Thyme is such a common herb for plenty of tasty reasons. Its most common use is in the culinary department, but thyme does have some beneficial health properties.
Thyme has a warming and dry energy. Its beneficial actions include being antimicrobial, expectorant, antispasmodic, and astringent.
Thyme’s volatile oil contains thymol. Thymol is a natural monoterpenoid and is responsible for thyme’s antimicrobial properties. Thyme’s speciality in this department is its aid in relief from bacteria involved in upper respiratory infections. Look to thyme for nasty, wet respiratory problems. Dry cough? Look elsewhere; this isn’t thyme’s cup of tea. Thyme is also an expectorant, as stated above, which also helps in secretion of sputum (fancy word for that lovely saliva and mucous mixture you cough up–yum!). The body’s way of secreting sputum is by what I like to call a meaningful cough; you’re coughing, which sucks, but that sputum that is causing such irritation and poses the threat of deeper infection is knocked out of your body.
Thyme can help as a poultice for wounds and small cuts, where exposure to bacteria is concerned.
Thyme’s antispasmodic properties can help with bloating and gas by relaxing the digestive tract, but is also helpful in the cold department because it is helpful for convulsive coughing (again, due to thyme’s antispasmodic properties).
Due to its antibacterial properties, thyme can be helpful with acne.
I often don’t use thyme by itself, but mix it with other ingredients depending on the need. It is a great addition to most tea infusions if you are suffering from a cold.
Do you use or grow thyme in the garden? Comment below if you want to share or ask questions.
If you’re curious to see what else we’re growing in the medicinal herb garden, check us out here.
I am feeling pretty overwhelmed at the amount of cool stuff I’ve been wanting to share lately! We have so much going on. I have to introduce you guys to one of my favorite places, Maggie’s Herb Farm. This introduction is long overdue, this place is amazing. Every single medicinal (and some culinary) herb I have came from Maggie’s.
This farm has been in the same spot since 1983. Dora Baker is the current owner. My family and I carry a very deep appreciation of her. She has worked in the clinical setting as a herbalist so it’s only logical that her nursery carries many medicinal herbs. Being a lover of nature, she also carries plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Maggie’s Herb Farm also carries plants native to Florida, one of my favorites being the datil pepper. This pepper is a native of one of my favorite cities, St. Augustine. It’s kind of a big deal around these parts. We purchased a few plants on our last visit to hopefully incorporate into our homemade spicy Italian sausages we sell at the Port Orange Pavilion Market.
Maggie’s also hosts numerous classes. We have attended the Herbal Medicine Chest and Beginning Soap Making classes. Being a teacher and also a lifelong learner my most enjoyable experiences during these classes have been learning new things, but it’s also quite inspiring to be around other like-minded people on similar quests to healthier living.
The environment itself is relaxing, so it’s no surprise that this nursery hosts yoga classes. Living in Ormond Beach, I simply have not been able to attend. Being someone who greatly enjoys the benefits of yoga, I would attend at least for the setting, if I lived closer.
Touring the nursery is a pleasant experience. Depending on the season, the plants will be booming with butterflies. Every day of the year one can see the chickens roaming the land. They’re far from a nuisance and don’t spook easily from people. It’s obvious the flock is well taken care of and loved. Even the roosters are calm, but being prey animals by nature I instinctively never tell anyone to try to hold or cuddle a hen or rooster they simply do not know. If you’re browsing plants at this nursery, do not be startled if a hen walks over your feet as she does her ritual foraging.
What I appreciate the most when I visit Maggie’s Herb Farm, is if I have a question Dora is there to answer it and she is actually knowledgable in the area of medicinal herbs. That’s really not an easy thing to find locally.
If you’re looking for an actual nursery where you can browse herbs and plants that you don’t typically find in most nurseries, I definitely recommend coming out here. It is such a gem and so much nicer than ordering plants online. As a studying herbalist I appreciate being able to grow most of what I use. I understand that it is not always possible to grow what I need to use, but to be able to grow as much as possible on site is really a dream we’re trying to achieve on our farm.
If you are in St. Augustine–or anywhere in Florida–make a trip here. Visit the historical aspects of the city, do lunch somewhere, then come to Maggie’s to shop. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a free day.
