Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thyme and all its lovelyness

Thyme is one of my favorite herbs. It is such a favorite I picked it to be my personal plant which I lovingly tended for a year and journaled about it for a school project. Thyme or Thymus vulgaris is a low growing ground cover that can be found most anywhere in the world, though (according to Culpeper) originated in india. Thyme loves the sun, but stays low to the ground for extra warmth, it is often wise to plant a rock next to a thyme plant to keep it warm. Despite this Thyme is extremely hardy and will last far into the winter in most climates and can be harvested most times of the year. (unless of course it is buried beneath 4 feet of never melting snow like here in Spokane).

Thyme always makes me happy to look at and its scent is wonderful and can sometimes be overwhelming if there is enough of it. Thyme is said in folklore to give one courage and I always feel more able to accomplish things after a cup or two under my belt. Laying in a bed of thyme is supposed to bring fairy's visiting your dreams. I suspect you would have pretty vivid dreams laying in this highly aromatic plant.

Thyme is warming and I often drink it in the winter when I feel chilled or sick. One strong cup of the stuff can warm cold extremities and can even induce sweating and break a fever if used in a bath. (If I have a fever I sometimes drink one cup of thyme tea and also infuse a hot bath with thyme to get my fever to break) Thyme is specific to the lungs. It aids in breaking up and moving mucous, and also aids is the healing of the lungs after infection or damage from smoking.

Thyme is also known for curing headaches and even helps migraines with the aid of rosemary. For headaches make a thyme vinegar and rub on your temples.

Like other plants in the mint family this herb is also associated with digestive health and is used for upset stomach, gas and even the expulsion of worms.

Thyme has a lovely taste, spicey, earthy and minty. Added to honey it makes a wonderful wintertime remedy for cough and other respiratory ailments it has a uniquely wonderful flavor. Just take a jar full of thyme (fresh) and pour honey over it. Make sure you keep a chopstick next to the jar and push the thyme under the honey level for it will keep rising in the jar. Leave this for six weeks and then strain. You can use the honey before six weeks just be sure to keep the level of honey above the thyme. The thyme will thin the honey quite a bit, but the results are amazing and will last for as long as you need. You can then add the thyme honey to your tea or just take it by the spoonful. I find it can also make a lovely spice if you use this instead of sugar to things like muffins.

Herbal Rituals, by Judith Berger
Culpeper's Complete Herbal, Culpeper