The Magical Herb that is Thyme

With colder temps arriving in North Carolina, I found myself starting to think about harvesting the herbs from our garden before the cold weather really arrives and puts an end to running outside for some fresh herbs while making dinner. Every year we plant a selection of herbs that we use we most in our kitchen to ensure we are never short on things to make the meals found in the Favorite Favorites Section of my blog. With all the herbs in the garden one of my favorites is Thyme!

We all know that everyone can use a bit more thyme in there day. While that may sound like some silly pun regarding the numbers of hours found in each day, I am actually talking about Thyme the herb in that statement. The reason is simple; for thousands of years, thyme has been the superstar of herb gardens around the world. While you most likely already know thyme is great for cooking with you may not know it has many other uses as well. Did you know that if you roll back the years into history Thyme was used as an antidote for poison, a plague preventative, a symbol of bravery in battle and a stalwart companion to the grave, thyme has a far more storied past than you’d think if you were walking past it in the supermarket today. Thyme’s reputation as a healer and protector goes back thousands of years. In the Roman era, it was widely held that eating thyme either before or during a meal would protect you from poison. For obvious reasons, this made the herb a particular favorite of the emperors. It was even said that a bath in warm water liberally dosed with thyme could stop the effects of poison after it was inadvertently consumed.

Six Great Reasons You Should Grow Thyme

  1. It is Easy to Grow - It doesn't take much care to grow, all you need to do is make sure it gets a bit of water and sunlight, other than that regular harvesting will keep it naturally pounded. When fall tools around cut the woody stems back by half.
  2. It has lots of medical uses - It is a strong antiseptic for cuts, scrapes, acne or sore muscles. While you can buy thyme essential oil or natural products with the active ingredient thymol in it, try making your own thyme infused oil using the directions provided here. Below you will find some of the many uses for thyme oil.
  3. Culinary Deliciousness - It can be used as both a fresh and dried herb in the kitchen, countless recipes from my Favorite Favorites call for thyme in both forms.
  4. Host Plant - It is a host plant for a range of beneficial insects and pollinators! One of the most common is lacewings which are voracious predators of aphids, whiteflies, cabbage moth caterpillars, and many others.
  5. Aromatic Pest Confuser - The strong scent will confuse pests that are trying to sniff out your other great herbs and crops. Best of all lemon thyme will also help keep mosquitoes away!
  6. Helps Prevents Erosion - Even after only a year of growth, thyme has extremely deep roots, with a growth between two - three feet each year! These long roots are great for controlling erosion!

Thyme Provides Essential Minerals for our Bodies

When you think about foods that are rich in iron the first thing that is likely to come to mind is meats and beans, its unlikely thyme is even on your list. While you may not think of it 2tsp of this wonderful herb dried delivers the equivalent of almost 20% of the recommended daily value of iron. As little as 2tsp of thyme tea supplies 60% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K (essential for blood clotting), and 12% of daily value of manganese.

In addition to drying it at the end of the growing season, in our home it is also converted into an oil, if you have never made herb infused oil you can find simple to follow directions by clicking here.

Uses for Thyme Oil

Due to thyme oil’s antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, and calming properties, it has a long list of uses that include:
  • Home remedy – Thyme oil is used to relieve and treat problems like gout, arthritis, wounds, bites, and sores, water retention, menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea and fatigue, respiratory problems (like colds), skin conditions (oily skin and scars), athlete’s foot, hangovers, and even depression.
  • Aromatherapy oil – The oil can be used to stimulate the mind, strengthen memory and concentration, and calm the nerves.
  • Hair product – It is said that thyme oil can prevent hair loss. It is used as a treatment for the scalp and is added to shampoos and other hair products.
  • Skin product – Thyme oil can help tone aged skin and prevent acne outbreaks.
  • Mouthwashes and herbal rinses – Like peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oils, thyme oil is used to improve oral health.
  • Insecticide/insect repellent – Thyme oil can keep insects and parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and moths away.
  • Relieve pain – Mix three drops of thyme oil with two teaspoons of sesame oil. Use this mixture as a massage oil and apply on the abdominal area to relieve pain. This may also be used as a massage oil to treat other types of pain.
  • Alleviate fatigue – Add two drops of thyme oil to your bath water.
  • Improve sleep – Add a few drops to your diffuser.
  • Promote oral health – Use thyme oil as a mouthwash by adding one drop to a cup of warm water.
  • Reduce appearance of scars and skin marks – Apply oil of thyme mixed with any carrier oil (like almond oil) on the affected area.
  • Use as cleanser – Add a few drops of thyme oil to your facial wash.
  • Treat or protect against respiratory problems – Add two drops of thyme oil to hot water and use for steam inhalation.
  • Uplift mood – Simply inhale the scent of thyme oil.

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