Check out their website, or their Facebook. They have a very quick respond time on Facebook and happily help with any questions you may have. Check them out, they are amazing.
And if you want to follow what we have been doing with these herbs check us out here, here, and here. These are some older posts and we will be adding more in the future as we look to the possibilities of a greenhouse and as I practice more with my copper still.
Check back with us the next couple of weeks as we share our beginning journey in soap making and other natural products.
Sage. Antimicrobial, bitter, carminative, diuretic, and astringent. There’s a lot going on with this herb, so it’s a great addition for many dishes to help get the benefits. You can also use this herb in medicinal recipes.
Something that is antimicrobial kills microorganisms, or stops their growth. Natural or synthetic antimicrobials are grouped based on the microorganisms they act against. So that means, something that is antibiotic is antimicrobial; something that is antifungal is antimicrobial. But something can be antimicrobial, but not necessarily antibiotic or antifungal. And the antimicrobial is then further categorized based on which strain of bacteria, fungi, etc. they fight against. There are TONS of herbs that are antimicrobial, but their microorganism fighting speciality differs. Sage fights against Bacillus Cereus. Bacillus Cereus is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Sage can also fight against minor skin infections/acne.
Fun fact, bitter-tasting herbs aid in digestion, strictly because of the bitter taste. If you have chronic stomach issues with bloat or gas, or you want to give your digestive system a good kick-start, drink an herbal tea that is bitter about 20 minutes before eating. If you’re taking sage for an illness this bitter taste can be beneficial. 75% of your immune system is in the gut and keeping your digestive system healthy and running smoothly, especially when you’re sick, is important. You want your immune system to be focused on fixing you and not working extra hard on an ill functioning digestive system. How does this work? As soon as your taste receptors detect the bitter taste, your vagus nerve gets going, meaning all the digestive organs responsible for secretions begin as well as other functions involved in getting food from point A to point B.
In short? Got the farts? Yeah, carminative properties help with flatulence.
Increases urine flow. This can help with water retention and high blood pressure.
If you have oily skin, applying a sage infusion (especially if your skin is sensitive) can help because it tightens the skin.
Sage is classified as a drying and slightly heating herb, which makes it great for colds with lots of phlegm. It’s not something I would recommend by itself for a fever, but you can use it in combination with other herbs that are diaphoretic and fever breaking. Since sage is drying, avoid use in dry coughs.
So, that’s sage! I could actually do a second post in sage for culinary use to maintain good health as well. I can even write a third post on its history in different cultures. This herb is awesome and so easy to grow. Mine is going nuts.
Curious about other medicinal/culinary herbs we have on the farm? Click here and check it out.
Calendula. It’s looking really pretty this time of year. I love how fiery that orange can get. Everyday, I have at least one ready flower to harvest. I’m not one for the mundane, and living on a homestead is far from it, but there’s something very connecting and exceptional about checking my plant babies everyday to see how they grow and progress, despite how repetitive it may seem. I especially love to visit them after a rain. My animals despise the rain (minus the waterfowl), but my plants thrive in it. And contrasting the very vocal protests of my herd, the plants have been celebrating the rain, as evident by their lush green leaves, brightly colored flowers, and towering heights.
Looking like a daisy–which makes sense because it’s part of the same family–Calendula has bright yellow/orange flowers. The flowers are what’s used for medicinal properties.
This flower is very multipurposed as it is used for culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes. That and it really is just really pretty.
You don’t see it a lot anymore, but this was a popular flower to add to salads and stews. It is completely edible and its consumption won’t hurt you.
Linoleic acid is found in high concentrations in Calendula. Calendula is a helpful remedy for:
Calendula can improve skin firmness and hydration. A strong rinse/tea can be made to apply topically.
Calendula increases blood flow and oxygen to wounds, which can result in a faster healing process as new tissue is grown. When taken internally in tea form, it can help with ulcers.
Calendula can help induce a menstrual cycle (do not take when pregnant as it can lead to early labor). This herb can also treat cramping.
Antimicrobial and Antiviral
The oils and acids found within this plant can fight pathogens, candida symptoms, and even some antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Calendula is used in a few antiseptic topical remedies because of this.
