Type of plant: Bushy perennial evergreen dwarf shrub with branches of woody stems, growing up to 1 foot in height with small, dark-green, oval leaves and white-through-purple flowers
Part used: Flowering tops
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
Data: Native to southern Europe, thyme is well known as a culinary herb. It was used medicinally by the Greeks and the Romans. The king who united much of western Europe into the kingdom of Francia in the early eighth century, Charlemagne, issued instructions to his estate managers that thyme must be grown in all gardens. He no doubt recognized the remarkable healing properties of thyme, which are the subject of intense scientific research today. Different types of thyme essential oil are used in aromatherapy, and although all are distilled from Thymus vulgaris, they’re distinguished from one another by their chemical constituents, having, for example, a larger proportion of geraniol or thujanol. The thyme used throughout this book is the chemotype linalool.
Principal places of production: France, Morocco, Turkey, Spain
When buying look for: Colorless to pale-yellow liquid with a soft, sweet, herbaceous aroma
Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiputrescent, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, expectorant, immunostimulant, pectoral, restorative, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge
Therapeutic uses: Influenza, coughs, colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, laryngitis, sore throat, bronchial chest infection, mucous congestion, viral and bacterial skin infections, circulatory problems, cold limbs, numbness, muscular pain, muscular debility, tendonitis, arthritis, rheumatism, general debility, chronic fatigue, acne, warts, verrucas, lethargy, inability to concentrate
Blends well with: Basil linalol, basil tulsi, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, clary sage, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus lemon, eucalyptus radiata, fragonia, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, ho wood, lavandin, lavender, lemon, manuka, marjoram (sweet), mastic, niaouli, orange (sweet), oregano, palmarosa, peppermint, plai, ravensara, ravintsara, rosalina, rosemary, rosewood, spearmint, tangerine
Precautionary advice: No contraindications known. GRAS status.