As part of the series on our healthy ingredients we would like to introduce the herb Thyme.  This amazing herb has been used for centuries in herbal medicine and it’s properties have been well researched.  Mainly used for the treatment of wounds, as it possesses healing and antiseptic properties, but thyme also has many internal health benefits.

There are over 400 different species of this herb worldwide.  In the UK, wild thyme can be found growing in dense mats on limestone/chalky soils or dry heaths.  It is very common in the southeast of England but has a scattered distribution in the rest of the UK, depending on the soil type.  It has beautiful little purple flowers and when the leaves are crushed, it has an unmistakable smell.  This is due to the presence of the phytochemicals, Thymol and Carvacrol, which have their own unique health benefits (see below). 

Given the pasture types and locations in which our horses are grazing, thyme is not readily available for most horses to browse/graze anymore.  We want to bring nature back to your horses in our feed, which will support optimal health and wellness.  We have added the most common species of thyme, Thymus vulgaris to our feed.  Some of the health benefits of thyme include:

Immune boosters

Thyme is a good source of Vitamin C and A.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucus membranes and skin and is important for good vision.  Vitamin C boosts immunity and provides resistance against microbial infections along with combating harmful free radicals.  Thyme is also a good source of Vitamin B6 which supports brain function and relieves stress.  Vitamin K, E and folic acid are also present in thyme (Almanea et. al. 2019). 

Anti-inflammatory

The oils contained inThyme are known to reduce inflammation.  They can help with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and illnesses.  It can also help reduce inflammation associated with respiratory conditions such as coughs or Recurrent Airway Obstruction (Pearson et. al. 2007).

Anti-microbial

The volatile oils contained in Thyme such as Thymol have been found to have antimicrobial properties.  They can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and fungus (Borugă et. al. 2014).  By preventing proliferation of harmful bacteria, this will also help prevent acidosis, and accumulation of gas/bloating in the horse’s gut. Improving gut health will improve the overall health and well-being of your horse.

Anti-viral

Thyme oil can be effective against viruses such as influenza and help prevent symptoms associated with such illnesses.

In summary, we use it in our feed as an immune booster and to support the general health of our horses.  It also can aid respiratory issues and act as a pick me up, particularly in older horses.  

References

Almanea A, El-Aziz G. S. A, Ahmed M. M. M. The Potential Gastrointestinal Health Benefits of Thymus Vulgaris Essential Oil: A Review. Biomed Pharmacol J 2019;12(4).

Borugă O, Jianu C, Mişcă C, Goleţ I, Gruia AT, Horhat FG. Thymus vulgaris essential oil: chemical composition and antimicrobial activity. J Med Life. 2014;7 Spec No. 3(Spec Iss 3):56-60.

Patil SM, Ramu R, Shirahatti PS, Shivamallu C, Amachawadi RG. A systematic review on ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects of Thymus vulgaris Linn. Heliyon. 2021;7(5):e07054. Published 2021 May 18. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e07054

Pearson W, Charch A, Brewer D, Clarke AF. Pilot study investigating the ability of an herbal composite to alleviate clinical signs of respiratory dysfunction in horses with recurrent airway obstruction. Can J Vet Res. 2007;71(2):145-151.