Aerial parts, essential oil.
Thyme possesses both antiseptic and stimulating properties and these make the herb an effective tonic for the immune system in people enduring persistent fungal contagions as well as a useful medication for all types of chest infections, including whooping cough, bronchitis and pleurisy. Infusion prepared with the thyme leaves is not only nice to taste, but also cures minor throat and chest infections. Often the thyme leaves are chewed raw to treat tender throats. Many herbal medicine practitioners recommend the use of thyme in combination with other herbs to treat asthma. This type of combined herbal medication is very useful for children. The stimulating features of this aromatic herb stabilize the tranquilizing effect caused by many herbs used to treat asthma. In addition, thyme is also an effective medication to treat hay fever. Moreover, thyme is used extensively to expel worms from the stomach of small children. When thyme is applied topically on the skin, it helps to alleviate pain and irritation owing to insect bites and stings. Topical application of the herb is also effective in relieving conditions, such as rheumatic pains and throbbing as well as sciatica (a painful disorder extending from the hip down the back of the thigh and surrounding area). The herb is also useful in treating fungal infections and scabies as well as lice. It is often prescribed for people having athlete's foot, ringworm and thrush (a disease caused by parasitic fungus). When the infusion prepared with thyme leaves is blended with bath water, it functions as refreshment.
The common or garden thyme has multifaceted culinary properties and is virtually central in all kitchens. Freshly harvested thyme can be added to numerous dishes to add flavor and essence. Many chefs also like the dried thyme, which has an acute and sharp fragrance. Most of the herbs lose their essence when they are added early in dishes. However, unlike them, thyme - an essential element of the characteristic French bouquet garni, retains its flavor even when it is added early in the culinary process. Thyme is widely used to add spice to seafood dishes like mussels and clams, tomato sauces as well as vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Garden thyme and clam and fish chowders go well together. The aromatic herb also blends perfectly with onion, garlic, wine and brandy to add essence to different types of meats, inclusive of roasts and sausages, wild game, and even poultry. The herb is more effective when used in preparation of dishes that require prolonged and leisurely cookery. The flavor of garden salads increase manifold if you add fresh thyme leaves and flowers to it. Fresh or dried leaves of this aromatic herb may also be added to butter and cooking oil to enhance essence. You may prepare a cup of stimulating herbal tea by permeating about 15 ml or three teaspoonful mashed fresh thyme leaves in 250 ml or one cup of boiling water. Cover the container soon after adding the thyme leaves and allow it to soak for around 10 minutes before filtering the tea. Add honey to make the infusion sweet as well as enjoyable. In addition, common or garden thyme is widely as well as commercially used to add flavor to olives, fried chicken, croutons, and poultry stuffing blends as well as liver pate. The essential oil extracted from this aromatic herb is utilized as preservatives. It is used to preserve butter and meat as well as in manufacturing ice cream, candy, chewing gum and the widely accepted liqueur Benedictine.
You may add the fragrant garden thyme in potpourris (blends of different dehydrated petals of roses or other flowers with spices, kept in a jar for their fragrance) and packets to add perfume.
Garden or common thyme is closely associated with the mother of thyme that is often referred to as wild thyme (scientific name Thymus serpyllum). This variety of thyme has a preference for light and well-drained soil that is also somewhat alkaline. In fact, garden thyme plants will not live for long if grown in heavy and wet soils. The recommended pH for growing garden or common thyme is between 4.5 and 8.0. Garden thyme develops and thrives best in places that receive full sunlight and where the plants don't have to compete for sunlight or growing space. Common or garden thyme can be propagated from its seeds, stem cuttings as well as layering. Layering is a method of propagating plants whereby a portion of an aerial stem grows roots while still attached to the parent plant and then detaches as an independent plant. If you are propagating garden thyme from its seeds, sow the seeds indoors approximately eight to ten weeks prior to the last date of frosting in your area. The seeds are usually sown shallow, in a depth of about 6 mm (one-fourth inch) or even less below the surface of the soil. It usually takes around two weeks' time for the thyme seeds to germinate. When the threat of frosting is over, you may transplant the seedlings in their permanent position outdoor. While transplanting the seedlings outdoors, remember to maintain a space of approximately 15 cm to 20 cm (6-8 inches) between two seedlings providing them enough space to grow. To propagate garden thyme by means of stem cuttings, obtain the cuttings during the spring. Cut back a stem of a new growth from the top of the plant. Remove the leaves from the bottom part of the branch and place it in drenched sand with a view to allow it to develop roots. Propagation of the garden thyme through the layering procedure should also be done in the latter part of spring. Hold down a lowly positioned branch of an existing plant and plaster it with soil. Just leave the tip of the branch exposed. When the pinned sprig has developed roots, detach it from the mother plant. This is the normal procedure of propagation by means of layering and when this is complete, cut the pinned branch and plant it on the soil as a small plant to grow individually. It is essential to divide the fully grown garden thyme plants once in every two to three years with a view to stop them from becoming timbered and unkempt. Garden or common thyme plants are usually free from invasion of pests, but if proper care is not taken they will become vulnerable to root damage or rotting and leaf spot. The thyme plants need to be protected from frosting during the winter months, therefore, arrange for adequate mulching with leaves and straw during cold period. The common or garden thyme should be planted in a container having a depth of around 10 inches or 25 cm using the normal potting soil. You need to add some rough sand to the soil with a view to arrange for a proper drainage system. Let the pot to become somewhat dry between two watering and add compost that is soluble in water blended at half strength once in every four weeks. Always keep the container or pot warm and in a place that receives adequate sunlight. It is important to remember that the garden thyme plants need a cold period and also the fact that fully grown plants of this species do not develop properly when they are grown indoors. If you propagate garden thyme from its seeds indoors during the later phase of summer, they develop into young plants by the beginning of the winter and provide you with adequate amount fresh aromatic leaves during the cold months.
