Gardening, Health, Herbalist, Herbs

Now is the Time for Thyme

Wow! There is a lot going on in the world these days! But even with all of the political madness, countries with rioters and violence, and natural disasters, the main topic on everyone’s mind is the Coronavirus.  Yes, we have had many viruses in the past, but what other virus has literally shut down countries?!  Good heavens!

I am not a doctor, but the consensus is to keep your distance, wash your hands, and stay healthy.  This sounds like a pretty reasonable group of to-do’s, doesn’t it?  I don’t see anything difficult about any of those suggestions. We’ve got this! 🙂

One thing I have also noticed is a rise in the sales online of herbal supplements like Elderberry and Echinacea extracts. The extracts on my Etsy site are almost gone!  But this isn’t a crazy thing people are doing. The general public is aware that their health is very important right now, and they are buying items that will help boost their immune system. I also started buying more mandarin oranges, for example, to help boost my Vitamin C. You don’t have to be a doctor to know to do these kinds of things!

Did you realize that some of the herbs you often use in cooking have an affinity for your lungs? There are a number of them, which I will list shortly.  But the one I decided to discuss in this post is the herb/seasoning, thyme. Now is a great time for thyme! Thyme is such a wonderful herb, which I literally have growing right outside my sliding doors. I LOVE it, and it is beautiful, especially when it flowers!

THYME  (Thymus vulgaris) (a/k/a garden thyme, common thyme, tomillo, rubbed thyme, English thyme, French thyme, German thyme, winter thyme, whooping cough herb)

Thyme is the general name for about 300-400 species which are native to Europe and Asia, and cultivated all over the world, including but not limited to France, Portugal, Greece, Asia Minor, and Algeria. Thyme has also become naturalized in some areas, including the northeast United States. It is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and is actually a close relative to Oreganum, the genus of oregano. Thyme can be traced back to the third century BCE. It was related back to the Greek noun, thymos, which meant several things, including spirit, strength, courage, anger, and other passions. That same word thymos is also related to Greek ancient verbs (translated, it is more of a phrase), like “to burn in offering” and “to fill with sweet scents”.

Thyme is a low-growing shrub-like perennial (lives year-round) plant, with woody stalks and fibrous roots. It grows anywhere from 2 to 15 inches, depending on which variety you have. The lemon thyme that I grow by my doors is on the taller side, and smells wonderful!

Thyme’s key constituents are volatile oils (thymol), bitter, tannins, flavonoids, saponins, and resins (Pursell, 2015). (This is not an affiliate link) If you want more information regarding thyme and other herbs, you can check out The Herbal Apothecary – 100 Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them, by J.J. Pursell, on Amazon as shown above.

From a couple thousand years ago until now, thyme continues to be a vibrant herb in herbal traditions, and is used in both Eastern and Western herbal practices. Thyme was, and still continues to frequently be used for the respiratory and digestive systems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), thyme is used for the lungs, spleen, and stomach. It is well-known in herbal communities as a protector against infections.

Thyme acts as a bronchodilator and as an anti-flammatory agent. The primary chemical constitutent of thyme, thymol, is an expectorant and antispasmodic as well as antimicrobial, pertaining to its role in the lungs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), thyme is also connected to the lung meridian, where it is used to warm the lungs in instances of white phlegm, chills, fever, asthma, and tuberculosis, as well as for immunity support in presence of colds. It can also assist in helping the sinuses, where its warm and drying nature helps to clear congestion.

Photo by Nadi Lindsay on Pexels.com

We can’t forget that thyme is a great culinary addition. According to Dr. Weil on drweil.com, thyme is nutrient-rich as an excellent source of iron, manganese, vitamin K, as well as calcium and fiber. It is great for soups and stews, and is one of the ingredients in the famous French bouquet garni. I always grab a few sprigs of fresh thyme in my garden to add to salmon before putting it in the oven! Can you say “yum”?

Some other herbs that have an affinity for the lungs are mullein, elecampane, bayberry, chickweed, astragalus, garlic, hyssop, lobelia, feverfew, plantain (herb, not banana), butterfly weed, rosemary, sage, savory, shisandra, slippery elm, solomon’s seal, spearmint, usnea, marshmallow root, violet, and vervain. And that’s STILL not all of them!

I am in the process of making an organic tea with some of the ingredients above, to give strength to the immune system with a focus on the lungs, but you don’t have to wait for me!

My suggestion is that you listen to the officials and doctors: wash you hands, keep your distance, and keep healthy. Get enough sleep, exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, and enjoy life! And once you begin doing these things? Don’t stop! These new good habits should become your new healthy lifestyle.  Then, the next time cold and flu season comes around, you will be all set!

Stay well,

Denise

Please note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease.

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