Friday, September 24, 2010

Thyme - The Antiseptic Herb

Thyme is an herb that has been known about and used since ancient times. Egyptians used it as an ingredient for embalming, ancient Greeks would burn the herb for its aromatic properties. The spread of thyme through Europe is credited to the ancient Romans, as they used it as a room purifier and a flavoring for cheese and food.
Thyme was a symbol of bravery and courage in medieval times. Ladies would sew springs of the herb onto handkerchiefs that were given to knights. Oil of thyme has also been used medicinally in topical applications, mouthwash, and as an antiseptic. Thymol is the substance contained in the herb that makes it an antiseptic. Thymol is the active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash.

Thyme is an excellent antimicrobial herb. Studies have shown that thyme used in preserved food actually helps prevent spoilage, especially in foods that are not cooked, such as salads. Using fresh thyme in a salad can make the salad safer to eat.

Thyme originally is indigenous to Asia and the Mediterranean area, but is now grown around the world. Its strong scent and mild mint flavor gives a good accent to many recipes such as soups, stews, roasted meats and pasta sauce. It should be added to the recipe towards the end of cooking, as too much heat for an extended time can kill the flavor of it.

Thyme is easy to grow. Sow directly in a sunny, well-drained spot or in pots. Thyme is an herb that is good dried or fresh, and along with bay leaf and parsley it makes up the classic bouquet garni of French cooking.
My Zimbio