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.

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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.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Approximately 350 thyme species exist. A perennial shrub belonging to the mint family, with thin woody base and square stems. Featuring very small light green colored, paler underneath, slightly curved aromatic leaves. Tiny lilac or white colored flowers that appear in Summer. Native to southern Europe and Mediterranean regions.

ThymeParts 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.

Key Constituents:

Essential oil (20-54% thymol), p-cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. Phyto-nutrients (compounds), minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin C.

Did you know?

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.

Fun fact!

Rich in Nutrients

Thyme leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium.


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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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