The Winter months can be a good time to really reconnect with some of our evergreen aromatic garden herbs. This month I have found myself particularly drawn to using Thyme, so thought it would be nice to begin a herbal journey focusing on it.
Thyme is thought to derive its name from the Greek words ‘thymos’ meaning strong and ‘thyein’ meaning to make a burnt offering, highlighting its ancient use as an incense.
Thyme is rich in the active ingredient ‘thymol’ which has powerful antiseptic properties. So much so, the compound has been isolated and used in high doses in a range of commercial products including medical disinfectants.
Thyme is a warming and dry herb that has long been used to help respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, asthma and mouth conditions such as gum disease. Its astringent and decongestant properties support the clearing of excess mucous from the body.
It is also celebrated for its support of the digestive system, helping with indigestion, diarrhoea, gas and calming the stomach, particularly symptoms of nervous tension in the gut.
As a nervine, Thyme has been used to help support physical and mental exhaustion, relieve tension, anxiety and depression and externally this warming herb can offer relief for joint and muscle pain, cleaning and wound healing.
How I like to enjoy Thyme currently:
- My favourite way to enjoy Thyme is simply in a tea. Steeping a few stems in boiling water for around 10 minutes, I enjoy drinking thyme solo, or mixed with other herbs or a spoon of honey. You can also gargle with this tea when you have a sore throat.
- Thyme can also be effective when used for steam inhalation to clear airways and uplift our senses. Add thyme either solo or with other herbs to a bowl of boiling water. Allow to steep under a towel for 10 minutes. Then begin to gently breath in the steam with your head under the towel for up to 10 minutes.
- I love adding Thyme to a range of dishes including tomato sauces, to roasted vegetables and soups and stews.
- One of Thyme’s oldest uses is as an incense. It can be thrown into a fire, popped on top of a wood burner or left to dry and then burned to obtain the healing smoke. I like to add it in to smoulder sticks. My recent Winter Allies Smoulder Stick was woven with thyme and other evergreens.
- The other way I have used Thyme recently is in a multipurpose cleaner, which is simply a selection of evergreens infused in white vinegar, left for 2 weeks and then strained and diluted 1:1 with distilled water.
We would love to hear the ways in which you enjoy using Thyme. As with all plants it is always important to do your own research. Thyme and certain other herbs are not recommended for use in pregnancy.