- A Modern Herbal, by Mrs. M. Grieve Home Page

Thyme, Basil

Botanical: Calamintha acinos
Family: N.O. Labiatae

---Synonyms---Common Calamint. Calamintha officinalis. Calamintha menthifolia. Thymos acinos. Acinos vulgaris. Mountain Mint.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---Rather scarce in England, though fairly generally distributed over the country; it is rare in Scotland and very rare in Ireland.

---Description---This species is found on dry banks and in fields, in chalky, gravelly and sandy soils: a small, bushy herb, its stems 6 to 8 inches high, branching at the base, slender and leafy.

The shortly stalked leaves, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, with the veins prominent beneath, are eggshaped and hairy. The flowers, in bloom in July and August, are 1/2 inch long and grow in whorls from the axils of the leaves, like in the preceding species, as well as at the summit of the stem. The corollas are bluish-purple, variegated with white on the lower lip, in the middle of which there is a purple spot. The calyx is distinctly two-lipped, the lower lip bulged at the base and has prominent ribs, fringed with bristly hairs.

The plant varies much in degree of hairiness. It has a pleasant, aromatic smell, somewhat similar, though weaker, than that of Thyme, to which, however, in general appearance, it bears little resemblance.

Basil Thyme was a great favourite with the old herbalists. Gerard enumerates twelve uses to which it can be applied without fear of failure. Among them he states that:
'it cureth them that are bitten of serpents; being burned or strewed, it drives serpents away; it taketh away black and blew spots that come by blows or by beatings, making the skinne faire and white; but for such things, saith Galen, it is better to be laid to greene than dry.'
Externally, its use has been recommended as an addition to warm baths, especially for children, as a strengthener and nerve soother.

The oil, which is very heating, is of service as a rubefacient, applied to the skin in sciatica and neuralgia.

One drop of the oil, on cotton wool, put into a decayed tooth, will alleviate the pain.

The flowering tops are used to flavour jugged hare, etc., they have a milder and rather more grateful flavour than the common Thyme.

Although it has been stated that animals will seldom eat this plant and that rabbits do not touch it, it has been alleged that sheep love to crop its fragrant leaves and that, as a consequence, a fine flavour is imparted to their flesh.

It is said that Wild Thyme and Marjoram laid by milk in the dairy will prevent it being turned by thunder.

Purchase from Richters Seeds
English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Seeds
Varico 2 Thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'Varico 2') Seeds
French Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Seeds
Wild Thyme (Thymus praecox) Seeds
Caraway Thyme (Thymus herba-barona) Plants
Coconut Thyme (Thymus sp.) Plants
English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Plants
Compact Thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'Compactus') Plants
French Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Plants
Silver Thyme (Thymus vulgaris 'Argenteus') Plants
Lemon Carpet™ Thyme (Thymus herba-barona cv.) Plants
Creeping Lemon Thyme (Thymus pulegioides 'Lemon') Plants
Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus) Plants
Golden Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citriodorus 'Aureus') Plants
Goldstream Lemon (Thymus 'Goldstream') Plants
Highland Cream Lemon (Thymus 'Highland Cream') Plants
Purple Carpet Lemon (Thymus praecox articus 'Purple Carpet’) Plants
Creeping Thyme (Thymus praecox articus) Plants
Lavender Thyme (Thymus thracicus) Plants
Lime Thyme (Thymus sp.) Plants
Mint Thyme (Thymus sp.) Plants
Minus Thyme (Thymus praecox articus 'Minor') Plants
Nutmeg Thyme (Thymus praecox articus) Plants
Orange Balsam Thyme (Thymus 'Orange Balsam') Plants
Orange Spice™ Thyme (Thymus 'TM95’) Plants
Rose Petal™ Thyme (Thymus 'TM122') Plants
Wild Thyme (Thymus praecox) Plants
Woolly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) Plants
Broadleaf Thyme (Plectranthus amboinicus) Plants

Common Name Index

Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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