Thyme - Beneficial Herb for Digestion
Thymus vulgaris Lamiaceae
A low-lying, perennial shrub, common thyme grows wild on arid hillsides across the Mediterranean. This rugged plant was a symbol of courage to the ancient Greeks and in medieval Europe. Tiny, grayish green leaves, their edges curling inwards, coat the numerous wiry branches if the erect, woody stems. From May until August, spikes if small, white or pink flowers appear. The warm pungent taste and rich aroma if the leaves, make them a popular flavouring in a wide range if dishes and cuisines.
The dried leaves and flower stalks of common thyme contain flavonoids and 0.5 to 2 per cent essential oil. The composition of the essential oil varies; thymol, methylchavicol, cineole and borneol are all present.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT sluggish digestion, bloating, belching, flatulence, inadequate bile flow, coughs INFUSION Put 2g of dried plant into a cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse for
5 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day. CAPSULES (325mg) Take 3 a day, with a large glass of water.
For external use
TO TREAT wounds, aching muscles
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Research has shown that the flavonoids in thyme - methylchavicol and thymol - have a muscle relaxing effect. As a result the plant is widely used as an antispasmodic to treat digestive problems, such as bloating, belching, flatulence, sluggish digestion and poor bile flow. Thyme is also effective for soothing coughs and can help to relieve nasal congestion due to colds, hayfever and asthma.
Studies have demonstrated that thyme's essential oil is antiseptic, and it is often recommended for minor cuts and wounds, as well as for insect bites and stings. The plant is also sometimes prescribed to treat gum disease and tonsillitis.
Grow from seed, sown in early April, or summer cuttings. A warm, sunny plot with rich, dry, light soil is ideal.
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