Herbs and Spices 101 -Thyme to Party

Herb or Spice

Herb

 History, Folklore & Properties 

Thyme is of Mediterranean origin. Egyptians used Thyme to preserve the mummy for the after-life. Medieval knights wore a scarf embroidered with a Bee hovering over a sprig of Thyme to symbolize courage. The ancient Greeks considered Thyme to be a symbol of style, courage, and elegance.  This herb grows best in full sunlight and dry soil with moderate watering. Thyme was the prime ingredient in centuries-old Benedictine liqueur.

Belonging to the mint family, Thyme grows in the early summer season through the late fall. You can recognize Thyme by its small leaves and tiny lavender/mauve flowers.

Taste & Flavor

With a distinctive, strong flavor, there are many different types of Thyme (bitter and sweet versions). Thyme is an extremely versatile herb. Sprigs of this herb go really well in stocks and marinades. The dried leaves go well in soups, seafood dishes, meat and poultry. This delicious herb also combines well with beans, on breads, with beets, mushrooms, rice, and pasta (but should be used sparingly because of its strong flavor). The key ingredient in Herbs de Provence it is truly one of my favorite herbs. It is also the key ingredient in the Caribbean jerk season and is also extremely popular in Middle Eastern, Creole, and Cajun cooking. Cook with fresh Thyme to aid support of respiratory health.

Healing

Thyme is also known for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, expectorant, and antioxidant properties. It heals health problems related to the lungs and throat. The herb (when made as a tea or taken in pill form) can expedite the healing of chronic and acute bronchial infections, coughs, chest colds, sore throats, hay fever, and sinus problems. Thyme has mucus clearing abilities and is ideal for chronic congestion.  This herb also stimulates the movement of energy, blood, and oxygen to the digestive tract. As a soaking agent Thyme can even pacify itchy foot fungal infections. The tea is also excellent for headaches. Thyme is full of minerals and trace minerals such as Iron. This can be very helpful for women who suffer from iron deficiency. Drinking a thyme tea is helpful after ministration, childbirth, and during menopause changes. Swish some Thyme tea for gum inflammation. Externally Thyme can soothe sore joints. Thyme will also decrease gas, bloating, and digestive upsets from your diet.

Magic and Potions

It is said that Thyme helps you sleep, purifies your home, and gives you the courage to accomplish anything (and can even attract love). When used as incense, it will promote health in your home and purify your home with peace and love. Adding Thyme teas to your bath water will help you release the past and fill you with a sense of peace and love. Wear Thyme around your neck to attract love. Place Thyme under your pillow for a peaceful night sleep and to help you gain access to information through your dreams.

In my Opinion

Recently, I have been under an enormous amount of stress. Tonight, to unwind from a long days work, I decided to share a bottle of my favorite red wine (ignoring the fact that after my second glass I am always guaranteed a belly full of gas and severe acid reflux). Since I have recently learned the healing properties of this herb, I decided to conduct a little experiment by drinking more than my half of the bottle of wine. Afterwards, I downed a teaspoon of Thyme herb (found in my kitchen) and waited for the results.

Within 10 minutes of chomping on this bitter herb, I let out the biggest belch that I have ever had (TMI); and at exactly one half hour after finishing all of my wine – I have yet to experience any acid reflux.

Was it the Thyme? Well, I can’t really say… but I do know that I feel damn good. We will see what the night holds.

A Herb Adventure

For those of you who have difficulties digesting food before bed try eating some Thyme after your meal or adding fresh Thyme to honey, and then adding that mixture to a warm cup of tea before you go to bed. Does it help?

(This article is not meant as means of self diagnosis or treatment – talk to your doctor to when seeking treatment and to find out what treatment(s) will work best for you.) These are just my ideas, personal observations, and thoughts I want to share.
 
*Reference Materials:
– The Spice Lover’s Guide to Herbs and Spices by Tony Hill
– The Herb and Spice Companion by Marcus Webb & Richard Craze
– The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride
– The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg
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