He bore a simple wild-flower wreath: Narcissus, and the sweet brier rose; Vervain, and flexile thyme, that breathe Rich fragrance; modest heath, that glows With purple bells; the amaranth bright, That no decay, nor fading knows, Like true love's holiest, rarest light; And every purest flower, that blows In that sweet time, which Love most blesses, When spring on summer's confines presses.
~ Thomas Love Peacock
Thyme is a well-known culinary herb that has been used in both food and medicine for thousands of years. It has been said that when eaten, thyme can help prevent or cure the effects of poison; the smoke is used to invigorate and strengthen the spirit for battle; a sprig is used as a sign of respect and courage; and teas and poultices were used as remedies for The Plague. There is no way, even in an entire book, that we could cover all the ways over the years that thyme has been used in food and medicine. Out of my top 20 herbals, only three didn’t mention thyme in their materia medica. It is thyme to dig deep into this traditional herb, and learn more about its uses.
Interestingly, even with such a significant history of use, thyme is often reduced in herbals as an antimicrobial with an affinity for the lungs. Some also refer to its use as a carminative, helping to disperse gas in the intestines, and relieve bloating. As is usually the case, there is so much more to this wonderful herb than that.
In this issue, you will probably find more information that any normal person would want to know about thyme. Good thing many of us plant lovers aren’t all that normal! The good news is, we do take the time to get to know the herbs we love on a deep level, and we hope this issue will have you ready to deepen your relationship with this beautiful, aromatic plant ally.