The Thyme herb comes from the species
, part of the Mint Family. This fragrant herb has culinary uses and internal/external medicinal applications.
Thyme is a perennial herb easy to grow and maintain in a garden. The common variety looks like a tiny shrub with grayish/greenish leaves growing from strong wood-like stems; it flowers throughout the summer season. The three main varieties are French, English and German; differences lie in the color and shape of the leaves and the chemical composition of oil extracted from the plant.
Thyme has antiseptic, anti-fungal, immune reinforcement and healing properties. Thyme is an excellent topical agent and can be used in homemade balms, with a ghee base, to treat small cuts, rashes, sores and acne. In addition, oil from the Thyme herb, alone or in conjunction with other herbs, can be massaged into muscles and joints. This brings heat and blood to the area, decreasing inflammation and pain associated with rheumatic issues.
In general, an increase in blood circulation stimulates the entire body; the warmth from thyme can helps fatigue, depression, anxiety. Thyme is a powerful antiseptic, making it an ideal tonic for respiratory ailments such as asthma, coughs, and allergies and infections such as bronchitis, whopping cough and pleurisy. Chewing on raw thyme leaves can also soothe a sore throat. In addition to being an antiseptic, Thyme is also a powerful astringent. This combination makes it effective in treating gastro-entological issues such as indigestion and poor appetite. Thyme also contains strong antifungal properties and can treat nail fungus, athlete's foot, and yeast infections. In aromatherapy, essential oil extracted from the Thyme herb is used to treat mental stress, lift low spirits and enhance mood.
Thyme has a powerful scent and taste and can easily overpower a dish. When used properly, dried of fresh Thyme can enhance the flavor of many dishes. Thyme is commonly used in seafood, vegetarian dishes, soups and sauces.
Thyme is often used in potpourri sachets. Thymol, found in thyme oil, is an ingredient in many commercial mouthwashes.
The Thyme herb is relatively safe; pregnant women should avoid taking medicinally as a tincture or tonic; essential oils should only be used topically. Caution should also be taken with Thymol and
. The extracted oil can be volatile and result in headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting and, in extreme cases, decrease heart and respiration. As with any herb, consult a knowledgeable practitioner before using medicinally.