Thyme an aphrodisiac

Leave a Comment
thyme aphrodisiac

Thyme is used most widely in cooking. Thyme is a basic ingredient in French and Italian cuisines, and in those derived from them. It is also widely used in Lebanese and Caribbean cuisines. Thyme is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavour with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.

Traditionally, thyme has been associated with the occult. Ancient Egyptians used thyme in embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. For them, thyme came to denote elegance, and the phrase "to smell of thyme" became an expression of stylish praise. Thyme was widely used: medically, in massage and bath oils, as incense in the temples and as an aphrodisiac. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms. 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.

In literature, thyme is often associated with the activities of fairies. Shakespeare's Oberon, king of the fairies, speaks of knowing "...where the wild thyme grows." The English variety of wild thyme referred to has the highest concentration of volatile oils. Perhaps this accounts for its use as one of the main ingredients in a 17th century recipe which "enables one to see the Faeries."

The flowering thyme tops contain an essential oil consisting primarily of thymol (20-55%) and carvacrol, along with tannins, bitter compounds, saponins, and organic acids. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, it was used to medicate bandages. It has also been shown to be effective against the fungus that commonly infects toenails. The antiseptic property of thyme has been recorded as far back as 3000 BC when it was used by the Sumerians.

A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for cough and bronchitis. Medicinally thyme is used for respiratory infections in the form of a tincture, tisane, salve, syrup or by steam inhalation. Because it is antiseptic, thyme boiled in water and cooled is very effective against inflammation of the throat when gargled 3 times a day. The inflammation will normally disappear in 2 - 5 days. Other infections and wounds can be dripped with thyme that has been boiled in water and cooled. Besides being an effective antiseptic, it also has expectorant, antispasmodic, and deodorant properties. It aids in digestion, and as such, is excellent when combined with fatty meats that often cause gastrointestinal problems such as duck, lamb, and pork. Herbalists use thyme in infusions, extracts, teas, compresses, bath preparations and gargles. Recent studies indicate that thyme strengthens the immune system.

With its elfin leaves, delicate blossoms, subtle woodsy flavor, and medicinal properties, it is easy to see why thyme might be associated with things elusive and magical, even as an aphrodisiac.


Post a Comment