Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae
Description: Thyme is a perennial aromatic shrub with small green-grey leaves and violet or white flowers. The essential oil is steam— or water-distilled from the flowering tops and leaves. There are many varieties of thyme available, but try to purchase only linalol thyme, which is the most gentle and non-toxic.
Countries of origin: France, Morocco, Spain, Greece, Algeria, Germany, America Characteristics: Thyme has intense, fresh, green, herbal top notes and sweet, spicy medicinal undertones. It blends well with most other herbs, and also with lavender, bergamot, lemon, pine, cypress and black pepper.
Main therapeutic properties: Antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, bactericide, carminative, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypertensive, stimulant, tonic.
Thyme is one of the best essential oils to use for convalescence and infection prevention. Its use in lymphatic drainage massage helps increase the production of white corpuscles, strengthening the body’s defence mechanisms. Thyme is especially good against respiratory infections. Thyme increases and regulates the appetite and has a tonic effect on the digestion. It is restorative, reviving and stimulating.
Although classified as a stimulant, thyme has an overall balancing quality that makes it excellent for those suffering from chronic fatigue, as it both enlivens and calms as the body requires. It is good in baths, burners and massage, but is best blended to balance its strong herbal fragrance.
Psychologically, thyme is fortifying, protecting and energizing. It is useful for those who are prone to lethargy and melancholia, stimulating both physical vigour and emotional and spiritual strength. Thyme can help those who are ‘spaced out’, and it has a psychic grounding quality.
Contraindications: Avoid throughout pregnancy. Use only in small amounts on the skin and avoid prolonged use.