Rosemary,Basil and Thyme at the Blue Mountain – a comparison


I recently saw a statistic that said, in the United States, only 16% of the population lived in rural areas! The sparsely populated mountainous region of Newton County, Arkansas, is said to be the poorest county in the state. We don’t even have one traffic light here! Forget cell phone reception. And our county seat, Jasper, only has a population of about 500. So it was a big deal when a bakery, the Blue Mountain Bakery & Deli, opened it’s doors earlier this year. Folks in Newton County have a taste for the “real”, a taste for the sustainable, a taste for self-provision…and the Blue Mountain caters to that taste.

Crafts at Blue Mountain Bakery & Deli

Naturally, I recognized it right away as the ideal spot to launch herbal dinner workshops. We started our monthly dinners in September with Jenny (co-owner of the Blue Mountain) preparing a special menu around the herb of the month. Dishes like Scallop & New Potato Thyme soup, Pumpkin-Thyme scones, Basil Lemon cookies, Rosemary marinated veggie –feta cheese kabobs….Over the two hour dinner we learn how these kitchen herbs can heal us.

The folks who’ve attended all three workshops soon came to realize how similar rosemary, basil and thyme are. They have in common the ability to ward off and treat colds and flu; lift moods; aid digestion; harmonize the liver; restore the nervous system; disinfect the urinary tract; ward off insects; anti-cancer…etc.  They seem almost interchangeable, and they are, but they also have some unique characteristics setting them apart.

For example:

Skin care: Rosemary as a skin wash opens capillaries to enliven the skin and it’s used for eczema. Thyme, however, if used on the skin would be for antiseptic purposes and to treat psoriasis. Basil is especially good to relieve itchiness of the skin, especially  if juiced and mixed with raw honey.

Alcohol : Thyme is used in a protocol to treat alcoholism. Basil is used to treat a hangover. No special application for Rosemary in this holiday arena.

Mental: A study found that basil’s phytochemicals act on the brain in the very same fashion as pharmaceutical anti-depressants (but without dependency or negative side-effects). Rosemary acts as an anti-depressant in a different manner and while it lifts the mood, its better known as a memory enhancer…it also has a special gift for protecting the cell membranes of brain, heart and kidney from damage. Both basil and thyme are used for coma. Thyme is the herb of choice for nightmares in children. Thyme may also be the better herb for insomnia, though basil may be close.

Digestive System: Basil helps digest protein; Rosemary helps digest starch; Thyme helps digest fats. All are anti-parasitic but Thyme stands out for eliminating tapeworm and hookworm. All assist the liver but in different ways. In the case of diarrhea, use thyme.

Muscles: All three are powerfully antispasmodic however thyme’s specialty is to strengthen weak muscles in MS and in children who aren’t developing normally. (Thyme was known as the herb of “courage and strength”). Basil takes the prize as the superior antispasmodic.

This is just a brief comparison, if you’re interested in learning more keep an eye out for my webinar series. Yes, I’m moving some of this work into a virtual classroom…the only thing holding me back is learning the technology (and possibly my computer!!) but its on the horizon.

Wishing you all an especially joyous holiday season with a plentitude of rosemary, basil and thyme.

The Blue Mountain Bakery & Deli


About dcoda

An herbalist for over 40 years, ten years spent alone in the Ozark Hurricane Creek Wilderness Preserve, working with its brilliant botanicals. I'm an instructor and co-founder of the Ozark Herbal Academy which offers training in medicinal and edible plants through hands-on workshops and online courses.

Posted on November 25, 2011, in Workshops and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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