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Herbs & Plants

Wild thyme

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Botanical Name :Thymus serpyllum
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Thymus
Species:T. serpyllum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Lamiales

Synonyms: Other of Thyme. Serpyllum.

Common Names : Wild thyme , Creeping thyme, Breckland thyme,

Habitat:
Wild thyme is native to the palearctic zone of Europe and Asia. It is a plant of thin soils and can be found growing on sandy-soiled heaths, rocky outcrops, hills, banks, roadsides and riverside sand banks.

Description:
Wild thyme is a creeping dwarf evergreen shrub with woody stems and a taproot. It forms matlike plants that root from the nodes of the squarish, limp stems. The leaves are in opposite pairs, nearly stalkless, with linear elliptic round-tipped blades and untoothed margins. The plant sends up erect flowering shoots in summer. The usually pink or mauve flowers have a tube-like calyx and an irregular straight-tubed, hairy corolla. The upper petal is notched and the lower one is larger than the two lateral petals and has three flattened lobes which form a lip. Each flower has four projecting stamens and two fused carpels. The fruit is a dry, four-chambered schizocarp….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Wild Thyme will grow on any soil, but prefers light, sandy or gravel ground exposed to the sun.

Propagate by seeds, cuttings, or division of roots. Care must be taken to weed. Manure with farmyard manure in autumn or winter and nitrates in spring.

Cut when in full flower, in July and August, and dry in the same manner as Common Thyme.It is much picked in France, chiefly in the fields of the Aisne, for the extraction of its essential oil.

Propagation:         
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible  Uses:
Leaves are eaten raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. Thyme retains its flavour well in long slow cooking. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves.

Constituents;
When distilled, 100 kilos (about 225 lb.) of dried material yield 150 grams of essence (about 5 or 6 OZ.). It is a yellow liquid, with a weaker scent than that of oil of Thyme extracted from T. vulgaris, and is called oil of Serpolet. It contains 30 to 70 per cent of phenols: Thymol, Carvacrol, etc. It is made into an artificial oil, together with the oil of Common Thyme. In perfumery, oil of Serpolet is chiefly used for soap.

The flowering tops, macerated for 24 hours or so in salt and water, are made into a perfumed water.

Medicinal Uses:
In medicine, Wild Thyme or Serpolet has the same properties as Common Thyme, but to an inferior degree. It is aromatic, antiseptic, stimulant, antispasmodic, diuretic and emmenagogue.

The infusion is used for chest maladies and for weak digestion, being a good remedy for flatulence, and favourable results have been obtained in convulsive coughs, especially in whooping cough, catarrh and sore throat. The infusion, prepared with 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water, is usually sweetened with sugar or honey and made demulcent by linseed or acacia. It is given in doses of 1 or more tablespoonfuls several times daily.

The infusion is also useful in cases of drunkenness, and Culpepper recommends it as a certain remedy taken on going to bed for ‘that troublesome complaint the nightmare,’ and says: ‘if you make a vinegar of the herb as vinegar of roses is made and annoint the head with it, it presently stops the pains thereof. It is very good to be given either in phrenzy or lethargy.’

Wild Thyme Tea, either drunk by itself or mixed with other plants such as rosemary, etc., is an excellent remedy for headache and other nervous affections.

Formerly several preparations of this plant were kept in shops, and a distilled spirit and water, which were both very fragrant.

 Other Uses:  Wild thyme is one of the plants on which the large blue butterfly larvae feed and it is also attractive to bees.Creeping and mounding variants of T. serpyllum are used as border plants and ground cover around gardens and stone paths. It may also be used to replace a bluegrass lawn to xeriscape low to moderate foot traffic areas due to its tolerance for low water and poor soils.

