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Thyme to Feel Better: Preparation and Usage Guide

September 10th, 2007

thyme-preparation-usage.jpgMost of us who have done any serious amount of cooking understand the culinary benefits of thyme. It adds a wonderful flavor to a wide variety of sauces and seasoning mixtures, and can also function well when added to marinades or used as a rub. But what many people may not know is that it also has some medicinal uses, many of which were discovered in ancient times and have been passed down to us from other cultures. This article by Joanne Rawson briefly describes some of thyme’s lesser known uses and explains how to make an infusion of the herb that can be used for medicinal purposes.

Thyme is hardy little herb. Native to the Mediterranean, it thrives in almost any climate. For cultivation, well-drained loose sandy soil and full sun are best. The only condition thyme doesn’t like is wet mushy soil, and some varieties cannot tolerate extreme cold.

The Sumerians noted the medical uses of thyme over 5,000 years ago. Distilled thyme, thymol oil, is still used today in mouthwashes and digestive aides. Thymol oil is toxic in its pure form and should not be used internally as a home remedy.

Thyme is used for digestive problems, menstrual cramps, bad breath, headaches and coughs.

How to prepare a thyme infusion:

Use 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons for the dried version) with 1 cup of boiling water.

Steep the thyme in the water for 10 minutes.

Tip: use a tea strainer or small piece cheesecloth and some string to bundle the thyme.

Tip: it is best to use common thyme (thymus vulgaris), for medicinal and culinary uses; the ornamental varieties are less pungent and flavorful.

Thyme infusion can be used up to 3 times a day, and tastes better than most commercial remedies.

Important Notes: Because of its ability to relax uterine muscles, pregnant women should not use the thyme infusion. If any symptoms last over 10 days please consult a medical professional.

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