Herbs > Thyme (thymus vulgaris)
Also called Timo, Thyme is an excellent antiseptic for minor cuts and a
grazes. It can ease migraines and headaches when
rubbed onto the temples, and relieve rheumatism and
sciatica when applied to the affected areas.
Thyme tea will help alleviate sore throats and
coughs. Not only will it ease the pain and
irritation, the antiseptic component of thyme will
combat bacteria in the throat. Simply pour boiling
water over a small handful of fresh thyme and allow
to stand for several minutes.
An infusion of thyme can aid hangover recovery. This
is basically a stronger tea - leave to stand for a
full 30 minutes before drinking.
Thyme contains a strong antiseptic which can be
extracted as an oil. This oil, called Thymol, is
available at health stores. Alternatively, a thyme
oil can be made at home. This will be considerable
weaker than Thymol as it is not a pure extract, but
it is still very useful.
Bruise a generous handful of fresh thyme, using a
mortar and pestle, mixing in a little wine vinegar to
help the bruising process. Fill a medium sized jar
2/3 with a mild oil such as safflower oil (stronger
oils will over-power the herb) and add the bruised
thyme to it. Put a lid on the jar and shake it
thoroughly before leaving it to stand in a warm,
preferably sunny, place. Leave for three weeks,
shaking daily, then strain and bottle the oil.
Some people will find thyme oil irritant on
their skin. Test on a small patch of skin before
applying more generously.
Thymol should not be taken without professional
advice. It can have a severe poisonous effect, even
in small doses.
Thyme is a traditional culinary herb with a wide
range of uses in the kitchen. Add fresh or dried herb
to meat & vegetables according to taste. The
thyme oil described earlier also have culinary
applications - use it in salad dressing or add it to
oil when frying meat or vegetables for an extra zest
to the taste. However, thymol - the pure antiseptic
extract from thyme - is unsuitable for consumption.
Although it is native to the mountainous areas of
Spain and Italy, thyme will grow almost anywhere. It
can be grown from seed, sown in spring or autumn, or
by dividing mature plants. Thyme prefers poorer soil
and fertilising thyme will harm it or even kill it.
It will flourish all the more with heat, which can be
magnified by placing stones around the plant which
will reflect heat onto it.
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