The volatile or unstable oil extracted from thyme plant is a potent antiseptic and one of its constituents called thymol is a very effectual anti-fungal element. The oil also possesses expectorant properties and helps to get rid of worms from the body. Apart from thymol, two other constituents of thyme - methylchavicol and the flavonoids, are effective in alleviating muscle contractions. Studies conducted by scientists in Scotland in the 1990s hinted that thyme as well as the volatile oil extracted from the herb both possesses considerable stimulant properties that not only endorse the body's usual activities, but also help in neutralizing the aging effects.
The recommended dosage of the infusion prepared with thyme is 200 ml or 8 fl. oz taken twice daily. If you are using a tincture prepared with thyme, the normal dosage is 2 ml or 40 drops taken thrice daily. Thyme can also be taken as syrup and this may be taken in combination with licorice and ingested for treating coughs and tender throats. You may take 10 ml or two teaspoons of the syrup thrice daily. The essential oil extracted from thyme may be used in combination with other oils in base oil or alone. Use two drops of the thyme essential oil in 50 ml or four tablespoon of base oil and massage it on the body to invigorate the blood circulation as well as warm up the cold joints. The essential oil from thyme may also be utilized as an inhaler by adding it to water. Inhaling the watered down essential oil opens up the clogged airways. If you add the infusion prepared with thyme to your bath water, it will not only help you to unwind, but also calm down the tender muscles.
Since the oil extracted from thyme is volatile, caution needs to be exercised while using it. This oil may result in some side effects and some people using it may experience dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). It is not advisable to use the thyme oil without consulting an experienced and competent medical practitioner or healthcare provider as it is venomous. Self-medication with this volatile herbal oil is strictly prohibited. Use of thymol, present in thyme oil, may also result in side effects, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and muscular debility. In addition, this volatile oil may also lead to the inhibition of the heart's functioning, slow down respiration and also decrease the body temperature. This aromatic herb is known to have an influence on the menstrual cycle; hence its use is not recommended during pregnancy or for nursing mothers. Although consuming thyme during pregnancy seems to be harmless. This is primarily owing to the fact that the amount of the herb usually consumed is less than the therapeutic dosages.
According to herbalist Culpeper, thyme is basically a medication to treat problems of the respiratory system. This property of the herb is again attributed to thymol present in the volatile oil extracted from thyme. The antiseptic and expectorant properties of thymol are effective for treating chest contagions as well as other respiratory disorders. In addition, thymol is also effective in treating problems of the urinary tract, where it is useful as an antiseptic. When thymol is used in combination with other ingredients they together function as an anti-spasmodic agent. Such combined usage of the herb has a tranquilizing influence that is especially used to treat asthma in children as well as people enduring hay fever. Additionally, the herb has an anti-larval function. The volatile oil obtained from thyme may be applied topically in base oil as a counter-irritant in the musculoskeletal system. In other words, the oil may be massaged to bring in blood to parts of the body to warm up cold joints in the instance of rheumatic problems.
Thyme stems and leaves should be harvested just before the plant begins to blossom. Leaving around 5 cm or two inches from the ground cut the entire plant with the purpose of drying the leaves and stems for later use. During the remaining part of the season, only harvest the tips of the boughs so that the plants remain strong enough to stay alive through the fall and the winter months. In order to dry the garden or common thyme, place the cut stems of the plants on a flat surface or hang them in bundles in any shady and arid place. Remove the dried leaves from the stems and store them in a sealed container. Alternately, you may also store the thyme stems by freezing them. To freeze the thyme stems, place them on a cookie tray and store them in sealed freezer sachets for use whenever needed.