Thyme (Bai Li Xiang)
Botanical Name: Thymus vulgaris
Thyme is a food, incense, and medicine for the mind, body and spirit that has an ancient and magical history. Fresh thyme has one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs and is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens.
Below is an overview of thyme, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of thyme.
Western Name: Thyme
Also Known As: Rainbow Falls, Archer’s Gold, Golden King, Silver Posie, Silver Queen.
Organs/Systems: Lungs, Stomach, Intestines, Nerves, Adrenals.
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antiseptic, Diuretic, Restorative, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmodic, Expectorant. Good for coughs, sore throat, and as a disinfectant. Arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain, diarrhea, bedwetting, parasitic worm infections, and skin disorders. Prevents tooth decay. Prevents cancer.
Pin Yin: Bai Li Xiang
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Lungs, Spleen and Stomach.
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Tonify Qi: shortness of breath, coughs, pale complexion, depression. Tonify and Warm Lungs: white phlegm cough, chills, fever, tuberculosis, asthma. Release to the Exterior: cause sweating to ease muscle pain, chills, fatigue, rheumatism. Tonify Spleen: for Spleen Yang Deficiency Syndromes: wet watery diarrhea, colic, nausea, menstrual cramping. Tonify Wei Qi and Support Immunity: colds, skin infections and irritations, pussy wounds, parasites.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Flowers, Leaves and Oil
Flavors: Slightly Pungent, Bitter, Astringent, Warm, Dry
Caution: None noted.
History/Folklore: Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, as the herb was known to preserve meat. The Sumerians used it as an antiseptic in 3000 BC. Ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it to be a source of courage. Romans used it to treat melancholy and also to become courageous. They also used it as a flavoring for alcoholic beverages and cheeses. In Europe during the Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. It was also worn on clothes to ward off the plague. In 1725, a German apothecary discovered that the plant’s essential oil was effective against bacteria and fungi. In the 19th century, thyme was used to disinfect hospitals and promote recovery in patients. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, thyme was used to medicate bandages.
Essential oil (20-54% thymol), p-cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. Phyto-nutrients (compounds), minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin C.
Used in Mouthwash
Thymol, a main compound in thyme, is an antiseptic and is also the main active ingredient in commercial mouthwashes.
Anther species of thyme, Thymus serplyllum (wild thyme or creeping thyme), is an important source of nectar for honeybees.
Rich in Nutrients
Thyme leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium.
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