– Thymus Vulgaris
There are over 300 different thyme species. The most common is Thymus Vulgaris also known as common thyme or garden thyme.
It has white to pale purple colored flowers. This herb grows to be from 15 to 30 cm (6 – 12 in).
Thyme does not like wet winters. Thyme is native to the Mediterranean counties.
Thyme leaves can be used either fresh or dried in cooking. It is a good herb to use in slow cooking dishes as it keeps its flavor.
Thyme is a powerful flavored herb and should be used carefully.
It goes well in soups, chicken and meat dishes. It also works well with cheese dishes.
Thyme is a tasty herb when used in meat pies. It is common to use thyme in jambalayas. Thyme is a popular herb in French cooking and is one of the herbs in the famous herb mix “herbs de Provence”.
Thyme tea has traditionally been used to treat fight respiratory infections. It is a good supplement to treat dry coughs, bronchitis and laryngitis. Drinking a cup of thyme tea will assist the recovery from flues and colds.
Thyme is antifungal. You can soak your fingers in thyme tea to help prevent damaged nails.
Thyme tea is also a good to soak your feet in. Treat your feet to a foot bath made up of thyme tea. It is great to help relieve those hardened parts of the ankles.
Cold thyme tea can be used as a gargle to help fight fungal infections in the mouth.
Thyme is antiseptic. Thyme tea can speed up the healing process of skin infections. Press a cotton ball soaked with thyme tea on the infected area.
Thyme tea is also used to cleanse the kidneys because of its antiseptic qualities.
Pregnant women should not drink thyme tea. Thyme oil must never be used internally.
Folklore and History
In Ancient Greece thyme was used as incense in the temples.
The word thyme means “to make a burnt offering” and comes from Greek.
In Ancient Rome soldiers took baths containing thyme to give them courage before going into battle.
An old superstition proclaims that the souls of the dead lived in the thyme flowers. Thyme was brought into the room where a corpse was. It was told that thyme kept the evil spirits away and helped purify the air.
During the Middle Ages knights would often receive a scarf with a thyme branch embroidered on it from their beloved maiden. This was supposed to bring them luck and give courage during combat.
In France people were recommended to eat thyme to help fight the plague during the Dark Ages. Thyme branches were also thrown into the fire to help cleanse the air.
Thyme was one of the herbs in the “Four Thieves Vinegar” which was a secret recipe some thieves used to protect themselves from the plague when robbing the sick or dead. The other three herbs were rosemary, lavender and sage.