Thyme is any aromatic perennial from the genus Thymus. A relative of oregano genus Origanum, thyme has both culinary and medicinal uses. Thymus vulgaris is most commonly cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes. Other species of thyme include T. citriodorus such as lemon thyme, T. herba-barona or caraway thyme, and T. serpyllum, a wild, creeping thyme that is famous for wild thyme honey found in Greece and Malta. Additionally, there are a few members of the thyme family that are used as ground cover (T. pseudolanuginosus and T. praecox for example).
Culinary thyme can be used in everything from salad dressings to stews and has a long history of uses. The Egyptians used thyme to embalm. The Greeks used the aromatic in baths and as incense with the belief that it instilled courage. The Romans used thyme to flavor cheese and spirits, as well as, to purify the air.
During the Middle Ages in Europe thyme was said to ward off nightmares and was placed under pillows to aid in sleep and women gave knights and warriors gifts with thyme with the belief that it instilled courage.
Thyme was also burned as incense during funerals with the belief it assured safe passage into the afterlife.
Rosemary Gladstar suggests that thyme has become neglected. She feels it is one of best medicinal herbs and it's one of her favorites for cold and coughs. Thyme is an excellent disinfectant and can be used both topically and internally to fight germs.
Thyme can help ward off a cold or soothe a sore throat. As a tea or syrup it's helpful against coughs and cold. Thyme offers anti-microbial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties.
Additionally thyme can have a tonic effect on the body, supporting normal body functions, and has been shown to have a postive effect on the thymus gland and glandular system overall.
The essential oil also offers analgesic, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properites. Thyme, like many other herbs, produces essential oils that vary in chemotype or chemical makeup. Each offers its own unique benefits.
A few of the essential oils chemotypes we work with at the apothecary include: Thyme ct. linalool, Thyme ct. Thymol, and Benchmark thyme.
Thyme ct. linalool is the version we use in Be Lola Deep Conditioner. In addition to offering immune support and fighting germs it is soothing and centering. Linalool is also found in lavender. So it makes a great essential oil to add to a hair product to soothe the scalp and support the body overall.
Thyme ct. thymol is more of a tiger. Thymol is a phenol which is more aggressive against germs. However it can possibly be more irritating to skin and mucous membranes so it's suggested to use diluted to 1% (5-6 drops per ounce).
Benchmark thyme combines the power of thymol and the soothing benefits of linalool to produce an essential oil that is fantastic to fight germs without irritating the skin or mucous membranes. It's mentioned in Maggie Tisserand's book "Aromatherapy vs MRSA" for its usefulness in fighting skin infections.
You can benefit from adding thyme to your cooking and meals. And I offer a lovely herbal recipe below to combat colds and coughs.
The essential oil can be added to diffuser blends, lotions, salves, roll ons, baths, etc. to support immune health. If you have questions about thyme or aromatherapy in general feel free to contact Tricia.
Although simple to prepare this recipe offers amazing benefits.
1 - 2 oz of thyme (or use a combination of thyme and herbs you have on hand like oregano or mint)
2 cups of water
8 oz honey
1/8 cup brandy (optional)
glass storage container
Add thyme to a pot, cover with 2 c of water and bring to a low simmer. Cover and allow steam to escape. Reduce by 1/2 to produce a strong thyme tea (should be about 8 oz or 1 cup). Add an equal amount of honey and brandy if desired. Store in the refrigerator.
Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon every few hours to fight cold or cough or 1 tablespoon daily to help protect from germs.
If you have questions about how to use thyme essential oil or would like a custom product made with thyme contact Tricia.
Aromatic blessings my friends!