I’m a foodie. I admit it. I often wrestle with the dichotomy of eating healthy and eating WELL over on The Vampire Diet blog. That’s my monster side, when it comes to healthy eating. If I were really honest with myself and everyone else, I really don’t give a rip about low fat, low calorie, fruits and veggies…as long as it TASTES good. Makes sense to my aromatherapy-self too…smell and taste are very related, you know.
So you can imagine my delight with herbs that hit ALL of those cylindars…that are healthy, tasty, and can be used in aromatherapy. Enter today’s herb, Thyme.
From a culinary standpoint, it warming, pungent, strong and savory. It’s a must-have for potato soup, especially this version by Emeril Lagasse, my personal favorite potato soup ever because of the gorganzola and bacon, of course. But it wouldn’t be quite the same without the thyme, either.
Herbal uses, like ingesting the leaves or making a decoction (a strong, volume reduced, specially prepared tea) have been used for bronchitis, colds and sinus infections because of thyme’s mucus-thinning, expectorant properties.
It is also believed to help digestion, which is very good thing if you are fond of stuff like blue cheese and bacon.
I don’t have any solid details about it, but anecdotally thyme is believed to be one of the more anti-cancer herbs. How or why, I haven’t found yet.
Both the herb and the essential oil are strong germ-killing antiseptics. One caution to using it on the skin: many thyme oils are very irritating and sensitizing. You can become allergic to it touching your skin. If thyme essential oil is used on skin for its anti-microbial properties (as in acne) it MUST be properly diluted in a carrier oil.
Lucky for aromatherapists, thyme naturally has developed many different varieties within the main species. The oils of different types of thyme have slightly different proportions of the different organic chemicals that make up the oil. Thyme Linalol is one of these specialty oils, and it is very mild. It does not irritate the skin or have nearly the sensitizing effects or other thyme varieties, but it retains the germ-killing ability. If you want to use thyme on skin, the linalol version is the way to go.
BUT if you just want to diffuse it into the room for its green, herbaceous scent, simply pick the variety that you think has the most pleasing scent…all varieties lift the mood, support a happy content outlook, all without making you feel overstimulated or ‘wired’.
So blow the dust off of that jar of dried thyme. It will make everyone wonder what your secret potato ingredient might be and make you look like a cooking genius. Or grab some essential oil and make your dining room happy with the scent. Score some thyme linalol to use in a diluted skin care oil blend and you’ll have a pleasant smelling alternative to acne creams. However you choose to use it, it may be worthwhile to make some time for thyme.
- Thyme, http://pharmacology.georgetown.edu/urbanherbs/Thyme.htm, accessed August 18, 2013
- Schnaubelt, Kurk (1998) Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, Healing Arts Press, USA