Numerous cultivars have been produced, of which ‘Pink Chintz’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.  A miniature creeping form is ‘Elfin’

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymus_serpyllum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thywil17.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Thymus+serpyllum

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Lemon Thyme

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Botanical Name: Thymus citriodorus
Family:Lamiaceae
Kingdom :Plantae
Division :Magnoliophyta
Class :Magnoliopsida
Order :Lamiales
Genus :Thymus

SynonymsThymus serpyllum var. albus ,   Thymus serpyllum ssp. chamaedrys

Common Names:  Lemon Thyme, Creeping Lemon Thyme, Lemon-Scented Thyme
Habitat:It is not  native to USA but introduced and now grows in Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), New Hampshire (NH), New York (NY), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA) and Washington (WA) .

Description: The lemon thyme is generally described as a Perennial Subshrub or Shrub.It is a compact, upright shrub that grows to a height of 8 to 12 inches. The leaves are tiny and heart shaped, ringed with a splash of yellow. As the name implies, lemon thyme has a bit of a citrus tang, but is milder than most other thyme. This makes it a natural choice for seasoning seafood dishes and even sweets. The citrus flavor also helps to lighten fatty dishes.
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Bees are attracted to lemon thyme and it gives honey a good flavor. It grows on dry, well drained soil. It produces dark pink flowers which bloom in late summer and it is the small green leaves that smell strongly of lemon. It is not as hardy as other thymes so may need protecting in winter with a layer of leaf mold or straw. This is a good variety for growing in containers. The dried, scented leaves make a useful, fragrant addition to pot pourri or scented sachets.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. Requires a light well-drained preferably calcareous soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other. Often cultivated in the herb garden for its leaves, there are some named varieties. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees. A good companion for most plants. Special Features:Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible Uses : Leaves – raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. A delicious lemon flavour. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. It has a pleasant lemon-like flavour and is very refreshing

Its light perfume fills the air as it hangs drying from hooks.Both grilled fish dishes and creamy potato gratins are perfect blank canvases for lemon thyme. This wonderful, aromatic herb is also amazing with chicken.

A sweetly scented, evergreen herb and a cultivated form of wild thyme. It is a popular culinary herb due to its mild citrus flavor and is often used in stuffings, with chicken dishes or added to fruit salads and jellies.

Medicinal Uses: Herbal tea made from thyme is said to help speed recovery from a hangover.
Used to make pediatric oral preparations that are tasty and sweet to relieve an “upset tummy”.  It is also in ointments and in “sleep pillows”.
The natural, volatile oils also work as a digestive aid. These same pungent oils make lemon thyme a favorite in aroma therapy for the treatment of asthma. – Sally’s Place.

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. The leaves contain an antioxidant and regular use of the raw leaves has been shown to increase average life expectancy by about 10%. The essential oil obtained from this plant is thought to be less irritant than other thyme oils .

Other Uses :  The essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering stems is used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc. The aromatic leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri and herbal pillows. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.liketocook.com/50226711/weekend_herb_blogging_lemon_thyme.php
http://www.info-galaxy.com/Herbs/General_Index/Filter/Lemon_Thyme/lemon_thyme.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thymus+x+citriodorus

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Thyme

frost and thyme

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Botanical Name: Thymus Vulgaris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae

Thyme (Thymus) (pronounced “time”) is a genus of about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs to 40 cm tall, in the family Lamiaceae and native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. A number of species have different chemotypes. The stems tend to be narrow or even wiry; the leaves are evergreen in most species, arranged in opposite pairs, oval, entire, and small, 4-20 mm long. The flowers are in dense terminal heads, with an uneven calyx, with the upper lip three-lobed, and the lower cleft; the corolla is tubular, 4-10 mm long, and white, pink or purple…..click & see the pictures

Thymus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera insect species including Chionodes distinctella and the Coleophora case-bearers C. lixella, C. niveicostella, C. serpylletorum and C. struella (the latter three feed exclusively on Thymus).

Important species:
Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme or Garden Thyme) is a commonly used culinary herb. It is a Mediterranean perennial which is best suited to well-drained soils and enjoys full sun.

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Thymus herba-barona (Caraway Thyme) is used both as a culinary herb and a groundcover, and has a strong caraway scent.

