The mother of thyme plant has a pleasant smell like other plants of the Labiatae family, such as wild marjoram, thyme, peppermint, or the European pennyroyal. It is not easy to tell the difference between this plant and thyme, mainly as there are some intermediate species. However, mother of thyme has three unique features:
- The upper lip of its calyx is divided into three deep teeth.
- The leaves are plain, green on both sides (thyme has whitish lower-sided leaves, with borders turned down).
- Its aroma resembles that of the lemon tree or balm.
Mother of Thyme Scientific Facts
- Other names: Wild thyme.
- French: Thym batard
- Spanish: Serpol.
- Environment: Dry, rocky soils in lowlands or mountain slopes up to 2500 m of altitude, all over Europe. Naturalized to North America.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Labiatae family, which grows up to 40 cm high, with ground stems, small, plain leaves, and pink or purple flowers growing in clusters.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The flower clusters.
Healing Properties and Indications
The leaves and flowers of the mother of thyme contain an essence which composition varies depending on the subspecies but is continuously formed by cymol, thymol, and carvacrol. It also contains small amounts of phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannin. This essence gives the plant digestive, antispasmodic, expectorant, and antiseptic properties.
The applications of mother of thyme are similar to those of other plants of the Labiatae family, with several particularities:
- Respiratory disorders: Mother of thyme gives good results with coughs especially convulsive coughing in children. It is also used for whooping cough and all kinds of bronchial catarrh.
- Digestive disorders: Mother of thyme is used to combat stomach atony, heavy digestion, flatulence, and dyspepsia in general.
- Oral and anal afflictions: Due to its antiseptic properties, this plant is highly recommended for washings and rinsings of wounds and inflammations of the mucous membrane of the digestive system, whether in the mouth (sores or aphtas) or the anus (anal fissure). In gargles, it renders good results for tonsilitis (sore throat) or pharyngitis.
- Rheumatism and neuralgia: in local applications, mother of thyme essence eases sciatica, facial neuralgia, and in general, all rheumatic pains.
- Depression, asthenia, and exhaustion: Hot baths with mother of thyme, which have refreshing and revitalizing properties, render good results in this case. They are recommended both for weak children and for adults who need a natural stimulus.
How to use Mother of Thyme
- Infusion with 20-40 g of plant per liter of water. Drink from three to five cups daily, sweetened with honey if preferred. As an antitussive, take one or two spoonfuls each hour until the cough is calmed.
- Essence: Take from three to five drops three times a day.
- Baths: Add to the water of a bathtub two or three liters of a decoction made with 50-100 g of plant, boiled for five minutes.
- Bathing, mouth rinsings, and gargles: With the same infusion used internally, but more concentrated.
- Compresses and friction with the essence.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 338, 339. Print.