Thyme is a perennial perennial aromatic herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. The most common variety is the vulgar thymus. Thyme is from the genus Thymus of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and a relative of oregano from the genus Origanum.
Thyme – Origin
The ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burned it as incense in their temples, believing it to be a source of courage. It was believed that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and “give an aromatic flavor to cheese and spirits.”
In the European Middle Ages, grass was placed under pillows to aid sleep and prevent nightmares. In this period, women often also gave gifts to knights and warriors that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the wearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed in coffins during funerals, as it was supposed to ensure passage to the next life.
The genus name of the Thymallus fish, given to the grayling (T. thymallus, described in the 1758 edition of Systema Naturae by the Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus), originates from the faint smell of thyme that emanates from the meat.
Thyme – Uses
Thyme is best grown in a warm, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and then grows as a perennial. It can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, or sections of the plant that are rooted. It tolerates drought well. The plants can be deep frozen and are found growing wild in the highlands of the mountains.
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In some Levantine countries, and Assyria, the seasoning za’atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It is a common component of the bouquet garni and herbes de Provence.
Thyme is sold fresh and dry. Whereas in the summer season, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available throughout the year. The fresh form is tastier, but also less convenient; storage life is seldom more than one week.
Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of twigs. A twig is a single stem cut from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaves or clusters of flowers (“leaves”) separated by 1⁄2 to 1 inch (13 to 25 mm) apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), by the twig, by the tablespoon, or the teaspoon.
The essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20 to 54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-cymene, myrcene, borneol, and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is an active ingredient in several commercially produced mouthwashes, such as Listerine. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, thyme oil was used to medicate bandages.
Thyme – Species
- Variegated lemon thyme
- Thymus citriodorus – various lemon thyme, orange thyme, lemon thyme
- Thymus herba-barona (caraway thyme) is used as a culinary herb and ground cover, and has a strong caraway smell due to the chemical carvone.
- Thymus praecox (thyme mother, wild thyme), is cultivated as an ornamental.
- Thymus pseudolanuginosus (woolly thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a groundcover.
- Thymus serpyllum (wild thyme, creeping thyme) is an important source of nectar for bees.
- All species of thyme are sources of nectar, but wild thyme covers large areas of drought, rocky soils in southern Europe (both Greece and Malta are especially famous for wild thyme honey), and North Africa as well. as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire and Catskill mountains. of the northeastern United States. The lower growth of the widely used thyme is good for walkways. It is also an important caterpillar plant for large and common blue butterflies.
- Thymus vulgaris (common thyme, English thyme, summer thyme, winter thyme, French thyme, or garden thyme) is a commonly used culinary herb. It also has medicinal uses. Common thyme is a Mediterranean perennial that is best suited to well-drained soils and full sun.
Thyme – Benefits
Thyme to stop coughing
Thyme essential oil, obtained from its leaves, is often used as a natural cough remedy. In one study, a combination of thyme and ivy leaves helped relieve coughs and other symptoms of acute bronchitis. The next time you have a cough or a sore throat, try some thyme tea.
Thyme to boost your immunity
Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging. Fortunately, thyme is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. If you have a cold, thyme can help you regain health.
Thyme to disinfect
Mold is a common but potentially dangerous air pollutant that can lurk in your home. Once you identify it, take the necessary steps to get rid of it once and for all. Thyme oil may be the answer for low concentrations of mold. Thyme and thymol essential oil have many fungicidal properties.
Thyme to get rid of pests
Thymol is also an ingredient in many pesticides, both outdoors and indoors, and is commonly used to attack bacteria and viruses, as well as rats, mice, and other animal pests. You can also make homemade repellent by mixing four drops of thyme oil in each teaspoon of olive oil, or mixing five drops for every 2 ounces of water.
Thyme for good smells
Organic and natural skin care products can now be found in most retailers, and many contain thyme. It is a common ingredient in mouthwash. Thyme is also a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and is often included in potpourri.
Thyme to improve your mood
Thyme essential oil is often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes due to its active substance carvacrol. In a 2013 study, carvacrol was shown to affect neuron activity in ways that increased subjects’ feelings of well-being.
Thyme for a good meal
Thyme is a wonderful ingredient that is used in cuisines around the world, especially in France, Italy, and throughout the Mediterranean. Fresh leaves or whole twigs can be used when preparing meat or chicken. Thyme is also a great ingredient to use with fish, as in this heart-healthy white fish recipe. This Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese with Mushroom and Thyme is a grown-up twist on a childhood favorite.
Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.