(Thymus serpyllum L.)
Wild thyme, also commonly known as Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or elfin thyme, is a species of flowering plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Its many varieties are found in temperate and cold areas of Europe, North Africa, Asia and North America.
In Poland, it commonly grows in the whole lowlands, pine forests, on dry glades or sandy locations, which is why it is called ‘sandy’ thyme in Polish.
Wild thyme is a perennial low shrub, with vigorously creeping shoots and climbing stems, growing up to 15 cm long. Its oval, ever-green leaves are 3-8 mm long. Wild thyme flowers are lilac, pink-violet or sometimes white, and are all formed in clusters. All wild thyme has a very pleasant and strong aroma, from herbal to slightly lemon, which is best appreciated after grinding the leaves.
Wild time herb is used for therapeutic purposes.
The main component of the herb is an essential oil containing numerous compounds, such as carvacrol and thymol, with a strong antiseptic effect.In addition, organic acids, tannins, flavonoids, vitamin C, mineral salts and triterpene compounds are found in the herb.
Wild thyme herb has a very wide range of uses.
Traditionally, it was used for years as a diuretic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agent. Nowadays, it is used primarily as an expectorant agent in medical therapy.Wild thyme preserves gently stimulate the secretion of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract and the production of mucus, greatly facilitating expectoration. Wild thyme herb also demonstrates spasmolytic effects, stimulates gastric juice secretion and helps digestion, so it is so often used for stomach upsets and intestinal disorders.
Wild thyme infusions are used externally on the skin with bactericidal and anti-inflammatory effects, and when applied on the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, they produce a mild astringent effect.
Due to its properties, wild thyme extract has been widely used in beauty products.
In cosmetology, wild thyme has gained recognition for its beneficial effects in particular on oily and acne skin, because with its antiseptic properties, it significantly reduces acne. Through the presence of tannins, wild thyme extracts also have an astringent effect, soothe irritations, tone the skin and reduce the visibility of dilated pores. In addition, the extract can be used to treat wounds and scars (reducing their visibility), and furthermore, it intensely moisturises the skin.
Wild thyme has a long and interesting history of usage.
The history of wild thyme dates back to ancient times. For instance, it was one of the compounds used for embalming in Egypt. It was also used as a spice herb, considered equal to thyme. In the Middle Ages, wild thyme herb became even more important. It was used for bruises, rhinitis and headache, the stomach, and in women’s problems. Wild thyme was also a symbol of bravery, and its branches were handed over to victorious knights. Charles the Great was one of the first to commonly use wild thyme herbs for the wound disinfection of his soldiers.Polish tradition also includes the blessing of wild thyme garlands on the Assumption of Mary Day.