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Thyme is a hardy perennial that seems to thrive no matter where you live. Even Texas. Where it will happily spend its days in my witchy garden.
Depending on the variety you choose to grow, it grows upright or creeps. I envision both in my garden: containers of upright herbs and its crawling cousins between stepping stones. I plan on having mint and other low growing herbs interspersed between the stones. Since thyme tends to go woody as it matures, trimming it will actually keep it nice and soft. Can you imagine how good walking through the garden is going to smell with all those herbs underfoot?
Thyme gets an automatic spot in the garden for a few reasons.
Magical. Medicinal. Culinary.
What else is there? Oh…it attracts pollinators too.
Thyme in History and Folklore
The word Thyme comes from the Greek meaning to “fumigate”. This indicates that it may have been burned in sacred rites. The Greeks thought very highly of Thyme. It was mixed in drinks to enhance intoxicating effects and induce bravery and warriors were massaged with thyme oil to ensure their courage. Women wore thyme in their hair to enhance their attractiveness. The phrase “to smell of thyme” meant that one was stylish, well-groomed, poised, and otherwise attractive.
Thyme is a Mediterranean native spread throughout Europe by the Romans. Their soldiers added it to their bathwater to increase bravery, strength, and vigor. It enjoyed a long association with bravery. In Medieval England, ladies embroidered sprigs of thyme into their knights’ scarves to increase their bravery. In Scotland, highlanders brewed tea to increase courage and keep away nightmares.
Thyme was used as early as 3000 BCE by Sumerians as an antiseptic. It does indeed have impressive antiseptic qualities.
It was used as an embalming herb in ancient Egypt and was burned in other places as offerings to celebrate Rites of Passing. It was placed in coffins throughout Europe to ensure passage into the next world.
Magical Attributes of Thyme
- Thyme is feminine in nature and associated with the element of water and the planet Venus. Thyme is also associated with Freya, Aphrodite, and Ares.
- Thyme can be used in magick spells to increase strength and courage.
- When working hard to achieve a goal that seems un-achievable, thyme can be used in spells to help you keep a positive attitude.
- Fumigate your home or make a floor wash with thyme to dispel melancholy, hopelessness and other mellow but negative vibrations, especially after a family tragedy or during a long sickness. Add marjoram to the mix to help draw joy back in while you’re at it.
- Place thyme beneath your pillow for a restful sleep and happy dreams and to prevent nightmares.
- Faeries love thyme. Its addition to your garden will attract them and it can be used in spells to communicate with faeries.
- Thyme is excellent in ritual baths and fumigation for early spring festivals when we seek to leave the old behind and begin anew.
Thyme Around the House
- The tiny flowers will attract bees to your garden. Honey made from these flowers is highly prized.
- Sachets of thyme hung in your closet or folded in with your stored clothes will keep moths out, and smells nicer than mothballs.
- A strong infusion of thyme makes a great hair rinse for dark hair and repels head lice. You can add rosemary as well if you have problems with dandruff.
- Oil of thyme can be used as a household cleaning agent as it is a good germ killer and drives away pests. Just put a few drops in a spray bottle with 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar.
Thyme for Healing
- Thyme has been used as a cough remedy and digestive aid as well as a treatment for internal parasites.
- The active constituent, Thymol, has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and a strong scent that helps loosen phlegm and soothes the respiratory system. It is used in many over the counter cold remedies.
- It is also used for athlete’s foot and hemorrhoids.
- For internal use, steep two teaspoons of fresh herb or one teaspoon of dried herb in one cup of boiling water. Drink no more than twice a day, in the morning and evening, to relieve lung problems and dispel parasites.
- A stronger infusion can be used as a mouthwash to treat sore gums, as a foot soak to get rid of athlete’s foot, a body or hair rinse for lice or dip a rag in it and use it as a compress for skin inflammations.
- Thyme can also be added to massage oils and bath oils for the treatment of rheumatism and general aches and pains. These oils can also be used for colds and lung complaints.
- Thyme has a long association with cooking and is part of French Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence. The most common type of thyme used in cooking is Common Thyme or English Thyme, but there are many varieties that can be used, all bring their own personality to the table.
- It adds a marvelous rich flavor to meat dishes and stews. Adds flavor to veggies too and is especially good on potatoes. Actually, you can put thyme on just about anything. Try it on grilled cheese sandwiches or in scrambled eggs. It combines well with parsley, sage, and rosemary, as the song says.
- Thyme is a tough herb and should be added early in cooking as the flavor is slowly released by heat.
- The flowers are edible as well as the leaves and make a lovely garnish.
- The woody stems can be laid over charcoal when barbecuing to flavor the smoke.
Learn more at https://witchipedia.com/book-of-shadows/herblore/thyme/.
Medicinally, thyme is an absolute powerhouse with centuries of use to back it up. Hippocrates said,
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.“
He wasn’t wrong in that very simple idea.