 

Thymus — citriodorus (Citrus Thyme; hybrid T. pulegioides — T. vulgaris) is also a popular culinary herb, with cultivars selected with flavours of various Citrus fruit (lemon thyme, etc.)

Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a ground cover.

Thymus serpyllum (Wild Thyme) is an important nectar source plant for honeybees. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe (Greece is especially famous for wild thyme honey) and North Africa, as well as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire Mountains and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern US.

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Constituents:—

Oil of Thyme is the important commercial product obtained by distillation of the fresh leaves and flowering tops of T. vulgaris. Its chief constituents are from 20 to 25 per cent of the phenols Thymol and Carvacrol, rising in rare cases to 42 per cent. The phenols are the principal constituents of Thyme oil, Thymol being the most valuable for medicinal purposes, but Carvacrol, an isomeric phenol, preponderate in some oils. Cymene and Pinene are present in the oil, as well as a little Menthone. Borneol and Linalol have been detected in the high boiling fractions of the oil and a crystalline body, probably identical with a similar body found in Juniper-berry oil.

Cultivation and uses:
Thyme is widely cultivated as a herb, grown for its strong flavour, which is due to its content of thymol (Huxley 1992). It retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs.
You can start thyme from seeds to get a wider selection of varieties. Most nurseries carry transplants in spring and summer. It prefers a sandy, dry soil and plenty of sun. If your soil is acidic, add some lime. If you live in a very cold climate, protect the plants in winter by mulching heavily. Once established, the only care will be regular pruning of the plants and removal of dead flowers and pruning to remove old wood.

Sow about the middle of March or early April, in dry, mild weather, moderately thin, in shallow drills about 1/2 inch deep, and 8 or 9 inches apart, in good, light soil, in a warm position. Cover in evenly with the soil. Some of the plants may remain where planted, after a thinning for early use, others plant out in the summer. Thyme thrives best with lots of room to spread in. It is well to make new beds annually. Selfsown plants will answer for this where found.

Leaves can be harvested for fresh use throughout the summer, but the flavor is best just before flowering. To dry, cut the stems just as the flowers start to open and hang in small bunches. Harvest sparingly the first year.

In traditional Jamaican childbirth practice, thyme tea is given to the mother after delivery of the baby. Its oxytocin-like effect causes uterine contractions and more rapid delivery of the placenta but this was said by Sheila Kitzinger to cause an increased prevalence of retained placenta.

Thyme in the Kitchen
Thyme is a basic ingredient in French and Italian cuisines, and in those derived from them. It is also widely used in Caribbean cuisine.Thyme is a basic spice that has a place in most every kitchen.

Satureja thymbra, which is used in Spain as a spice and is closely allied to the Savouries grown in the English kitchen garden, yields an oil containing about 19 per cent of Thymol. Other species of Satureja contain Carvacrol.

Culinary Uses
Thyme is principally in request for culinary requirements, for its use in flavouring stuffings, sauces, pickles, stews, soups, jugged hare, etc. The Spaniards infuse it in the pickle with which they preserve their olives.

Thyme has a strong piquant or lemony flavor. For fresh use, the flavor is best just before flowering.Thymol is also a preservative of meat.
Enhance the flavor of meat, fish and poultry dishes with thyme.
For chicken and fish marinades, bruise fresh sprigs of thyme and tarragon, and combine with red-wine vinegar and olive oil.
Use in herb butters and cottage cheese.

Medicinal & Other Uses:
It is safe to use thyme as a seasoning during pregnancy, but strong medicinal doses should be avoided if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

It is —Antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic and carminative.

The pounded herb, if given fresh, from 1 to 6 OZ. daily, mixed with syrup, has been employed with success as a safe cure for whooping cough. An infusion made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water, sweetened with sugar or honey, is also used for the same purpose, as well as in cases of catarrh and sore throat, given in doses of 1 or more tablespoonsful, several times daily. The wild plant may be equally well used for this.

