The majority of the human population places a high value on their own health and
that of their pets. Nature offers a spectacular range of herbs suited for the prevention,
treatment and supportive therapy of certain diseases. They are used in medicines
and (dietary) supplements, both in the human and veterinary fields. Health food
stores, pharmacies, drugstores, supermarkets and the Internet offer a very wide
range of "remedies" which are abundant and unfortunately not very transparent.
My thesis examines the macroscopic structure and constituents of the plants; thyme,
calendula and camomile. Thyme with its antibiotic and secretolytic effects is
recommended for diseases of the respiratory tract. The calendula, known since
Hildegard from Bingen as a medicinal plant, supports wound healing and is often
found in cosmetic products. Camomile as found in tea, is preferably used to relieve
irritation from gastrointestinal disorders.
After creating a market overview, three human medicines, three food supplements,
three veterinary drugs and three food supplements based upon the plants thyme,
calendula and chamomile were purchased. The products for the market survey were
selected on a random basis.
The packaging, package inserts (patient or consumer information) and the containers
were checked for legal compliance.
Since the central focus of my work was placed upon the ingredients of thyme and
thymol, the thyme products were examined at the Veterinary University of Vienna, in
the Laboratory of Applied Botany and Pharmacognosy.
Based upon the recommended daily dosage extracts of each product were prepared
with different methods made necessary since the products were available in different
The extracts were analyzed for the presence of thymol by means thin layer
chromatography as well as partly with the use of gas chromatography.
The results were completed with a price comparison. The comparison showed that
supplements are less expensive than conventional pharmaceuticals, but they must
be taken over a longer period in order to achieve the desired effect. In conclusion, (dietary) supplements are generally speaking more expensive and less secure in
consumption, in comparison to (veterinary) pharmaceuticals.