Whats more, this hardy little herb seems able to withstand cold weather so theres usually an abundant supply of leaves for both healing infusions and comforting casseroles.
Thyme is an outstanding lung strengthener because its volatile oil is strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal which helps fight chronic infections in the throat and chest. Its expectorant properties also help to clear the chest.
Lemon scented thyme (Thymus x citriodorus) makes a very pleasant infusion. A single dose consists of 2 tsp of fresh herbs to one cup of boiling water or you can make a pot by using 30g of fresh herbs to 500ml boiling water, let it stand 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink. Take three to four doses a day (500ml). The infusion can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. You can also add other herbs to the lemon thyme, like parsley (rich in vitamin C), yarrow (lowers fevers) and hyssop (acts as an expectorant).
Coughs and colds aside, research conducted in Scotland in the 1990s suggests that thyme has anti-aging and tonic properties, which maintains vitality and helps prevent or reduce the consequences of aging, like poor memory, digestive and circulatory problems. As we age the "fire" or qi within us burns less brightly and thyme is one of those herbs that helps us buy some time because it supports the bodys normal function and counters the effects of aging.
I particularly love using thyme in cooking. Shop bought dried thyme has nothing of the perfume of thyme harvested and used fresh or dried at home. Add a sprig/s to any slowly cooked soups, stews, tomato-based sauces, or plain rice during cooking and remove before serving. Sprigs can also be placed in the water for steamed or boiled vegetables. If using fresh leaves in a dish, its a good idea to strip the leaves off the woody stems. It can be a bit painstaking but using a fork to strip the stems helps.
Thyme scented olive oil is excellent for brushing over chicken before roasting and thyme also makes a good base for herbal vinaigrettes and vinegars. Although its a robust herb it also combines well with herbs such as parsley, dill and mint that are added at the end of cooking.
Thyme is so easy to grow that its worth having a few bushes in the garden or in pots because you soon wont be able to do without it. This bushy little perennial, which grows wild on stony Mediterranean slopes, is probably the least temperamental of all herbs to grow. It thrives in most kinds of soil, loves sun, requires little water and the more you pick it the better it grows.
Lemon thyme is an attractive edging for flower beds or a herb and vegetable potager. It also stimulates the growth of neighbouring plants and its aromatic leaves repel aphids. The delicate pink flowers attract bees in profusion. Being low growing, thyme can be grown between stepping stones and a particularly attractive variety is the variegated thyme Silver Posy that can be used for contrast or as a decorative edging around beds, containers, and other garden features.
Courtesy of lifestyle