There are many types of thyme. Thyme /taɪm/ is any of several species of culinary and medicinal herbs of the genus Thymus, most commonly Thymus vulgaris.
Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavor to cheese and liqueurs".
The name Thyme, in its Greek form, was first given to the plant by the Greeks as a derivative of a word which meant 'to fumigate,' either because they used it as incense, for its balsamic odor, or because it was taken as a type of all sweet-smelling herbs. Others derive the name from the Greek word thumus ("courage"), the plant being held in ancient and medieval days to be a great source of invigoration, inspiring courage.
The antiseptic properties of Thyme were fully recognized in classic times, there being a reference in Virgil's Georgics to its use as a fumigator, and Pliny tells us that, when burnt, it puts to flight all venomous creatures. Among Greeks, Thyme denoted graceful elegance; 'to smell of Thyme' was an expression of praise, applied to those whose style was admirable. It was an emblem of activity, bravery and energy, and in the days of chivalry it was the custom for ladies to embroider a bee hovering over a sprig of Thyme on the scarves they presented to their knights.
The affection of bees for Thyme is well known and the fine flavor of the honey of Mount Hymettus near Athens was said to be due to the wild thyme with which it was covered.
In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals, as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life.
Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or by dividing rooted sections of the plant. It tolerates drought well. The plants can take deep freezes and are found growing wild on mountain highlands.
Thyme is "a faithful companion" of lavender. Conditions suitable for the growth of thyme are nearly identical with those favored by lavender.
Though apparently not in general use as a culinary herb among the ancients, it was employed by the Romans to give an aromatic flavor to cheese and liqueurs.
Thyme is a common component of the bouquet garni, and of herbes de Provence.
Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavorful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week.
Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves"). A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Usually when a recipe specifies "bunch" or "sprig", it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons it means the leaves.
Dried thyme is widely used in Armenia (called Urc) in teas.
Thyme retains its flavor on drying better than many other herbs.
Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20–54% thymol. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in various commercially produced mouthwashes such as Listerine. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, oil of thyme was used to medicate bandages. Thymol has also been shown to be effective against various fungi that commonly infect toenails. Thymol can also be found as the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizes.
A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs and bronchitis.
Thyme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/19XCNVj
A Modern Herbal | Thyme, Garden http://bit.ly/19XCDgC
A Visual Guide to Fresh Herbs | Epicurious.com http://bit.ly/19XCtWM
Cook's Thesaurus: European Herbs http://bit.ly/19XCry9
Best Herbs for Container Growing » Harvest to Table http://buff.ly/RMMWhU