The tingle on your tongue from tasting the smallest piece of Central Otago Thyme when it is ready to harvest is one of the easiest ways to detect the potency of the active volatiles in this powerhouse plant. This potent thyme - Thymus vulgaris - has been used for respiratory health for centuries. In New Zealand, one of just two countries outside of Europe where it grows wild, it is only found in the harsh alpine environment and extreme climate of Central Otago, having been brought to the area by European miners in the gold rush of the 1860s.
I recognised the unique properties of the wild growing plants in Central Otago not long after I arrived from my homeland of Switzerland. For more than 20 years, I have been harvesting Central Otago Thyme, and other plants from the region, using them in formulations for immune defence and respiratory health support.
A Time to Harvest
Each year with the Artemis team, we harvest by hand during a very short window of just a few weeks, with the timing governed by nature. To ensure maximum efficacy, the harvest has to coincide with the plants producing the highest quantity of active volatiles, which we retain through careful processing.
When it is the right time, the steep hillsides are a spectacular sight of rich purple and green and a heady scent hangs in the air, which becomes stronger as the sun shines. During the harvest period, just as it is all year round, the extreme climate is changeable, with blue skies and sunshine becoming squally sleet within hours. But this is just one of the factors that contributes to the beneficial properties of the thyme.
Plants grow very strong in these conditions, they don’t just survive, but they adapt to thrive. We know that the climate and soils of Central Otago produce some of the world’s finest vineyards. And it is the same for Central Otago Thyme.
Artemis has developed specific expertise in harvesting and processing methods, constantly adjusting the extraction process from the plant to retain the maximum active constituents. Every step of the process meets both scientifically backed standards and adherence to sustainability principles.
One of our founding values at Artemis is kaitiakitanga – guardianship of the health of the land. We need our precious natural resources to continue to thrive, year after year, so we only take what we need, and take it carefully. We really value the strong relationships we have built with local landowners and the Department of Conservation which allow us to continue our harvest.
Our philosophy also extends to all our supply partners for other herbs and ingredients and we prefer to partner with growers and organisations who can provide high quality organic or wild-grown plants; people who are experts in growing and harvesting the best plants for health products.
Using only what is 100% natural and of the highest quality is at the heart of everything Artemis does and the ThymeMed Respiratory & Immunity range includes our exclusive fresh plant extract of Central Otago Thyme.
Backed by Science
In many overseas countries, such as Europe and Canada, plant medicines are regulated as part of their mainstream health care systems. In these countries, thyme is recognised as a medicine with multiple applications in respiratory health products.
The situation in New Zealand is different, with no regulatory framework for plant medicines. It’s a situation which we believe needs to change, but until then, I’m delighted that my years of observation about Central Otago Thyme are being backed up by scientific research.
In 2018 Artemis embarked on a three year research project with Plant & Food Research, carried out with Research & Development funding from Callaghan Innovation. The research was commissioned to scientifically investigate the potential health benefits of wild-grown Central Otago Thyme and to validate our proprietary harvest and extraction processes.
The first round of results, released in 2019, showed that Central Otago Thyme has significant potential as a natural New Zealand resource to support respiratory health.
Artemis has a phrase which sums up the essence of the company, ‘Proven by tradition, backed by science’. It’s not just a tagline, it’s how we operate.
Traditional plant remedies are based on thousands of years of use across the world. Modern science is now providing evidence which fully supports and further explains many of these traditional plant uses. It is great news for people who want natural options to support their health, and right now, for Central Otago Thyme.
Find out more about the Artemis ThymeMed range:
- The Artemis ThymeMed range includes the popular ViroGone products, for rapid immune defence, now available for adults and kids in liquid and handy on-the-go spray formats. ViroGone Spray was recently awarded the Best Product for Immunity at the Best of Natural Awards.
- The ThymeMed Kids range is specially formulated for infants and young children and with no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives, it is ideal for powerful, natural immune and respiratory support.
- New ThymeMed BronchiClear is for Deep Lung & Bronchial support, formulated with the double power of ThymeMed and Ivy Leaf to clear excess mucus from the airways and soothe and relax the chest.
Shop the full Artemis range of teas, tinctures and creams online now.
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist, see your health professional. Artemis Limited, Dunedin, NZ.