Everything You Need To Know About Wild Thyme In New Zealand
Here at Wild Dispensary, we celebrate the landscape and the unique plants that grow in our region. Central Otago wild thyme is one of those plants. In spring, the hills are ablaze with purple as this plant, which thrives in harsh environments like Central, begins to flower. This is when we head out to wild harvest the thyme that goes into our Chest Tonic, Throat Spray and Vira Elixir.
Thyme is the common name given for 300-400 different species that are cultivated around the world. The most common variety found in herbal medicine is Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family and is a relative of oregano.
You'll know thyme as a culinary herb found in most kitchens, but wild thyme is a very important plant in herbal medicine. It can help support various body systems, such as your respiratory, digestive and even your nervous system. Mainly, it's used for its ability to support the immune and respiratory system.
The history of wild thyme in New Zealand
Thyme is a hardy plant that grows well in dry, sandy and harsh climates, making it the perfect plant to thrive in Central Otago. Thyme was introduced into Central in the 1800s by a French gold miner (there are also reports that it was introduced by the Chinese miners as well). It then escaped his garden, and as livestock didn't like the taste, it spread without challenge - resulting in the fields of thyme you see in spring and early summer today.
How to identify wild thyme
Wild thyme is a low-growing shrub-like perennial with woody stalks and fibrous roots. It is dense and has a strong smell. Thyme has small green, oblong, egg-shaped leaves. It has small flowers that appear in spring and range from pale pink, magenta and white, with the most common being a lilac colour. You can use both the leaves and the flowers.
How to harvest wild thyme
Thyme helps relieve contractions which is how it can help reduce spasms from coughing or from inflammation.
3. Thyme can be used topically
Ways you can use our Chest Tonic:
- If you have a stubborn cough taking our Chest Tonic neat is your best bet to help with an irritating coughing fit.
- If you find that you get a chest infection or issues every winter, taking it daily as a preventative action will help support your respiratory system.
- Having our Chest Tonic hot/warm is an excellent way of getting those volatile oils into your system to help support more relaxed breathing.