Thyme is a genus of about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbaceous plants and sub-shrubsin the family Lamiaceae and native to EuropeNorth Africa and Asia. Ancient Egyptians used thyme in embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their templesbelieving that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romansas they used it to purify their rooms.
Thyme is an excellent source of ironmanganeseand vitamin K.
It is a good source of calcium and dietary fibre. It is a powerful antiseptic and used in cases of anaemiabronchial ailments and intestinal problems.
It is used as an antiseptic against tooth decayand destroys fungal infections as in athlete’s foot and skin parasites such as crabs and lice.
It is good for colicflatulencesore throatsand coldsas well as a digestive aid and a hangover remedy. Infusions of thyme are said to be good for headachesand have been shown to be beneficial for coughs related to colds and flu as well as whooping coughas the active constituents are known to loosen and expel mucous.
Thyme infusions help soothe and heal skin irritationsmuscle spasmsand fungal infections. This plant contains a constituent that helps prevent blood clots.
Thyme is widely cultivated as a herb because of its strong flavourwhich is due to its thymol content. It retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs.
Thyme is often used to flavour meatssoups and stews.
It is used in French cuisine and as well as in herbes de Provence.
It is also widely used in Caribbean cuisine.
Thyme is often used in bouquet-garniwhich is a small sprig of fresh herbs tied together and simmered in various dishes. Since it helps the body digest fatty foodsit is often used as an ingredient in those kinds of dishes. It is especially tasty with meatpoultryand game. It has a strong tasteso you may want to use it sparingly.
Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavourful but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. Add thyme to your favourite pasta sauce recipe.
Fresh thyme adds a wonderful fragrance to omelettes and scrambled eggs. Kidney beanspinto beans and black beans taste exceptionally good when seasoned with thyme. When poaching fishplace some sprigs of thyme on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid.