Thyme (Thymus mongolicus,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 flavour to cheese and liqueurs". 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. is a culinary and medicinal herb of the genus Thymus.
Thyme is widely cultivated for its strong flavour, which is due to its content of thymol. Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and thereafter grows as a perennial. 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 widely used in cooking. The herb is a basic ingredient in Levantine (Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Israeli), Libyan, Armenian, Indian, Italian, French, Albanian, Persian, Portuguese, Assyrian, Spanish, Greek, Nigerian, Caribbean, and Turkish cuisines, and in those derived from them. 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. Thyme, while flavourful, does not overpower and blends well with other herbs and spices. In some Levantine countries, and Assyrian, the condiment za'atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It 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 flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round.
Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20-54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-Cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in various 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 sanitizers. A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs 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 three times a day, with the inflammation normally disappearing in two to five days. The thymol and other volatile components in the leaf glands are excreted via the lungs, being highly lipid-soluble, where they reduce the viscosity of the mucus and exert their antimicrobial action. Other infections and wounds can be dripped with thyme that has been boiled in water and cooled. In traditional Jamaican childbirth practice, thyme tea is given to the mother after delivery of the baby. Its oxytocin-like effect causes uterine contractions and more rapid delivery of the placenta, but this was said by Sheila Kitzinger to cause an increased prevalence of retained placenta.