximum relaxation is achieved. The spasmolytical effect is evaluated by measuring the maximum relaxant effect and the ED50 (contraction that produces 50 per cent of the maximum spasmolytic response), (ii) The isolated smooth muscle is first incubated with the thyme preparations; the modification of the dose-response curves produced by the contracting agents are calculated. In this protocol, the relaxant agent remains in the bath throughout the experiment. The use of various spasmogens with different mechanisms of action causing muscle contraction can provide information on the pharmacological Read more […]

The Non-Medicinal Use of Thyme

Thyme as a food preservative Due to their antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities numerous aromatic plants, such as thyme, have been used and are still being used as food preservatives. As was described before, the essential oils of thyme present a marked antimicrobial activity. This activity has been demonstrated to include bacteria responsible for alterations in food. Aureli carried out a study on the antimicrobial activity of diverse essential oils of plants widely used in the food industry against Listeria monocytogenes (bacteria implicated in alterations in food). Only the essential oils of cinnamon, clove, marjoram, pepper and thyme presented antimicrobial activity. Researchers have also demonstrated that a number of aromatic plants, including thyme, have a marked antifungal activity against food spoiling fungi. The high antimycotic activity of clove and thyme was tested for their possible use as preservatives for agricultural commodities by El-Maraghy. Both species completely inhibited aflatoxin production in lentil seeds for an eight week incubation period. Antioxidant activity can also be responsible for a preservative activity, especially in preventing oxidation of lipids in food. This was studied by Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Thyme

Thymus vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Common thyme, French thyme, Garden thyme, Rubbed thyme. Thymus aestivus Reut. ex Willk., Thymus ilerdensis Gonz. Frag, ex Costa., Thymus x valentinus Rouy., Thymus webbianus Rouy, Thymus welwitschii Boiss. subsp ilerdensis (Gonz. Frag, ex Costa) Nyman, and Thymus zygis L. are also used. Not to be confused with wild thyme, which is Thymus serpyllum L. Pharmacopoeias Thyme (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Thyme Oil (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Thymol (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008); Wild Thyme (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The major non-volatile constituents of thyme are the flavonoids including apigenin, eriodictyol, luteolin, naringenin and others. Other non-volatile constituents include caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, saponins and tannins. The oil contains up to 70% thymol, with carvacrol, p-cymene, linalool, alpha-terpineol and thujan-4-ol. Other species contain similar constituents, although some varieties contain less thymol and more of the other components. Use and indications Thyme is used traditionally as a carminative, spasmolytic and antimicrobial, particularly Read more […]

Thyme: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• Although thyme is used as a cooking spice, it is also used medicinally to treat common upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis and asthma, dyspepsia and diarrhea. • Thyme extract is used as a gargle for pharyngitis or applied topically (5% dilution) as a compress to wounds due to its antimicrobial and astringent activities. • Thyme has not been significantly investigated in controlled trials, so much information is based on traditional use or evidence of activity. • Thyme has antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antitussive, astringent and anthelmintic activities as demonstrated in vitro or in animal studies. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? When taken internally, thyme is used to treat bronchitis, symptoms of the common cold, diarrhoea and dyspepsia. It is also used as an antiseptic gargle for sore throats and can be diluted and applied externally to minor wounds. When will it start to work? The lack of human studies for this herb make it difficult to determine when effects will start to occur. Are there any safety issues? Thyme should not be used by people allergic to the Labiatae family of plants or in pregnancy, and used Read more […]

Thyme: Adverse Reactions. Significant Interactions. Pregnancy Use

The volatile oil is considered an irritant topically and can cause nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, convulsions, cardiac or respiratory arrest if taken internally. As such, the crude herb is considered far safer. Contact dermatitis reactions have been reported with topical. Significant Interactions Thyme may induce enzymes in phase one and two detoxification in the liver (Sasaki et al 2005). The clinical significance of this is unknown. Contraindications and Precautions Contraindicated in people who are allergic to the Labiatae family of plants. Other cautions are gastritis, enterocolitis and congestive heart failure. Pregnancy Use Essential oil not recommended in pregnancy.

Thyme: Clinical Use. Dosage

Thyme has not been significantly investigated in controlled studies, therefore information is generally derived from evidence of activity and traditional use and the clinical significance is unknown. RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS Thyme extract has been used to treat the common cold, bronchitis, laryngitis and tonsillitis. It is orally ingested or used in a gargle for local activity, based on the herb’s suspected antimicrobial and antitussive activities. Bronchitis Encouraging data have been reported for chronic bronchitis treated by thyme in combination with other herbs in large (n > 3000) comparative clinical trials, although no data are available for thyme as a stand-alone treatment. Thyme is approved by Commission E in the treatment of bronchitis, whooping cough and upper respiratory tract catarrh. DIARRHOEA The astringent activity of thyme provides a theoretical basis for its application in this condition. GASTRITIS AND DYSPEPSIA The bitter principles present in the herb and its antispasmodic activity provide a theoretical basis for its use in these conditions. SKIN DISINFECTION (TOPICAL USE) Thyme extract has been used topically for infection control in minor wounds. The herb’s antimicrobial and Read more […]

Thyme: Background. Actions

Common Name Thyme Other Names Common thyme, garden thyme, farigola, folia thymi, gartenthymian, herba thymi, almindelig timian, thym, thymian, thymianblätter, timo Botanical Name / Family Thymus vulgaris (family Lamiaceae or Labiatae) Plant Parts Used Leaves and flowering tops Chemical Components The primary constituents are the volatile oils (1-2.5%), which include phenols (0.5%), namely thymol (30-70%), eugenol, and carvacrol (3-15%), also flavonoids, apigenin, luteolin and saponins and tannins. Rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid and calcium are also found in significant quantities. The herb also contains bitter principles and salicylates. Historical Note Although thyme has been used as a cooking spice for centuries in Europe, it is also used medicinally to treat common infections, coughs, bronchitis and asthma. The 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended thyme for whooping cough, gout, stomach pains and shortness of breath. It was also used in perfumes and embalming oils. In medieval times the plant was seen as imparting courage and vigour. Thyme:  Main Actions Although thyme has not been significantly investigated in human studies, there has been some investigation into the activity of thymol Read more […]