Thyme is a common culinary herb that can be used fresh or dried in soups and stews. It is best to buy it fresh as a potted plant from a nursery or organic grocery store and use it raw to season salads and other dishes. In gourmet dishes, the small flowers are often used decoratively, but are also edible. Thyme can be found growing wild. Gently dried, it is considered a raw food. Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is less known but can also be eaten raw.
From Wikipedia: “Thyme is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. The most common variety is Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is of the genus Thymus of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and a relative of the oregano genus Origanum.”
“Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and thereafter grows as a perennial. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or dividing rooted sections of the plant. It tolerates drought well. The plants can take deep freezes and are found growing wild on mountain highlands.”
“In some Levantine countries, and Assyria, the condiment za'tar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It is a common component of the bouqet garni, and of herbes de Provence.
Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round. The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. Although the fresh form only lasts a week or two under refrigeration, it can last many months if carefully frozen.
Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves") spaced ½ to 1" apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Dried thyme is widely used in Armenia in tisanes (called urc).
Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g., in a bouquet garni), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually, when a recipe specifies "bunch" or "sprig", it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons, it means the leaves. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme.
Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork.
Thyme retains its flavour on drying better than many other herbs.”
“Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) contains 20–54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-cymeme, myrcene, borneol, and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is an active ingredient in various commercially produced mouthwashes such as Listerine. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, oil of thyme was used to medicate bandages. It has also been shown to be effective against various fungi that commonly infect toenails. Thymol can also be found as the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers.
A tisane made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs and bronchitis.”