For the last few weeks Thyme has been calling my name. I have never paid it much attention while it’s mixed into my Italian herb seasoning but I have recently enjoyed it alone and have added it in my soups, popcorn, and along with garlic on my pizza! Thyme has a fresh earthy yet lemony flavor and tastes great fresh or dried in so many dishes including desserts. There is a long history dating back to Roman times of this fragrant herb being worked with in many ways including in the kitchen but it has been used in medical and spiritual practices as well. The Greeks and Romans recognized the delicious power of Thyme and believed in its ability to provide protection, purification, healing, and luck. For this reason I think it’s time to get to know Thyme a little better.
Thyme is a low-growing woody perennial shrub with small fragrant leaves and thin stems. The culinary varieties that we find in the grocery store are evergreen but there are many more varieties that grow in different parts of the world. The flowers, leaves, and oil of Thyme have been utilized as incense to purify the mind and spirit as well as to treat a range of ailments and physical complaints too. This includes supporting heart health, acne, digestive, urinary, and reproductive health. Read on to learn how to work with this plant to reap the benefits it carries.
Due to its antispasmodic properties Thyme may help to relax veins and arteries, which promotes ease and lowers blood pressure and stress on the heart. The antispasmodic action of this herb can also help to relieve intestinal cramping and reduce bloating, promoting the overall wellbeing of the digestive tract. Studies have found Thyme to be useful in promoting kidney health in that it promotes regular urination. Thyme without upsetting the delicate electrolyte balance while also ensuring that too much fluid isn’t retained.
A study conducted at a University in England determined that Thyme may be useful in treating ailments of the skin. In testing various tinctures targeting the bacteria that causes acne, it was discovered that Thyme’s antibacterial effect proved stronger than that of standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, without the unwanted burning sensation often found in acne treatments. Another study, this time conducted in Ethiopia, determined that Thyme may also provide antifungal support. Participants of this study utilized an antifungal cream containing Thyme essential oil to treat eczema and found that 66.5 percent of those treated had a full recovery from their eczema flare. The final study conducted at a University in Italy supports the antifungal claim as their study found that Thyme was able to eradicate C. albicans fungus which can lead to yeast infections of the mouth and vagina.
There is so much that this little plant is capable of doing and it turns out its very easy to work with! Just how I began adding the dried herb to the foods I already enjoy, you too can incorporate this healing plant into your daily activities to reap the benefits to mind, body, and spirit. There are no contraindications associated with regular use of Thyme however in large quantities this feminine energetic plant may impact milk supply for nursing parents as it contains small amounts of phytoestrogen. If you’re interested in incorporating Thyme into your life check out the following recipe from Naturopathic Kitchen or consider trying Thyme Essential Oil for topical treatments, always remember to use carrier oils.
1 celeriac root
2 large parsnips (or substitute carrots if desired)
5 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 tbsp dried oregano
1⁄2 tsp sea salt
1⁄4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dried thyme (rounded)
3 tbsp extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
6 cups chicken, vegetable or mushroom broth
Peel and chop the potatoes, celeriac root, and parsnips. Wash and slice the leeks. Place all of the vegetables in a covered roasting pan and add the oil and seasonings. Stir to coat. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Cool the vegetables and process through a mixer, food processor, or ricer. Add the broth until desired consistency is reached. Stir well and warm before serving. This soup stores well and reheats easily in a microwave.
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Full Spectrum Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides whole person wellness education along with a full spectrum of support for all birthing outcomes. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy release. If you or someone you love are interested in support let's connect! I look forward to meeting you!