Thyme is a small evergreen herb with purple flowers and sweet fragrance and it has been used by humans since the time of the ancient Egyptians. But soon the herb spread throughout Europe once its many uses were discovered.
It can be used as incense, food seasoning, but it also has a number of medicinal properties. Here’s why everyone should have thyme lying around in their homes.
1. It lasts and requires very little attention
Thyme is a tough little shrub that’s easy to grow. It only requires sandy or loamy soil and, if grown indoors, at least six hours of sunlight each day.
Put it in a room with an average temperature and humidity and remember to allow the soil to dry out between watering.
2. It has a beautiful scent
The thyme is not only easy to cultivate but it also releases a sweet smell that permeates the air. No wonder the ancient Romans used it as incense to cleanse rooms.
3. It’s a natural insect and pest repellant
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.
A thyme in your garden will keep a number of harmful pests and insects at bay including whiteflies, cabbage loopers, cabbage maggots, corn earworms, tomato hornworms, and small whites. If you rub thyme oil on your skin it will repel fleas, lice, bed bugs, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, and roaches.
4. It Attracts Pollinators
Thyme not only repels detrimental insects, but it attracts beneficial ones like butterflies and bees, which are known pollinators.
Science has found that the global population of bees is in decline, so it would be in everybody’s best interest (although they may not know it yet) to do everything to protect these useful insects as they are indispensable to the natural food chain.
Below we give you 18 ways you can use thyme in your kitchen.
1. Infused Vinegars and Oils
One way you can put your thyme to good us is to infuse it and make vinegar or natural oil. It doesn’t take much to make and will make excellent seasoning for your home-cooked meals. You can use it as marinade or as salad dressing.
You can even pour it in a nice bottle, wrap it, add a ribbon, and you have a perfectly decent homemade gift.
2. Herbal Butter
Add some home-grown thyme to your butter to liven up cooked meat, pasta, vegetables, breads, potatoes…
3. Lemon Thyme Salt
Add some flavor to your grilled fish or roasted vegetables by sprinkling it with some lemon-thyme salt.
4. Sauces and Soups
You can combine thyme with all kinds of soups and sauces, pair it with citrus, peppercorn, cream, butter, white wine, garlic, and even Dijon mustard.
If you plan on adding it to your soup, it goes well with potato, chicken, mushrooms, leafy greens, etc.
5. Salads and salad dressings
Thyme makes great dressing for a variety of salads. Try some fresh or dried thyme in a tomato salad, lemon chicken salad, or with orzo, arugula, mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes.
Other salads that can use some thyme are apple and spinach salad, pea and fennel, or add it in your honey-roasted pear dish.
6. Add it in breads and pastas
Simple homemade breads and pasta go quite well with some thyme infused oil or vinegar, and you can also mix some thyme into the dough for an extra flavor.
A good chef will tell you that herbs are not solely for savory dishes – their soothing fragrance can be also a supplement to sweets and desserts as well.
You can use thyme in a blueberry soup with honey vanilla mascarpone; moist olive oil thyme cake with black pepper and figs; in Meyer lemon pots de crème; or in a simple lemon cake.
8. In Drinks
Add thyme in refreshing detox waters or cocktails. It will make your beverage extra refreshing and perfect for those scorching summer days. You can sprinkle some in your lemonade or lime ice tea.
9. General Cooking
The uses of thyme in cooking are endless. It goes especially well with mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplants, fish, chicken, and roast potatoes. You can always experiment with thyme and your dish will only taste better than before.
For Health and Wellbeing
Throughout history, as we mentioned, thyme has been found useful for aiding sleep, bringing courage, and avert nightmares, and it’s thought to have a number of medicinal qualities. Below are just some.
10. Make a Healing Oil
You can extract the thyme’s medicinal properties by making it an oil. It is not a walk in the park, but if you manage to distil the thyme’s essential oil it’ll be worth your while.
However, there is a much simpler way to make oil from thyme. Steep the dried thyme in carrier oil (like olive or jojoba) for about three to six weeks, placing it in a place with a lot of sunlight.
With this you can get a relaxing massage, use it to improve your memory and cognition, treat skin irritations, improve oral health, and use it against hair conditions.
11. Use it as natural painkiller
Rub thyme oil on your skin around the affected area and you should soon experience pain relief.
Babol University of Medical Sciences in Iran has found that thyme relieves pain, and it actually works better than ibuprofen, especially in lessening menstrual pain. Apply some thyme oil around affected area and it should help alleviate the pain.
12. Improve cognitive and mental health
You can add thyme oil to your diffuser or oil burner to regulate your cognitive functions, memory, improve concentration, and lower stress. Or you can simply inhale the scent of the herb to achieve a similar effect.
13. Make a Soothing Tea
Thyme is packed with antioxidants and natural nutrients and the tea can serve as an expectorant, cleansing the lungs of congestion. It also helps against stomach pain and sore throat.
14. Use it as treatment against hair conditions
Apply thyme oil onto your scalp to ward off bacteria and fungi that can lead to irksome scalp conditions like dandruff. The thyme oil also unblocks hair follicles, removes impurities, and contributes to a healthy hair growth.
15. Can improve skin health
Since thyme is packed with antiseptic components and antioxidants, the oil from the herb is great for your skin. Apply some to treat acne, eczema, inflammation, wrinkles, treat small wounds, and relieve itching.
16. Improve Oral Health
Thyme oil is an excellent substitute for conventional oral hygiene products. It can be used to treat plaque, bad breath, gingivitis all thanks to its antiseptic and antibacterial attributes.
Thymol, an active component of thyme oil, is used as an antiseptic in a number of mouthwash products.
17. Relieves congestion and fights mucus
Thyme has been used throughout the years to relieve congestion and expel mucus and even lessen intense coughing bouts.
Blend thyme’s congestion-relieving attributes with those of steam therapy and you have the perfect combination for improving your respiratory health.
18. Alleviates coughing
We already mentioned that thyme is basically an expectorant, which essentially makes it a remedy against cough. You can use thyme in combination with other herbs as facial steam to lessen coughing and improve your respiratory system.
- 1 quart of water
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaf
- 1 teaspoon oregano leaf
- 1 teaspoon mint leaf
- 1 teaspoon eucalyptus leaf (optional)
Put water in a large teapot or kettle and bring it to a boil. Put the herbs in a big stock pot and sip the boiling water over them. Lean over the steaming pot of herbs and cover your head with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping.
Inhale the steam from the pot for about 5-10 minutes. This will relieve you of congestion and ease coughing.