Thyme, Cat

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Thyme, Cat

Botanical Name: Teucrium marum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Synonym: Marum.
Parts Used: Leaves, root-bark, whole herb.

The Cat Thyme, or Marum, is not a British plant, but a native of Spain, though with care it can be grown here and will live through the winter in the open, on a dry soil and in a good situation, when the frosts are not severe, though it is frequently killed in hard winters, if unprotected by mats or other covering.

In the southern countries of Europe, this species of Teucrium forms a shrub 3 or 4 feet high, but in England it rarely attains even half that height. It has oval leaves, broader at the base, downy beneath, with uncut margins. The flowers are in one-sided spikes, the corollas crimson in colour.

The leaves and younger branches when fresh, on being rubbed emit a volatile, aromatic smell, which excites sneezing, but in taste they are somewhat bitter, accompanied with a sensation of heat.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The plant is supposed to possess very active powers, having been recommended in many diseases requiring medicine of a stimulant, aromatic and deobstruent quality. It has been considered good in most nervous complaints, the leaves being powdered and given in wine. The powdered leaves, either alone, or mixed with other ingredients of a like nature, when taken as snuff, have been recommended as excellent for 'disorders of the head,' under the name of compound powder of Assarabacca, but lavender flowers are now generally substituted for Cat Thyme.

Cat Thyme is more nearly related to the Germanders and to Wood Sage than to the Thymes.

The bark of the root is considerably astringent and has been used for checking haemorrhages.

A homoepathic tincture is made from the whole herb, said to be effectual against small thread-worms in children.