Just in thyme for the beginning of the cold and flu season, nature’s herbal throat-soother may be growing in your garden. This perennial herb has been used medicinally for thousands of years for everything from sore throats and laryngitis to skin disorders and intestinal parasites.
That’s quite a list for an herb as small, compact and hardy – not to mention as tasty – as thyme. Best grown in sun and well-drained soil, thyme does well both in containers as well as in the ground, especially along paths as a sturdy, fragrant ground cover.
Low growing, with delicate leaves on woody stems, thyme comes in a nearly endless variety and range of colors including green, yellow and silver. Botanists recognize 300-400 species throughout the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe according to the website efloras.org <http://efloras.org>.
Known for having both antibacterial and antifungal properties, oil of thyme is used to fight fungal nail infections naturally. Current research from Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom shows that thyme can even kill the bacteria that cause acne.
“If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments,” researcher Margarita Gomez-Escalada, PhD, says in a news release. Many current acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide, a harsh chemical with frequent common side effects including skin irritation and burning sensations.
Thyme was used in ancient Egypt and Greece. It was the Romans who were credited with spreading thyme through Western Europe. Thyme is a main ingredient in the French bouquet garni herb bundle and used to flavor so many mouth-watering Provençal dishes. In the Middle East it is a key component to the za’atar mixture of savory herbs and spices, and a fixture dish in many regions.
Try making a simple tea from fresh thyme leaves next time you have a sore throat. Or better yet, try making a delicious and nutritious smoothie like this one:
- 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 1 cup rice milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon honey
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. For a thicker smoothie use only 1/2 cup of rice milk and 1.5 cups of pineapple. The rice milk can be replaced by water. For a cold smoothie use frozen pineapple.