As the days grow shorter and winter solstice approaches, we can keep ourselves healthy with the help of a popular herb: Thymus vulgaris. Common thyme, is a vining ground cover with small leaves. The name comes from the Greek word for “courage.” Gardeners choose it as a fragrant ground cover. This vigorous herb is perennial in most climates and requires little tending.
Thyme is anthelmintic, antiseptic, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative, tonic, repellent, and fungicidal. It contains thymol and other volatile oils, which have antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi such as: staphalococcus aureus, bacillus subtilis, and escherichia coli. Thymol helps increase the percentage of healthy fats, such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes.
When used in cooking, thyme helps prepare the body for winter. This cheerful little herb is not susceptible to frost. Hence, when we ingest it, thyme allows us to maintain the same strength during the colder months. The whole herb is used to treat digestive disorders, sore throat, dry cough, and fever. Include it in soups, spreads, and breads to lend courage and well-being!
Enjoy this green thyme garlic soup recipe, or try making the spread below when you are feeling the onset of a cold.
2 cups spinach, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water
4 Tablespoons dry thyme
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Place all these ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy on toast, mix into grains, or use as a garnish for baked haddock.
Lisa Mase is a whole foods cooking educator, translator, and herbalist with a passion for words and nourishment. Lisa writes about healing foods, mindful eating, and cooking traditions on her blog Harmonized Cookery.