Plant Profile: Thyme, an Essential Culinary and Medicinal Herb

Thyme is very useful for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Thyme is an essential culinary and medicinal herb in my household. There are many different varieties including lemon thyme as well as dwarf and creeping varieties.

Thyme grows very slowly and requires patience when starting from seed. It likes slightly alkaline soil and either full sun or part shade. Poor soil and infrequent watering are fine for this plant, and actually improve it’s flavor! The leaves and flowers can be snipped off and used fresh, or it can be dried for future use. Trim your thyme regularly to keep it happy.

I love to use the fresh leaves in salads and to make tea. It is also a wonderful seasoning for poultry, meats, soups and gravies.

Most home cooks know about the wonderful culinary uses of thyme, but did you know that it has significant value as a medicinal herb as well? It is a powerful disinfectant that can be used as a wound cleansing wash externally, or drink it as tea to fight infections internally. My favorite use is to ward off colds and sore throats as well as coughs and chest congestion. It is also useful for fungal infections. Thyme is considered to be safe and non toxic.

Thyme Cough Syrup

Brew 1 quart of water with 4 ounces of fresh thyme leaves, simmering gently until you have about 2 cups of very strong thyme tea. Add 1 cup of honey to the tea and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Store your cough syrup in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

* Brandy can be used as to add an antispasmodic effect to treat a really bad cough. You can add 1/4 cup of brandy to each 1 cup of syrup.

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