So many of our culinary herbs share as much space in the flavor garden as they do in the apothecary patch. For treating or preventing long term conditions, eating your medicine is definitely a viable idea. But what about when something acute comes up? That’s when these culinary herbs don their capes and really shine.
Leaf and Flower
Essential oil with variable constituents (thymol, cineole, borneol), flavonoids, tannins
Thyme is completely sage and nontoxic.
Thyme is a powerful and effective disinfectant and can be used both externally (as a wash) and internally to help fight off infection. It’s often used to help ward off colds and as a rinse to treat sore throat and oral infections. It also makes a fine tea for treating coughs and chest complaints and is used in many antifungal remedies. A recent study shows that it’s rich in antioxidants (most plants are) and has a markedly tonic effect, supporting normal body functions. It seems to have a positive effect on the glandular system as a whole, and especially the thymus gland.
Excerpted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, page 91
Any time my youngest (or really anybody but she’s the worst when it comes to coughs) starts with even the tiniest throat tickle, we brew up a batch of Livy’s Witchy Cough Syrup. You guessed it, one of the main ingredients is dried thyme.
I enjoy making syrups, and my kids enjoy taking them, so that’s the route I most often take. You don’t have to make it complicated though. A simple infused honey or cup of thyme tea imparts the same benefits.
Other Names: tomillo / mother of thyme / garden thyme / serpyllum
Composition: Thyme refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the plant.
Description / History: Thyme is a classic herb with historic benefits closely matching modern scientific uses. Thyme tea is best suited for respiratory complaints, namely whooping cough and bronchitis.
Pharmacological Actions: antispasmodic / expectorant / antibacterial / antioxidant / antiseptic / vermifuge
Indications: bronchitis / whooping cough / coughs / gastric complaints / mouthwash / deodorant / breathing disorders
Contraindications: none known
Additional Effects: none known
Interactions: none known
Dosage: 1-2 g herb per 8 ounce water
Method(s) of Administration: oral / internal
Excerpted from Botanical Medicine in the Home, pages 237-238
Thyme is a great windowsill container herb as long as you keep it in a well draining pot. This makes it amazingly easy to cut a few sprigs and toss them in the cooking pot with whole chicken and beef roasts. Y’all know I play it pretty fast and loose with my herbs and spices so it probably isn’t a surprise that any dish containing garlic and rosemary probably contain some thyme as well.
This ridiculously easy, no tomato meatloaf?
It has thyme in it.
You can find the recipe for this kitchen experiment HERE.
Of course sometimes we all run out of fresh and dried herbs. That’s why I’m so excited to keep Vitality Oils on hand.
Thyme Vitality™ essential oil is the concentrated distillation of Thyme, a classic and beloved kitchen herb. Thyme Vitality oil can be used in place of the dried spice in your favorite dishes and is always easy to keep on hand.
Thyme Vitality includes the naturally occurring constituents thymol, para-cymene, and gamma-terpinenecan, which makes it perfect for including as a dietary supplement in your everyday lifestyle. The benefits of Thyme Vitality make it an essential ingredient in Longevity™ essential oil blend, Inner Defense®, ParaFree™, and Rehemogen™.
Thyme Vitality Essential Oil Uses:
- Take 1–2 drops in a vegetarian gel capsule to enjoy the benefits of Thyme Vitality’s naturally occurring constituents.
- Include in your next pasta or poultry dish for a delicious new layer of flavor.
- Use a few drops in your marinade to infuse meats and vegetables with herby richness.
- Make your dips extra appetizing by adding a drop of Thyme Vitality.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Also known as Red Thyme. It is mentioned in one of the oldest known medical records, the Ebers Papyrus (dating from 16th century BC), an ancient Egyptian list of 877 prescriptions and recipes. The Egyptians used thyme for embalming. Listed in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (AD 78), Europe’s first authoritative guide to medicines, which became the standard reference work for herbal treatments for over 1,700 years.
Thyme was listed in Hildegard’s Medicine, a compilation of early German medicines by highly regarded Benedictine herbalist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179).
Medical Properties: Antiaging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, highly antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic. A solution of thyme’s most active ingredient, thymol, is used in many over-the-counter products such as mouthwash and vapor rubs because of its purifying agents.
Uses: Infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis
Fragrant Influence: It may be beneficial in helping to overcome fatigue and exhaustion after illness
Caution: May irritate the nasal membranes or skin if inhaled directly from diffuser or bottle or applied neat.
Excerpted from The Essential Oils Desk Reference, 7th Edition, page 134
Thank you for digging deeper into Thyme with me. I am very passionate about herbs, oils, and the education of their uses.
Please remember that essential oils are very concentrated products and should never be ingested unless specifically labeled for such use.
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Finally, the obligatory disclaimer.
I am not a doctor. None of the statements included in this post have been approved by the FDA or any other cool acronym known agency. It is Young Living’s official stance that they and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any specific disease or illness. Young Living Independent Distributor #14632733