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This Year, Next Year, Some Thyme – Herb of the Week

Amongst the plethora of puns, I always have fresh thyme in my garden, and a jar of dried thyme in my spice drawer. I use it the most of any culinary herb I grow because it seems to work with almost everything. There a a ton of varieties too.  Mountain Valley Growers sells 28 (!) varieties including lemon thyme, coconut thyme, lavender thyme, and juniper thyme ( Note to self: need to try the juniper thyme in a gin drink).

History (because I love history)

Thyme has been around for thousands of years. The word thyme comes from the Greek word Thumos, which means smoke, as well as another Greek word thyo, which means sacrifice. Thyme was burned to purify Greek and Roman temples, to ward off disease and evil spirits, and to show respect and bravery. In the Middle Ages, soldiers were given gifts of thyme to wear as a badge of honor. And you thought thyme was just good sprinkled on your roast chicken.

Medicine

Thyme has historically been used as a powerful medicinal herb to treat and cure illnesses from consumption to whooping cough to fatigue. Thyme oil also has antiseptic properties and was used to cleanse wounds, and protect food against spoilage.  Interestingly, thyme has also been used as a psychedelic drug in Victorian times (and earlier) to induce visions in young girls of fairies and as a love potion.

Care

I haven’t seen any fairies dancing around my thyme patch (maybe I’m supposed to dance in the thyme patch), but I do know that thyme is easy to grow from seeds or seedlings. It does well indoors in a kitchen herb garden as well as outdoors in planters or as a ground cover. It’s tiny flowers are loved by bees. With the exception of light pruning, thyme doesn’t need much. Just keep it in well draining soil or potting mix and don’t over water it.

Come back on Friday for this week’s herbal cocktail using thyme!

Golden Lemon ThymeThyme and Meyer Lemon