The Thyme is Now for this Wonderful Herb
by Brenda Cobb
There are more than 100 varieties of thyme, all developed from wild thyme, T. serphyllum. Each variety looks slightly different and has a different flavor and aroma. Thyme from England has broad leaves; French thyme has narrow leaves; and winter thyme from Germany stays green all winter. There are also thymes that taste and smell like lemon, mint, pine, licorice, caraway or nutmeg. Thyme has long been associated with bees and honey, because the plant attracts enormous amounts of bees.
The gray-green leaves of fresh thyme smell resinous and sweet, and have a bright, sharp taste. It can easily overpower other more delicate flavors, so it should be used with discretion. It especially complements vegetables of the cabbage family, tomatoes and zucchini.
Thyme has not always been a seasoning herb. History records its cultivation for decorative, ceremonial, aphrodisiac and medicinal purposes. Long valued as an herb of courage, elegance and grace in Greece, the highest compliment that could be paid a man was to tell him that he smelled of thyme. It was very popular as a bath scent and used as a male cosmetic. In the Middle Ages, thyme sprigs or thyme-embroidered kerchiefs and scarves were given by ladies to their favorite knights in order to protect them in battle.
If a young girl wore a corsage of wild thyme flowers, it meant that she was looking for a sweetheart. If a bashful boy drank enough wild thyme tea, it would give him the courage to take her up on it. Due to its antiseptic qualities, it was included in the embalming fluids used by the Egyptians and the posies carried by European judges and nobility to protect them from the odors and diseases of the common people.
A bed of thyme was thought to be a favorite for fairies, that would creep out late in the evening and frolic in the garden. According to legend, at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve, the king of the fairies and his followers dance in beds of wild thyme. You may not be dancing in a bed of thyme anytime soon, but you certainly can enjoy the wonderful flavor and health benefits by including thyme in your recipes. Enjoy the flavor and the benefits of thyme and this delicious and easy-to-prepare dish.
4 cups cabbage 1 cup tomatoes 1⁄2 cup onion 1⁄2 cup pitted dates 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Himalayan salt 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice Pinch cayenne pepper
Chop the cabbage, onion, tomatoes and dates. Combine with the thyme, olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Let this sit for a couple of hours and all of the flavors will meld together.
Brenda Cobb is the author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of the Living Foods Institute, an educational center and therapy spa in Atlanta offering Healthy Lifestyle Courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876 and visit LivingFoodsInstitute.com.