I have one plant that is blooming and has enough to harvest daily. I harvest the flowers and dry them then store them. Once I have enough I infuse them in an oil for future salves and any additional teas I could use.
Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.
We recently added yarrow to our medicinal garden and it’s finally blooming. It is a unique plant in that the leaves and flowers can both be used topically and internally. It’s very versatile, treating many ailments and improving health.
Yarrow is actually quite pretty and I find the pungent scent intoxicating. I love harvesting the flowers because they smell so lovely. Which I find funny because pests hate it. This plant is virtually pest free and even when I found caterpillars trying to devour the neighboring comfrey, the yarrow remained untouched. Another funny note off of that fact, yarrow attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and those creepy parasitic wasps. If you have not seen a clip of what those things do, you need to take the time to find a video. As long as you’re not squeamish. Anyways, these beneficial insects help with the nasty little buggers you want out of your garden, so plant plenty of yarrow.
The colors I see most often in yarrow flowers that people grow in their gardens are white and pink.
The leaves are soft and feather-like in both appearance and texture. Both flowers and leaves are used for their medicinal properties. An all around, pretty plant. This herb is actually my daughter’s favorite. She will harvest them with me and sneak off with one. I have seen them stashed in her dresser from time to time.
One medicinal trait yarrow has that many other plants do not have is that it’s styptic. This means that it can stop bleeding when used as a poultice, or powder form. Seek medical attention for severe wounds, but yarrow can aid in minor wounds where it is difficult to stop bleeding. Another nice feature of this herb is that it is also antiseptic, vulnerary, and anti-inflammatory; all great properties to assist with infection prevention and healing.
When ingested, yarrow is diaphoretic, expectorant, antispasmodic, hemostatic, and analgesic.
Being diaphoretic, yarrow induces sweating. This sounds more like a nasty side effect rather than something helpful, but this can help cool the body when it’s needed, like a bad fever. Sweating–though unpleasant–is our body’s natural way of cooling off. When we’re sick, sometimes our bodies do a horrible job at this, so inducing a good sweat without wasting our body’s energy on a vigorous run can help break that fever. Yay to the gross ways our bodies adapt and regulate–homeostasis, baby!
Yarrow, much like mullein, is an expectorant. This means that yarrow can assist in getting rid of sputum (a fancy word for that lovely spit and mucus mixture you get when you’re sick and congested) in airway passages. Although I prefer using mullein for nasty coughs and colds, yarrow does help with knocking that congestion out if you’re already taking it for a fever.
Yarrow is antispasmodic, which can help with treating some cases of IBS, along with other dietary changes. An antispasmodic aids in relieving involuntarily muscle spasms, which is why this herb can help. Being that it is an antispasmodic, it can also help with menstrual cramping. Never use while pregnant though because it is a uterine stimulant. However, it is awesome to use after giving birth as it helps tone the uterus and helps with any hemorrhaging. Breastfeeding? You should be fine in lower doses. If you are your baby have an allergy to any plants in the aster family (this includes flowers like sunflowers and daisies) then just avoid it altogether.
If your goal is to use yarrow for its hemostatic properties, I do advise that you consult with a physician if it’s because you believe you have internal bleeding. I am all for natural healing and I can see yarrow’s use in something like excessive menstrual cycles, or symptoms caused by uterine fibroids. Those are chronic ailments that are not as life threatening as a head injury, or an abdominal injury from a car accident. If you ever suspect internal bleeding, seek medical attention to see the underlying cause, then go about educated treatment from there. Don’t just consume a bunch of yarrow without a diagnosis. Please. Ever. With any herb or medication.
Yarrow is technically analgesic, but it’s really for minor pains. If you’re already taking it for a fever or cold, chances are it will aid in any pain you may be feeling as long as it’s mild. There are stronger herbs out there if pain is your main concern.
So, there you have it. Yarrow in a nutshell. I could write individual blog posts, both small and large, about just the individual ways I can use this. Powder form for profuse bleeding out of small wounds, poultices for cuts and scrapes, teas for all the glories of being born female, pest control, teas for fever breaking, it is endless. This was not one of my first medicinal herbs, but it really should have been because it is amazing. I’m very excited my plant is blooming because I don’t have to buy them from an unknown source!
Do you use yarrow? Will you now that you know more about it? Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.
Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.