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Thymus vulgaris

Thyme Terri Lamiaceae
 

 
Thymus vulgaris or common thyme is a low growing herbaceous plant, sometimes becoming somewhat woody. It is native to southern Europe, where it is often cultivated as a culinary herb.

It typically grows as a sub-shrub, between 15 and 20 cm tall.
Cultivars

Nomenclature can be very confusing. French, German and English varities vary by leaf shape and colour and essential oils.  The many cultivars include 'Argenteus' (silver thyme).
Uses

Thyme adds a distinctive aromatic flavoring to sauces, stews, stuffings, meats, poultry almost anything from soup to salad. In medieval times, the plant symbolized courage, and to keep up their spirits, knights departing for the Crusades received scarves embroidered with a sprig of thyme from their ladies. There was a popular belief, too, that a leaf tea prevented nightmares, while another held that tea made of thyme and other herbs enabled one to see nymphs and fairies. Herbalists of the Middle Ages regarded thyme as a stimulant and antispasmodic, and recommended sleeping on thyme and inhaling it as a remedy for melancholy and epilepsy.

In 1725, a German apothecary discovered that the plant's essential oil contains a powerful disinfectant called thymol that is effective against bacteria and fungi.Thymol also acts as a expectorant, loosening phlegm in the respiratory tract so it can be coughed up. Later herbalists listed thyme for these uses and as remedy for numerous other complaints, including diarrhoea and fever. They prescribed the oil externally as an antiseptic for fungal infections such as athlete's foot.

  

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