The least conspicuous plants are often the most precious. Thyme creeps low across the ground, closely hugging the body of Mother Earth and clothing her in fragrant robes. Yet, its tiny leaves are barely noticeable lest it is in flower. When Thyme springs into blossom, the countryside is transformed, at least in those dry and inhospitable places where it prefers to make itself at home. Each year in early spring, the arid Mediterranean hillsides burst into a pinkish purple, sweet scented wonderland, abuzz with delirious bees that are lapping up the copious nectar.
In ancient times it was customary for Ladies to embroider scarves depicting a sprig of Thyme with a bee hovering above. These they would present to their knights - presumably as an alluring symbol of natural attraction. Thyme was thought a fitting scent even for the Gods. Its very name derives from the Greek word 'thyein', which means 'to burn as a sacrifice', implying its ancient use as incense. Thyme may seem humble and lowly, but it is packed with power and was once thought to convey courage, strength and bravery. It was used as a strewing herb and as fragrant bedstraw, especially for women in childbed. Yet, it also had associations with the Otherworld and the realm of fairies. The 'hillside where the wild thyme blows', was thought to conceal the entrance to their lovely realm. Thyme was also often planted on graves and used in embalming lotions. Sprigs of Thyme are worn for remembrance and to alleviate grief and sorrow. Although Thyme is no longer revered as it once was, it is still considered very important as a culinary herb and as a source of Thymol, one of the best and most effective antiseptics known. Even now it is widely used as a wound dressing and cleansing agent.
Thyme is one of the best agents for respiratory infections such as sore throat, laryngitis or tonsillitis and is one of the best herbs for a tickly, dry cough. It is even said to be effective for whooping cough. Thyme is a powerful antiseptic for both lungs and stomach. It also disinfects the urinary system and can be used for cystitis and urethritis. Thyme may be used as part of a worming regime - worms hate thyme and drinking thyme tea for several days before using a worming agent will so weaken the parasites that they will be easy to dispel. Thyme also is an excellent stomachic herb, disinfecting the stomach and clearing stomach catarrh. Thyme's well known antiseptic properties make it very effective as a wound dressing and for treating inflamed skin conditions, acne, abscesses, boils and the like. It also soothes insect bites and dispels lice, fleas and other creatures. As a compress it can be used as a circulatory stimulant for arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches and gout. It detoxifies and can be helpful for water retention and cellulites. It stimulates the uterus and promotes menstrual flow. Do not use during pregnancy.
Thyme can be used for protection and cleansing and as an incense offering to the Gods. It imparts strength, courage and bravery and can aide with difficult tasks. Thyme strengthens memory and concentration and may be helpful for those engaged in studies. It can be used as a sign of remembrance and love, especially at funerary rites. Thyme has an affinity with the fairy realm and may attract these elusive beings or help finding access to their world.