Thyme Through Time (HUBNUGGETS WINNER)
Thyme Through Time
Some things are so common , it seems as though they have always been with us. Tracing their origin becomes so monumental, we begin to think they predate us. Herbs and spices are among these things. How to use them has been shared from mother to daughter, wife to wife, cook to cook and neighbor to neighbor for so long that we just don't think to question them and we stifle our own curiosity. The reawakening of that curiosity has taken me on an interesting journey.
There are over 40 varieties of Thyme, whose botanical name is Thymus Vulgaris.....ick, that sounds like a disease. The Greek name of Thymon is a bit easier to accept. It is a Perennial plant, meaning it lives for more than two years. It can be grown domestically or in the wild. It does well in hot and sunny areas of your garden and in containers, but requires drainage. The plant is hardy, surviving drought and deep freezing conditions. It can grow to about an 8 inch height. Many gardeners trim the plants to keep the general garden more attractive, but it does well if allowed to sprawl. The small white flowers are attractive against the back drop of dark green foliage and lend a pleasant fragrance to the air. The leaves are used fresh, or dried, and the process of drying the harvest is an easy one.
Botanical history accepts that thyme is a plant native to the Mediterranean area, brought to Britain by the Romans. It is not clear, if the Romans were using it for trade or medicinal purposes. The plant had value either way. The Ancient Eygptians used thyme for embalming the dead, the Greeks for perfuming the bath.
Through time and cultures, thyme has been thought to induce sleep, and to increase the courage of the carrier. Jamaicans brewed a tea from thyme, to give to women after child-birth to assist in uterine contractions. Modern thought is that the herb brew produces an oxytocin- like effect.
Herbalists and Grandmothers have known for a long time, what modern medicine is now beginning to explore, Thyme has medicinal value. It shows to benefit and strengthen our immune systems, and aid those who suffer from respiratory problems.
Thyme was noticed by William Shakespeare. He mentioned it by name, in " A Mid Summer's Night Dream", saying: " I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows"
Some of the ancients believed that a patch of thyme was home to fairies. I must wonder, if this was a result of drinking a tea which produced oxytocin like effects!