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  • Writer's pictureOlivine Moss

Thyme

Updated: Oct 30, 2023


Courage

Active

Grace

Elegance



 

Lore and Legends


Thyme is a herb with a long and fascinating history. It has been used for various purposes by different cultures and civilizations, from medicine to magic. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most interesting facts about thyme and its uses in ancient and medieval times.


One of the earliest recorded uses of thyme was in ancient Egypt, where it was part of the embalming process. Thyme was believed to have antiseptic and preservative properties, and it was also used to mask the smell of decay. Thyme was also associated with the afterlife and the god Osiris, who was the ruler of the underworld.


Another ancient civilization that used thyme extensively was Sumeria, which existed around 2750 B.C. in Mesopotamia. Sumerians used thyme in poultices to treat wounds and infections, as well as in rituals and offerings to their gods. Thyme was considered a sacred herb that could ward off evil spirits and bring blessings.


In ancient Greece, thyme was a symbol of courage and strength. It was used to make incense and perfume, as well as to flavor wine and cheese. Thyme was also believed to enhance the physical and mental abilities of athletes, warriors, and orators. They would rub thyme oil on their skin or wear thyme wreaths on their heads to boost their confidence and charisma.


The Romans also adopted the use of thyme from the Greeks, but they added a new twist: they used it as a remedy for poison. Roman emperors were often paranoid about being poisoned by their enemies or rivals, so they would eat thyme before, during, or after a meal to neutralize any toxins. Thyme was also used to flavor food and drinks, as well as to purify the air and prevent diseases.


Thyme had another interesting association in Europe: it was linked to snakes and serpents. Some people believed that thyme could protect them from snake bites or venom, while others thought that thyme could attract snakes or even turn them into dragons. Thyme was also used to make ointments and potions that could cure snake bites or induce visions.


One of the most intriguing aspects of thyme's history is its connection to fairies. According to European folklore, thyme was the favorite herb of the fairies, who would often gather around thyme patches or sleep under thyme pillows. Thyme was thought to have magical properties that could enable humans to see or communicate with fairies, if they were brave enough.


However, not all interactions with fairies were pleasant or harmless. In medieval times, fairies were feared as dangerous and malicious beings who could cause harm or mischief to humans. They were especially known for stealing children and replacing them with changelings, which were fairy impostors that looked like human babies but had strange features or behaviors.


To prevent this from happening, people would keep thyme indoors or plant it around their homes to repel fairies. They would also avoid picking thyme at night or disturbing the fairy circles that formed around thyme plants.


As you can see, thyme is a herb with a rich and diverse history that spans across cultures and centuries. It has been used for various purposes, from practical to mystical, and has inspired many legends and stories. Thyme is more than just a culinary herb; it is a herb with a story.

 

Medicinal Uses


Sinus infections, respiratory problems, cancer preventative, pain relief. Fights infectious bacteria and has antimicrobial properties.



 

Poetry


"0 ! Cupid was that saucy boy , Who furrows deeply drew . He broke soil , destroyed the soil Of wild thyme wet with dew . Before his feet , the field was sweet With flowers and grasses green , Behind , turn'd down , and bare and brown By Cupid's coulter" Devonshire Songs


In my garden grew plenty of thyme , It would flourish by night and by day , O’er the wall came a lad , he took all that I had , And stole my thyme away . 0 ! And I was a damsel so fair , But fairer I wished to appear , So I washed me in milk , and I dressed me in silk , And put the sweet thyme in my hair . Devonshire Songs



 


In-Depth Reading and Resources


Botanist, W. A. (2022, November 29). Plant Story--Thyme and Its Folklore. http://khkeeler.blogspot.com/2016/07/plant-story-thyme-and-its-folklore.html


Learn about the uses of thyme as a culinary and medicinal herb. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/video/180207/Overview-thyme


Thyme. (2017, November 13). Gaia Herbs. https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/thyme

Botanist, W. A. (2022b, November 29). Plant Story--Thyme and Its Folklore. http://khkeeler.blogspot.com/2016/07/plant-story-thyme-and-its-folklore.html


Rosalind Northcote (1903), The Book of Herbs, retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=pLhBAAAAYAAJ


Felman, A. (2018, August 23). What are the benefits of thyme?https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266016


The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (1998, July 20). fairy | folklore. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/art/fairy



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