The Many Uses of Thyme


The Many Uses of the Herb Thyme 
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Definition of thyme

1: any of a genus (Thymus) of Eurasian mints with small pungent aromatic leaves especiallya Mediterranean garden herb (T. vulgaris) 2: thyme leaves used as a seasoning

Merriam-Webster

This is the dictionaries version but, it does not do it justice. Thyme is so much more than just an herb; it’s a powerful healer.

For those of us who love natural living and Herb ‘N Wisdom™, thyme is a must-have in our gardens and dried in our cupboards. For those of you, not familiar with its uses, please continue to read so you too may fall in love with this herb.

Food Uses


Thyme in Food

Thyme is taken as an appetite stimulant and to flavor different foods. These foods include soups, sauces, potatoes, rice dishes, vegetables, and fresh bread.

Raspberry-Thyme Vinegar

This beautiful raspberry- and thyme-infused vinegar works well in vinaigrettes. Combine with walnut oil and a pinch of salt and toss with baby spinach and goat cheese for a quick salad. Or stir into a few raspberry preserves and use it as a glaze for pork tenderloin. The recipe makes enough vinegar, so you’ll have extra to decant into a decorative bottle or two to give away as a simple homemade gift. Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2012

Raspberry-Thyme Vinegar 
photo and recipe by Eating Well Test Kitchen
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Recipe Summary

Total: 40 mins Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 6 cups white-wine vinegar
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries
  • 12 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Additional fresh herbs for decoration (optional)

Directions

  • Step 1– Wash 3 pint-size (2-cup) heatproof glass canning jars (or similar containers) and their lids with hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly with hot water. Fill a large, deep pot (such as a water bath canner) about half full with water. Place the jars upright into the pot; add enough additional water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil; boil jars for 10 minutes. Add the lids to the pot, and then remove the pot from the heat. Let the jars and lids stay in hot water as you prepare the flavoring and vinegar. (Keeping the jars warm minimizes breakage when filling with hot liquid.)
  • Step 2– Thoroughly rinse raspberries and thyme with water. Remove the jars from the water bath with a jar lifter or tongs. Divide the raspberries and thyme among the jars. Heat vinegar in a large saucepan to a bare simmer (at least 190 degrees F). Carefully divide the vinegar among the prepared jars, leaving at least 1/4-inch of space between the top of the jar and the vinegar. Remove lids from the water bath, dry with a clean towel, and screw tightly onto the jars.
  • Step 3– Store the jars in a cool, dark place, undisturbed, for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain vinegar through cheesecloth into another container until the vinegar looks clear. Repeat as needed until all the sediment is removed and the vinegar is clear. Discard all solids and pour the strained vinegar back into the rinsed jars or divide among sterilized decorative bottles. Decorate with a few well-rinsed fresh sprigs of thyme or raspberries, if desired. (Decorative raspberries will begin to breakdown after a few weeks in the vinegar so, remove them once they begin to lose their shape and or color.)

Tips

Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 1 year.

Equipment: 3 pint-size (2-cup) glass canning jars; cheesecloth

Nutrition Facts 

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon Per Serving: 3 calories; 1 mg calcium

Thyme and Lemon Water
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Lemon Water and Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon cut into thick slices
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 gallon of water

Directions

  1. Fill your glass pitcher with 1/4 gallon of the water
  2. Now, squeeze your lemons over the water a little releasing the juice before adding the slices.
  3. Next, bruise your thyme sprigs a little to release the oil and add them to the pitcher.
  4. Add enough ice to have a thick cover and then let steep overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. In the morning, add the remainder of the water and enough ice to have a refreshing drink.
  6. Mix and serve.
Foodborne Bacteria and how Thyme oil can kill them.
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Ugly germ chef

Foodborne Bacteria

Reports and studies show that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, is a natural preservative of food products against several common foodborne bacterias. Thyme oil and lavender oil, when observed, were effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas bacteria.

Medical


How to Use Thyme for Medicinal Purposes

“Thyme is taken by mouth for bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bedwetting, a movement disorder in children (dyspraxia), intestinal gas (flatulence), parasitic worm infections, and skin disorders. It is also used to increase urine flow (as a diuretic), to disinfect the urine, and as an appetite stimulant.

Some people apply thyme directly to the skin to act as a counterirritant, for hoarseness (laryngitis), swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), sore mouth, and bad breath.

Thyme oil is used as a germ-killer in mouthwashes and liniments. It is also applied to the scalp to treat baldness and to the ears to fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Thymol, one of the chemicals in thyme, is used with another chemical, chlorhexidine, as a dental varnish to prevent tooth decay.

In manufacturing, red thyme oil is used in perfumes. It is also used in soaps, cosmetics, and toothpaste.” -WebMD

Thyme Cough Syrup

By Mother Earth Living

According to the German Commission E (part of the German government’s counterpart to the FDA), thyme is an approved treatment for coughs, respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough. Try this simple cough syrup to get the healing benefits of the herb.

Ingredients and Directions

  • Boil 1 cup water, remove from heat,
  • add thyme and let sit, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Strain and whisk in 1/2 cup honey until combined.
  • The cough syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to two months.

Killing the Tiger Mosquito With Thymol

First, what is thymol?

thy·mol/ˈTHīmôl,ˈTHīˌmäl/Learn to pronounce noun CHEMISTRY

  1. a white crystalline compound present in the oil of thyme and used as a flavoring and preservative. -Dictionary

What is a tiger mosquito?

How Thyme can kill the larva of the Tiger Mosquito
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“The tiger mosquito is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia.

Since the 1990s, it has spread around the world, carrying West Nile virus, Yellow fever, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever.

