Saturday, July 25, 2015

Seedy Saturday- Thyme

Happy Saturday everyone!  This week, take some thyme to learn about another popular herb.


There are over 350 species of thyme, such as creeping thyme, which is a good ground coverer and lemon thyme which emits a strong scent resembling lemons.  The kind grown most often to cook with is a shrub reaching 1 foot tall, with small, oval, aromatic leaves, accompanied by tiny clusters of purple flowers in summer. 

A large number of species are native to areas within the Mediterranean.  The Etruscans and Egyptians used thyme for embalming and the Greeks used it as a temple incense, as the word “Thymus” means “courage” or “to fumigate” in Greek.  The soldiers of Rome bathed in thyme water to give themselves vigor, and it was also thought to be a good herb for medicinal purposes.  This herb was introduced to the English by the Romans and ladies would embroider sprigs of thyme on scarves for their knights, as it was a symbol of courage during the Middle Ages.  More practically used however, branches would be burned and thrown on the floor to cleanse homes. 

As a medicine, thyme was used to relieve asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough.  Hookworm could also be ejected with this herb, but like many essential oils, it can be fatal if a high enough dose is ingested.  When used externally, it can also cause irritation to the skin.  In a food dish however, it is quite good with soups, eggs, meats, breads, tomatoes and other vegetables. 
Take care,
Catie Welch

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