So, we have done five green leafy herbs (I am including the Parsley post in that count) so now, I want to think about some other herbs which are a little different in habit, but still just as powerful. You can still grow this on a windowsill, but perhaps in a separate pot from the rest of the herbs as it needs some different conditions to grow in. Today the blog is about thyme.
Thyme is a perennial shrub with a think woody base and square stems. The leaves are tiny and richly fragrant, with lilac or white flowers that appear in summer. Bees love them. And the bees that love them produce some fabulous tasting honey!
My favourite way of having thyme is in a lemon and breadcrumb stuffing for roast chicken. I am salivating just typing about that!! But you can also use it in tea, soups and stews. You can use the flowers, the leaves and the oil distilled from the leaves for the treatment of all kinds of ailments. From my research it includes bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, sore throat, colic, coughs and bronchitis and flatulence.
It has been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming, Ancient Greeks used it as an incense in temples and was commonly added to bath water. The Romans used it as a cheese and alcoholic beverage flavouring. It is thought they are the ones who brought Thyme to a wider audience in Europe.
Scientists in Canada have found that Thymol, the main ingredient in the essential oil of Thyme is a powerful antimicrobial. In their research, it was found to reduce the resistance of some bacteria who are currently resistant to drugs such as penicillin.
A research team at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK have tested the effects of Myrrh, Thyme and Marigold tinctures on acne. Apparently the Thyme worked best. It is even more effective than some of the prescription creams currently prescribed and it killed the bacterium responsible for acne within five minutes of exposure.
A further team of researchers in Belgrade, Serbia have reported that an aqueous extract of wild thyme had some success in reducing high blood pressure in rats. There needs to be further research into it before we can definitely say that it works in humans as well, but there is a track record that blood pressure in rats is similar to that in humans, so there is definitely hope!
One of the other tips I picked up in my research is that you should add Thyme towards the end of the cooking period so as not to loose the flavour and denature the volatile oils.
What an astounding herb! A natural wonder. And tasty into the bargain!