Thymus vulgaris

Other Names: tomillo, serpyllum

Composition: Thyme refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.

Description and History: Thyme is a classic herb with historic benefits closely matching modern scientific uses. Thyme tea is best suited for respiratory complaints, namely whooping cough and bronchitis. 

Cross-Reference: Cough

Actions: Thyme has a lengthy history as a traditional solution for a cough and sore throat. Recent studies indicate that it also has antimicrobial actions which may contribute towards its efficacy. Thyme is best used in a cough drop or cough syrup for maximum efficacy. Many studies indicate that it can inhibit bronchial spasms and provide relief during respiratory infections, which can provide relief for individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions, particularly during spasms due to environmental triggers.

Rhinosinusitis: Sinus infections are miserable, and chronic nasal cavity inflammation deals with it on a regular basis. In a recent clinical trial, a honey nasal spray was tested for its ability to break that cycle. After 30 days of exposure, inflammation and nasal polyp formation decreased significantly while also fostering mucosal healing in the group (Hashemian, et al, 2015).

Cough: As an anti-spasmodic, thyme is indicated for cough relief. One study monitored a particular application for this – thyme herb in a cough tablet preparation. Patients with bronchitis were given the tablet 3x/day for 11 days. The reduction in coughing reached 67.1%, compared to 51.3% for placebo. After the treatment, a 50% reduction in coughing fits was reached two days earlier in the thyme group compared to placebo (Kemmerich, 2007).

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None known.

Dose: Thyme EO should not be consumed without training in aromatic medicine. The herb dose ranges from 50-200mg on average per serving, with up to 1g per day for an otherwise healthy individual. During pregnancy, thyme ingestion should be reduced to that which reflects culinary ingestion–closer to 300-400mg as a daily upper limit due to risks posed by the essential oil component. 

Optimal Preparations: Thyme is best suited for use in a cough syrup or a cough drop so that it can provide soothing relief for a sore throat. It can also be used in a sore throat spray to spray directly onto the back of the throat. 

Dig Deeper

Hashemian, F., Baghbanian, N., Majd, Z., Rouini, M. R., Jahanshahi, J., & Hashemian, F. (2015). The effect of thyme honey nasal spray on chronic rhinosinusitis: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, 272(6), 1429-1435.

Kemmerich, B. (2007). Evaluation of Efficacy and Tolerability of a Fixed Combination of Dry Extracts of Thyme Herb and Primrose Root in Adults Suffering from Acute Bronchitis with Productive Cough. Arzneimittelforschung, 57(09), 607-615.


Meet Dr Hawkins

Dr. Hawkins brings 20 years of expertise in the integrative health field to her role as Executive Director of the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences and the leader of our clinical research team.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Health from Union Institute and University, a Master’s Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Alabama, a post-graduate certificate in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a PhD in Health Research from Middle Tennessee State University, and is completing the post-doctoral Global Scholars Research Training Program at Harvard Medical School. She also holds certifications in numerous natural health fields including aromatherapy, aromatic medicine, herbalism, childbirth education, and labor support.