When we think of herbal healing, many of us naturally gravitate towards the strictly medicinal plants. We reach for echinacea when we feel a cold coming on or use yarrow to stop bleeding. That is what the herbs are for, after all, and should most definitely be used. However, many of us overlook the common cooking herbs and spices for herbal healing and health. These common plants often contain numerous medicinal benefits as well. One such common, flavorful cooking ingredient that does double duty as an herbal remedy is thyme. Using thyme for medicine is as simple as cooking with it and understanding its healing virtues.
Thyme for Digestion
Thyme helps stimulate the movement of blood and oxygen to the digestive tract. It helps get rid of gas and indigestion while also helping the body simply digest food better. Add it to foods to help break down fats and starches.
Thyme for Congestion
Thyme has an affinity for clearing the mucous membranes. Drink thyme tea to help get rid of wet coughs and sinus issues. Infuse thyme in honey and use that in tea to further help with congestion issues in a sweeter way than thyme tea which can be quite pungent.
Thyme for Disinfecting
As an antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial herb, thyme is great for helping prevent and treat the growth of bacteria. Use thyme in foot baths to help treat athlete's foot infections.
It's so disinfecting in fact, that it can even be used as part of the home cleaning routine.
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Thyme for the Nerves
Thyme has been used to help calm the nerves and alleviate stress. Other herbs may be more effective for this particular issue but for folks struggling with nervous complaints a cup or two of thyme tea might be worth a try.
Use Thyme Fresh or Dried
During the warm months, toss fresh thyme into soup pots, salads, and more to help get its healing power into the system. For a cup of medicinal thyme tea cover 3 teaspoons of fresh, crushed leaves (1 teaspoon dried) in 1 Cup of boiling water. Cover the cup and allow to steep for 10 minutes before straining and adding honey if desired. Sip slowly and enjoy.
Dry it for winter by simply tying bundles of it out of direct sunlight and allowing to dry until crispy. Strip the dried leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container. When cooking with dried thyme use 1/3 as much dried as called for fresh (3 teaspoons fresh = 1 teaspoon dried).
As the fall weather starts to settle in and the filling of the winter herbal medicine cabinet begins, remember to stock up on culinary herbs as well. Use thyme for medicine this winter and be inspired by the simple healing power of the common spice.