Thyme is a versatile herb used to spice and flavor soups and meat dishes; also used as an ornament; artistically placed to garnish gourmet dishes; and used for medicinal purposes for centuries to ease a range of symptoms. The aroma is described as minty or light lemon depending on the variety.
The volatile active ingredient in thyme is the oil called thymol. The oil from thyme is reputed to be a potent antioxidant. The fresh and dried herb is also used to make a tincture and steep in hot water to make a refreshing tea.
There is little variation from the popular name thyme and the botanical name of thymus. Garden and lemon thyme are the popular varieties in the West. It is thought to have originated from Rome and Egypt and introduced to the mountains of Spain and European countries close to the Mediterranean region. From Europe thyme was introduced to the west.
Health Benefits of Thyme
Extracts of thyme are used to alleviate a range of symptoms which affect the major systems of the body. There are specific instructions with respect to the doses, quantities and frequency for use. Here are a few symptoms and illnesses that may be helped using extracts of thyme:
o Sore throat
o Bedwetting, and nightmares
o Arthritis, sprains, rheumatism
o Bacterial infections (antiseptic and antibacterial use on skin)
o Anti-cancer effects
- Breast cancer (wild thyme)
- Colon cancer (Thymus mastichina)
o Vaginal yeasts (thyme essential oil)
o Menstrual cramps
o Lowering hypertension (experimental research)
o Hair loss, Balding (alopecia)
Having Thyme as a tea has additional benefits
Are you willing to substitute your morning coffee for a freshly brewed cup of thyme? Here are some benefits that will accrue overtime. A cup a day is a gentle detox for all the major organs. It is a gentle diuretic as it increases the production of urine. This herbal tea is refreshing and reinvigorating and is a good choice to jump start your day.
Thyme… a culinary delight
The flavor is bold and yet does not overpower or mask other flavors with which it is combined. Thyme enhances the taste of soups of all kinds (i.e. vegetable, beef, chicken, fish, to name a few). Before cooking, meats and fish are marinated using the leaves of thyme.
Thyme leaves rival rosemary and oregano when baked on chicken, beef or fish to give a delectable flavor. Impress family and friends with gourmet touches using thyme to garnish vegetable and meat dishes.
A Word of Caution
Thyme should not be used by pregnant women as it could have the unwanted effect of increasing the blood pressure. Herbal preparations should not be given to children unless recommended by a registered naturopathic doctor.
Thyme…a gift of nature
Thyme can be grown as a potted plant or in a herbal garden. This then allows you to pick a few leaves when needed. If this is not an option for you then freshly bought thyme can be wrapped in damp paper towel and kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The dried leaves are as aromatic as the fresh leaves and can be stored in a jar with a cover for a long time.
The versatility of thyme is impressive and so it is the super herb and the flavor of the week.