A beautiful shrub that is grown widely, evoking the image of an English country garden! It is, in fact, not just a beaut’, but useful too! It has been cultivated and loved for centuries where the ancient Greeks and Romans used it medicinally. It is also said that in the Middle Ages, ladies would give sprigs of thyme to their champions in order to help maintain their courage during jousting tournaments.
A perennial, evergreen sub-shrub, thyme is a relatively easy plant to grow that prefers a sunny spot and a well-drained, light soil. Plant thyme along a path, for the more it is trodden on the stronger the smell! Three plants in a pot should provide you with all the thyme you would need for drying or fresh use. Plant thyme with brassicas as it deters cabbage worms.
- Thyme has many uses but is mainly used in treatment of lung problems. This is because it is an antiseptic (thymol, the essential oil of thyme, is 20 times stronger than phenol, the standard antiseptic), antispasmodic and expectorant. Taking syrup of thyme is useful for coughs of all sorts and wheeziness, and is gentle enough to use on children too. The infused oil can be rubbed into the chest to back up the effects of the syrup. Internally, for coughs, it can be taken as a tea, too.
- Thyme can also be used for intestinal and bladder infections as it is an antiseptic.
- Thyme is also an anti-fungal and a thyme vinegar could be used to treat fungal infections on the skin.
- Thyme essential oil is used in aromatherapy to help with tension, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, skin problems, coughs, colds and aches and pains. The oil, mixed with almond oil, can be rubbed onto the neck to help treat tonsillitis or inflamed glands.
Cosmetic and Other Uses
- Thyme’s aroma is said to lift depression and calm an anxious spirit. By all means then, keep an attractive lidded pot filled with dried thyme and other uplifting herbs in an easily accessible place. When feeling a bit down or anxious, or just whenever passing the pot, dig your hand in, rub the mixture in your hands, rub your fingers through your hair and over your clothes (so that the smell lingers) and feel uplifted and calm!
- A thyme infusion (tea) makes a good anti-dandruff scalp tonic.
- The essential oil can be added to an invigorating bath. It can be massaged into aching muscles.
- Thyme essential oil is not liked by many flying insects! Dried thyme and lavender leaves can be placed among clothes to keep away insects and fabric-eating moths.
Something to Try!
Thyme Cough Syrup
- 15g Dried Thyme
- 8g Dried Sage
- 8g Dried Chamomile
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 20 Cloves
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1l Water
- 450g Local Honey
In a large pot, place one liter of fresh water and the peeled garlic cloves. Bring to the boil. Add the other ingredients, except for the honey. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add honey and stir well. Strain for a less leafy drink. Place in jug and keep handy. Have when feeling chesty!
Strong Thyme teas and the essential oil is best avoided during pregnancy.