The herb Thyme (a member of the mint family) is one that has been around for hundreds of years and has been used for a variety of purposes. There are more than 350 species of this herb and in ancient times, the plant was known to pass on courage, strength, and stamina, and was even used as a cure for being melancholy.
The most common use nowadays is to cook with it. Fresh or dried thyme leaves have a wonderful fragrance and flavor that adds to a variety of dishes and cultural cuisine. It’s popular for use in soups, sautéed veggies, casseroles, stews, stuffing, and even custards. There are also some medicinal uses for thyme. Using thyme essential oil can help calm stress and when using it in bathing can be used to ease sore joints or muscles and in infants, has even shown to help ease colic. It is rich in thymol, which is a strong antiseptic and antibiotic. It’s commonly used in mouthwashes and cough drops and has been used to treat acute and chronic bronchitis, whooping cough, or other upper respiratory tract infections. Other ways it has been used is for anti-fungal use that can help treat lice, scabies, or crabs. The herbs in the mint family, including thyme, have also been known to have anti-cancer properties to them.
Wondering how you can introduce thyme into your regular routines? Try making a tea out of crushed thyme leaves. Crush the leaves, let it steep, and then strain. When cooking meat – especially lamb, poultry, or pork – you can use whole stems of thyme to help season the meat. Or, if you’re looking for a healthy side dish idea, sauté asparagus or green beans with lemon and fresh thyme. It’s also great when used in soup or when added to a stock for stew.
1. Thyme-Health Benefits. Vegetarianism & Vegetarian Nutrition. http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/herbs/thyme.php Accessed August 5, 2012.
2. “Medicinal Uses of Thyme.” Off the Grid News.co. May 26, 2011. http://www.offthegridnews.com/2011/05/26/medicinal-uses-of-thyme/ Accessed August 5, 2012