A team at Chungbuk National University in South Korea reported that a combination of thymol, alpha-terpinene, and carvacrol was effective in killing off tiger mosquito larvae.” -MedicalNewsToday

Beauty- Skin, and Hair


Thyme Oil to Treat Acne

New research and evidence from Leeds Metropolitan University show findings that thyme oil is more effective than benzoyl peroxide when treating acne.

“Researchers tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes — the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores and forming spots, which range from white heads through to puss-filled cysts. The group found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes of exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three. What’s more, they discovered that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide — the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.” -ScienceDaily

“If thyme tincture is proven to be as clinically effective as our findings suggest, it may be a natural alternative to current treatments,” researcher Margarita Gomez-Escalada, PhD., says in a news release. “The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side effects they are associated with. A burning sensation and skin irritation are not uncommon. Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties, while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments.”

A Cleanser for the Skin

Because of the antiseptic properties in thyme, it is an excellent cleanser for the skin.

Thyme to help with acne
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To make combine:

  • 1/4 cup pure honey,
  • 1/4 cup water,
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme and
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap.

Directions

Pour all of the ingredients into a clean container. To use, massage a small amount into skin, rinse with warm water, and pat dry.

This mild cleanser will yield great results. If you are looking for stronger acne treatment, I would suggest trying the thyme oil mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, coconut, or olive oil. Once you’ve mixed, say, 15 drops thyme oil to 1/4 teaspoon carrier oil, test a small amount on your jawline or arm before rubbing it on your face.

If your skin turns deep red, you could be allergic or need to change the amount of essential oil versus carrier oil. Also, please do not use this treatment on newborns or babies’ acne.

A Cleanser for Oily Type Skin

Recipe by Laurel Vukovic

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is an inexpensive and excellent gentle astringent for oily skin. Green tea adds additional astringent and antioxidant properties; comfrey (Symphytum officinale) helps heal blemishes; and peppermint (Mentha ×piperita) and thyme fight bacteria.

  • Distilled witch hazel extract, 1 cup
  • Dried green tea leaves, 1 teaspoon
  • Dried comfrey leaves, 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  1. Combine witch hazel extract and herbs in a glass jar. Stir well and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Place in a warm, dark place and allow the mixture to steep for one week. Gently shake every day to agitate the herbs in the liquid. Strain herbs from liquid, and pour into a clean bottle.
  2. To use, soak a cotton ball in the herbal astringent and wipe gently over your face after cleansing or whenever you could use a quick refresher.

Hair Rinse

Some of these remedies for thyme go back centuries. Take, for instance, this rinse for smooth, silky hair and which promotes a clean and healthy scalp.

Ingredients and Directions

  • Combine 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1/2 tablespoon dried) rosemary leaves and 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1/2 tablespoon dried) thyme leaves in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over the herbs. Steep until cool, and strain into a clean container.

You can use this mixture after shampooing in the shower or as a leave-in rinse.

Indoor Uses


 All-Purpose Cleaner

Because of the fungal and bacterial fighting compounds in thyme, you can use it to clean anywhere in your home.

Castile Soap and Thyme for Home Cleaners
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Ingredients and Directions

  • Using one gallon of water, add 10 drops of antiseptic thyme essential oil and 1/2 cup of castile soap. Pour into a spray bottle, shake and spray to clean.

Repel Bugs

During the year in different parts of the country, we experience pesty bugs such as mosquitoes, fleas, lice, bed bugs, chiggers, ticks, and roaches. A natural way to keep the pests away is to apply Thyme oil diluted with a carrier oil such as olive, coconut, grapeseed, or jojoba oil on the skin.

“To repel these insects – along with beetles and moths – from your home, use thyme oil in your diffuser, or add a few drops to a cotton ball and leave it in your closets and drawers.” -natural living ideas

Diffusing Oil

Diffusing thyme oil stimulates the mind, helping with concentration and memory. It can also reduce anxiety and stress.

Outdoor Use


Thyme Repels Garden Pests

Planting thyme in the garden is a great idea for organic gardeners. It will help to keep certain pests at bay, including whiteflies, cabbage loopers, cabbage maggots, corn earworms, tomato hornworms, and small whites.

It Attracts Pollinators

Thyme uses for the garden
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Bring beneficial bugs to the garden, including butterflies and bees, with a few thyme plants. Not only do these insects bring color and vibrancy to your outdoor space, but they’ll work hard to pollinate your flowers and plants.

With the global bee population in decline – something which could have devastating and far-reaching consequences – it’s vital we do all we can to protect this invaluable species.”

Use Thyme Oil To Repel Mosquitoes

“When it comes to repelling malarial mosquitoes, thyme oil is one of the best at providing protection. In one animal study Trusted Source, 5 percent thyme oil applied to the skin of hairless mice provided a 91 percent protection rate.

DIY Mosquito Repellant

For a homemade brew, combine 4 drops of thyme oil to every teaspoon of base oil, such as olive or jojoba oil. For a spray, mix 5 drops of thyme oil with 2 ounces of water.

Camping

You may also want to throw thyme leaves into a campfire. Research shows that burning the leaves offers 85 percent protection for 60 to 90 minutes.” -healthline

Next to turmeric, thyme is by far my favorite herb when it comes to healing multiple things naturally. From the list above, you can see why. If you have never used thyme, I would suggest adding it to your garden, cupboard, and all-around health regimen.

Natural health is about discovering new approaches and natural remedies for everyday living. Always remember to treat herbs with respect, especially when you first start to use them or are unfamiliar with their capabilities.
Well, that’s all, for now, my friends. Keep learning, and feel free to share your knowledge with others.
Heather Earles
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Heather Earles

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