Shall I just say, that if this blog were my garden it would well and truly be overgrown with weeds and due for some loving care! Anyhow – I felt that with colder weather right around the corner and whooping cough affecting quite a few children at the moment, it is the perfect opportunity to get back into the swing of writing about all things herbal.
Today I would like to share some information about a herb which is easily grown and found in most gardens – thyme (Thymus vulgaris). While the wonderful flavour is well utilised in the kitchen, it is also a highly valued medicinal herb.
Culpeper praised thyme as being “a notable strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows; neither is there a better remedy growing for that disease in children which they commonly call chin cough [whooping cough].” It is just as valuable more than 350 years later in providing relief from sinus and nasal congestion, and you can benefit from using either the dried or fresh herb.
Thyme grows well in a pot or the garden, so can be grown whether your garden is a well-established plot or a windowsill. It is strongly antiseptic, due to the constituent thymol, which makes it a brilliant choice for respiratory infections, asthma, and hayfever.
You can either use 2-3 drops of essential oil in a bowl of boiled water as a steam inhalation (or use an oil burner), or add a handful of fresh herb to the water (around 500ml) and leave it somewhere out of reach, where it is unlikely to be knocked over by little ones! Dried herb can be used, although not quite as effective, use a couple of heaped tablespoons. This works well when used as a personal steam inhalation where you cover your head and the bowl with a towel and breathe deeply, with your eyes closed, for about 10 minutes at a time. Do this up to three times daily for best results.
An effective antifungal, thyme is useful for ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and even expelling parasites such as worms, scabies and lice. Dilute the essential oil in a base oil and dab onto external fungal infections, scabies or lice. Use as a medicine internally (not to be used at all during pregnancy), by steeping 1 tsp of dried herb or 1 tbsp fresh herb with one cup of near boiling water as an infusion.