Thyme tea will arrest gastric fermentation. It is useful in cases of wind spasms and colic, and will assist in promoting perspiration at the commencement of a cold, and in fever and febrile complaints generally.

In herbal medicine, Thyme is generally used in combination with other remedies.

Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil, 1 to 10 drops.

According to Culpepper, Thyme is:’a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows, nor is there a better remedy growing for hooping cough. It purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It is so harmless you need not fear the use of it. An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight and takes away any pains and hardness of the spleen: it is excellent for those that are troubled with the gout and the herb taken anyway inwardly is of great comfort to the stomach.’
Gerard says it will ‘cure sciatica and pains in the head,’ and is healing in leprosy and the falling sickness.
Oil of Thyme is employed as a rubefacient and counter-irritant in rheumatism, etc.

Thyme enters into the formula for Herb Tobacco, and employed in this form is good for digestion, headache and drowsiness.

In Perfumery, Essence of Thyme is used for cosmetics and rice powder. It is also used for embalming corpses.

The dried flowers have been often used in the same way as lavender, to preserve linen from insects.

All the different species of Thyme and Marjoram yield fragrant oils extensively used by manufacturing perfumers for scenting soaps. When dried and ground, they enter into the composition of sachet powders.

THYMOL, a most valuable crystalline phenol, is the basis of the fragrant volatile Essence of Sweet Thyme, and is obtainable from Carum copticum, Monarda punctata and various other plants, as well as from T. vulgaris, being present to the extent of from 20 to 60 per cent in the oils which yield it. Ajowan oil, its principal commercial source (from the seeds of C. copticum) contains from 40 to 55 per cent of Thymol; the oil of T. vulgaris contains from 20 to 30 per cent as a rule of Thymol and Carvacrol in varying proportions, while the oil of M. punctata contains 61 per cent of Thymol.

The extraction of Thymol is effected by treating the oil with a warm solution of sodium hydroxide: this alkali dissolves the Thymol, and on dilution with hot water the undissolved oil (terpenes, etc.) rises to the surface. The alkaline thymol compound is decomposed by treatment with hydrochloric acid and subsequent crystallization of the oily layer into large, oblique, prismatic crystals. Thymol (methyl-propyl-phenol) has been prepared synthetically.

When treated with caustic potash and iodine, it yields iodo-thymol, commonly known as ‘Aristol.’

Camphor of Thyme was noticed first by Neumann, apothecary to the Court at Berlin in 1725. It was called Thymol and carefully examined in 1853 by Lallemand and recommended instead of Phenol (carbolic acid) in 1868 by Bouilhon, apothecary, and Paquet, M.D., of Lille.

Thymol is a powerful antiseptic for both internal and external use; it is also employed as a deodorant and local anaesthetic. It is extensively used to medicate gauze and wool for surgical dressings. It resembles carbolic acid in its action, but is less irritant to wounds, while its germicidal action is greater. It is therefore preferable as a dressing and during recent years has been one of the most extensively used antiseptics.

In respect of its physiological action, Thymol appears to stand between carbolic acid and oil of turpentine. Its action as a disinfectant is more permanent and at the same time more powerful than that of carbolic acid. It is less irritating to the skin, does not act as a caustic like carbolic acid, and is a less powerful poison to mammals. In the higher animals it acts as a local irritant and anaesthetic to the skin and mucous membrane. It is used as an antiseptic lotion and mouth wash; as a paint in ringworm, in eczema, psoriasis, broken chilblains, parasitic skin affections and burns; as an ointment, halfstrength, perfumed with lavender, to keep off gnats and mosquitoes. Thymol in oily solution is applied to the respiratory passages by means of a spray in nasal catarrh, and a spirituous solution may be inhaled for laryngitis, bronchial affections and whooping cough. It is most useful against septic sore throat, especially during scarlet-fever. Internally, it is given in large doses, to robust adults, in capsules, as a vermifuge, to expel parasites, especially the miner’s worm, and it has also been used in diabetes and vesical catarrh.

