Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Power of Herbs - Thyme

Moving on to day three of herbs, there continues to be a common theme among them and that is their amazing healing and medicinal properties. Like oregano and parsley, thyme is more than just a flavoring agent.

It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and has a long history of use for sore throats and chest congestion because of the antiseptic properties of its volatile oil thymol. It has been inhaled in steam or steeped and used for gargling.

Thyme also contains antioxidants that help to protect our cells and it has a strong nutritional profile. Two teaspoons of dried thyme provide the following:

% daily value

  • Vitamin K 42
  • Iron 14
  • Manganese 8
  • Calcium 4

It also has small amounts of vitamins A, C, folate, and magnesium. As with other herbs, we can actually pump up the nutrient density of our meals by adding fresh (and sometimes intense) flavor! I love this concept because normally we think of something medicinal or healing as not tasting nice and it’s as if nature has made it a point of drawing us to the things that will do us the most good.

Thyme has always been one of my favorite herbs to use in dried form and I frequently combine it with oregano and basil in tomato-based sauces.

Like other fresh herbs:

  • it’s wonderful in egg dishes
  • on meats and fish
  • in soups and stews
  • and chopped fine in dressings

If you like clam chowder, my brother also has a wonderful recipe that calls for fresh thyme. It’s one of the few clam chowders I’ve ever made or liked, for that matter.

Have you ever grown thyme or bought it fresh? What types of dishes do you use it for?

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