It is used to flavour meats, soups and stews and has several medicinal properties

Thyme is a genus of about 350 species of aromatic perennial herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs that grow 40 cm tall. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae and is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. The ancient Egyptians used thyme for 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. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks to the Romans who used it to purify their rooms.In Germany, concoctions of thyme are frequently prescribed for cough. Thyme is used in herbal teas prepared for colds and flus. Thyme is prescribed by herbalists for intestinal worms, gastrointestinal ailments, bronchial problems, laryngitis, diarrhoea and lack of appetite. It has antiseptic properties, and can be used as a mouthwash, skin cleanser, anti-fungal agent for athlete's foot and as an anti-parasitic for lice and scabies. For skin inflammations and sores, make a poultice by mashing the leaves into a paste. Thyme oil or infusion can be added to the bath to relieve rheumatism and bronchial difficulties.Thyme is grown for its strong flavour, which is due to the presence of thymol in it. It retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs. Thyme is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. Thyme is often used in bouquet-garni, which is a small sprig of fresh herbs tied together and simmered in various dishes. Since it is an herb that helps the body digest fatty foods, it is often used as an ingredient in those kinds of dishes. N. GOPI

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