Thymol finds no place in perfumery, but the residual oil after extracting the crystalline Thymol from Ajowan oil, which amounts to about 50 per cent of the original oil, is generally sold as a cheap perfume for soap-making and similar purposes, under the name of ‘Thymene.’

Till the outbreak of war, Thymol was manufactured almost exclusively in Germany. One of the chief commercial sources of Thymol, Ajowan seed (C. copticum), is an annual umbelliferous plant, a kind of caraway, which is abundant in India, where it is widely cultivated for the medicinal properties of its seeds. Almost the whole of the exports of Ajowan seed from India, Egypt, Persia and Afghanistan went to Germany for the distillation of the oil and extraction of Thymol, the annual export of the seed from India being about 1,200 tons, from which the amount of Thymoi obtainable was estimated at 20 tons. On the outbreak of war the export of Ajowan seed dropped to 2 tons per month, and there was a universal shortage of Thymol, just when it was urgently needed for the wounded.

As a result of investigations by the Imperial Institute, Thymol is now being made by several firms in this country, and the product is equal in quality and appearance to that previously imported from Germany. In India, also, good samples were obtained as a result of experiments conducted in Government laboratories in the early months of the War, and by the close of 1915 companies were already established at Dehra and Calcutta for its manufacture on a large scale. In the two years ending June, 1919, as much as 10,500 lb. of Thymol were exported from Calcutta.

Several other plants can be utilized as sources of Thymol, although none yield such high percentages as Ajowan seed. The following new sources of Thymol were suggested when the scarcity of the valuable antiseptic made itself so severely felt on curtailment of Continental supplies: Garden Thyme and Wild Thyme (T. vulgaris and serpyllum), American Horse Mint (M. punctata), Cunila mariana, Mosla japonica, Origanum hirtum, Ocimim viride and Satureja thymbra.

The oil of Thyme obtained by distilling the fresh-flowering herb of T. vulgaris is already an article of commerce, and contains varying amounts of Thymol, but the actual amount present is not very high, varying, as already stated, from 20 to 25 per cent, only in very rare cases amounting to more; and the methods of separation in order to obtain a pure compound are necessarily more complicated than in the manufacture from Ajowan oil.

The American Horsemint (M. punctata), native to the United States and Canada, seems likely to prove a more valuable source of Thymol than T. vulgaris. It yields from 1 to 3 per cent of a volatile oil, which contains a large proportion of Thymol, up to 61 per cent having been obtained; Carvacrol also appears to be a constituent. The oil has a specific gravity of 0.930 to 0.940, and on prolonged standing deposits crystals of Thymol.

Another species also found in America (M. didyma) (called also ‘Oswego tea’ from the use sometimes made of its leaves in America) is said to yield an oil of similar composition, though not to the same degree, and so far M. punctata is considered the only plant indigenous to North America which can be looked upon as a fruitful source of Thymol, though from C. mariana, also found in North America, an oil is derived – Oil of Dittany – which is stated to contain about 40 per cent of phenols, probably Thymol.

Thymol is also contained in the oil distilled from the dry herb of Mosla japonica, indigenous to Japan. It is stated to yield about 2.13 per cent of oil, containing about 44 per cent of Thymol.

A new source of Thymol is also Ocimum viride, the ‘Mosquito Plant’ of West Africa and the West Indies, which yield 0.35 to 1.2 of oil from which 32 to 65 per cent of Thymol can be extracted. This plant occurs wild on all soils in every part of Sierra Leone, and is also grown in the Seychelles. In Sierra Leone it bears the name of ‘Fever-plant’ on account of its febrifugal qualities; a decoction is made from the leaves.

The Origanum oils shipped from Trieste and Smyrna generally contain only Carvacrol, the only species yielding Thymol exclusively and to a considerable degree being Origanum hirtum, which may be regarded as a promising source of Thymol.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Source:www.botanical.com and en.wikipedia.org

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