3 Ways to Get Acquainted with Thyme


Connecting with Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


I. Give your house a good cleaning, naturally.

Thyme is a powerful disinfectant: the herb is anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anthelmintic. Even before its prevalence in hand-sanitizers and other modern-day disinfecting products, Thyme was used to protect against the plague and, in the 19th century, to disinfect hospitals.

Carefully add 10 drops of Thyme essential oil to a quart of pure water and use in a spray bottle to clean floors and countertops (preferably in a glass spray bottle if you can find such a thing; some essential oils can interact with plastics–so also watch carefully if you are using it on a surface you’re not certain about).

Or you can make a cleaning formula (this is a blueprint I learned long ago from Maia Toll):

– In a small, dark glass bottle with a lid, add the following essential oils: 50 drops of thyme, 50 drops of lemon, and 50 drops of one of these: lavender, sweet orange, or clove. This becomes your stock bottle from which you’ll make your cleaning solution.

– When you are ready to clean, add 10 drops of the stock mixture to a quart of water in a spray bottle.

Feel like your house needs an energetic cleanse?

Thyme has been burnt since ancient times for a variety of reasons (see more on the etymological connections in the Herbal Etymology Database), among them the purification of a space. Burn some dry sprigs and do some smudging.

II. Bring joy to bees by growing Thyme in your garden.

The love of bees for Thyme is documented since ancient Greece. Thyme was also used in antiquity in augury as a way to discover the honey quality for that year (Pliny) and as a fumigator during beekeeping (Virgil). Let the herb flower to support the bees.

Having Thyme growing in your garden (or on a windowsill if you haven’t outdoor space) has the added benefit of its being on hand for culinary adventures and for stepping into old wisdom: Thyme has been used in the kitchen since antiquity, too.

III. Make a tea the minute you feel you’re under the weather…or take one just before bed for nightmares.

Particularly if your lungs are under pressure or if your stomach feels queasy, and nothing else but your kitchen cupboard or garden is within reach, think perhaps of thyme; it has a particular affinity for these organs. See what happens next; I’ve avoided some nasty infections and stomach bugs by doing this (make sure the tea is “medicinal strength”–i.e., you’ve simmered the leaves for up to 15 minutes in a pot with a lid before straining and drinking).

Thyme is also an underestimated thymoleptic (used to lift the spirits) with many applications to the nervous system. In particular, Thyme has traditionally been used to ward off nightmares (this indication goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages and can be found sprinkled throughout 19th century herbals) and as a relaxant for the parasympathetic system, which is why it has been employed for disturbed sleep and general low-level anxiety (Wood).

For a full experience with herbal teas, explore The Tisane Workshop.

Want other ideas? Get a (free) copy of 10 Ways to Connect with Herbs.

 Want to know a little more about Thyme? Get started by visiting the Herbal Etymology Database.

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Pliny the Elder. Ed. K.F. T. Mayhoff. Pliny the Elder: Naturalis historia. Lipsiae: Teubner, 1906.

Virgil. Virgil: The Georgics, vol. II, book III-IV. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Ed. Thomas, R. F. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Wood, M. The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2008.

N.B. The author is not responsible for readers’ herbal use; I am a doctor of philosophy, not of orthodox medicine. None of this information is written with the intention of giving medical advice, prescribing, or treating health conditions. Always do your own research on herbs before using them, employ common sense, and consult with your health practitioner(s).

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