Thymus vulgaris, common thyme
Common thyme seeds
Thymus vulgaris or simply called thyme is an evergreen herb which has great culinary and medicinal usage. It originates from western European Mediterranean area. Today it grows in southwest Switzerland and in the southern part of the Alps. It can grow up to a height of ten to forty centimeters with woody branches and little elliptic shaped leaves with hairy surfaces and colored green to grey. Blossoms are small and arranged in false whorls. Florescence takes from May to October. It can be planted into the garden or can be kept as indoor plant. Don´t plant it next to a bush of marjoram, otherwise these plants cannot grow up together. Make sure the plant has some sunny and hot place with well-drained soil. Dammed-up water should be avoided just as dense-graded soil. Mix soil with sand or scaled pebble stone. Even ancient Egyptians and Greeks knew thyme as a medical. Egyptians used it for embalming and Greeks incensed their temples with it. In the Middle Age people made presents with thyme leaves for giving courage to the person. They also placed it next to their beds to ward off nightmares.
Even today it has a great importance as herbal medicine. It is used as extract, stock or essential oil. Healing ingredients are for example bittern and tanning agents, flavonoids and essentials it has antibacterial and antiviral effects. Further it promotes throw-off and operates antispasmodic; hence it is used for bronchitis or infections of respiratory ducts. It also acts with a healing effect on influenza, cold, loss of appetite, rheumatism and inflammation of urinary tract and stomatitis.
But not just as medicinal herb, but also as spice it is used for especially flavoring meat, fish, soups or hotpots. When leaves are dried before usage, they have an intensive smell and flavor!