In the House
*Also known as common thyme, English thyme, and sweet thyme
Growing up to fifteen inches tall, thyme is a perennial shrub with a base stem that becomes woody with age. It has gray-green oval leaves and small pink to lilac or bluish-purple flowers that grow in little clusters. Thyme grows well in the garden and on a windowsill, making it handy for wintertime use.
Thyme is one of the classic herbs in Mediterranean cuisine that dates back to ancient times. The Greeks and Romans not only used this herb in cooking but also as a healing antiseptic. Thyme was an ingredient in a range of remedies, and it was used to fumigate homes to avert infectious diseases.
Today this herb is used for a range of respiratory problems, including chest colds, wet coughs, hay fever, sinusitis, sore throat, and tonsillitis. The warming and drying properties of thyme are an aid for clearing congestion. Use the tea as a mouthwash and gargle, which will fight throat infection, gingivitis, and bad breath. Not only does this herb fight infection, it also provides support for the immune system and eases digestive complaints.
Thyme to Warm Up Tea
1—2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup boiling water
Steep the tea for ten minutes and strain. For variation, use one teaspoon of thyme and one teaspoon of sage or rosemary.
Although thyme is a common herb, it is a powerhouse for magical purposes. It is well known for its purification properties, which make it ideal for preparing ritual space and consecrating altars. Sprinkle dried leaves on your altar to stimulate energy for divination and psychic work, including any type of work involving the fairy realm. Wear a fresh sprig when making contact with the otherworld. Also use thyme to clear negative energy in general and to enhance awareness for clairvoyance. Use dried leaves in a sachet to increase the effectiveness of spells involving love, luck, and money. Stuff a little dream pillow with thyme leaves and/or flowers to help remember and interpret your dreams.
Thyme is associated with the elements air and water. Its astrological influence comes from the planet Venus and the fixed star Capella.
5 Robert Hogg, ed., The Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener, and Home Farmer, Volume VI: Third Series January to July 1883 (London: The Journal of Horticulture, 1883), 262.
6 A. G. Martimort, I. H. Dalmais, and P. Jounel, eds., The Liturgy and Time: The Church at Prayer: An Introduction to the Liturgy, Volume IV (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1986), 80.
7 Niall Edworthy, The Curious World of Christmas: Celebrating All That Is Weird, Wonderful and Festive (New York: Perigee Books, 2007), 23.
8 Christopher Cumo, ed., Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013), 638.
9 Glyn Church, Trees and Shrubs for Fragrance (Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books U.S. Inc., 2002), 74.
10 Ernest Small and Paul M. Catling, Canadian Medicinal Crops (Ottawa, Canada: National Research Council of Canada, 1999), 64.
11 Andrew Chevallier, The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants: A Practical Reference Guide to Over 550 Key Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses (New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 1996), 94.
12 Barbara J. Euser, ed., Bay Area Gardening: 64 Practical Essays by Master Gardeners (Palo Alto, CA: Solas House, 2005), 105.