Thyme is said to be one of the world’s most healthy herbs. It is a delicate herb with a strong aroma that can be used in a variety of dishes. An evergreen herb with tiny, white, pink and purple flowers, thyme grows quickly in areas that are sunny with well-drained soil.
Three-hundred varieties of thyme are in existence today. Each variety has different uses and different unique flavors. It can be used for cooking, oils, medicine, or even decoration. Lemon thyme and common thyme are used for cooking. Creeping thyme and Spanish thyme are used in supplements.
The history of thyme dates back as far as ancient Rome and Egypt. It was used by the Egyptians as part of the mummification process. The Romans used it to give to soldiers as a sign of bravery and respect as well as consuming before meals.
The Latin word for thyme, thymus, means courage and strength. Giving the herb to soldiers carried on as a tradition until the Middle Ages. After that, people in England began using it as a cooking spice.
Health Benefits of Thyme
Remaining influential throughout the years, thyme has a rich profile of various vitamins, minerals, and nutrient compounds. It is a source of calcium, iron, fiber, and manganese as well as Vitamins A, B6, and C.
Listed below are a variety of other wonderful health benefits you can gain by using thyme.
1. Antioxidant Properties
Apigenin, luteolin, saponins, and tannins are antioxidants that thyme contains. These compounds will neutralize free radicals before they cause oxidative stress and other harm to your body. [R]
Iron is often taken along with thyme to keep balance and reduce risks of oxidative stress.
2. Repels Bugs Safely
Thyme is a repellant for mosquitoes and other pests. Not only does it repel bugs, but it is completely safe because it has no harmful chemicals.
In addition to repelling mosquitoes, it repels certain types of flies, hornworms, cabbage loopers, and cabbage maggots.
3. Resistance of Harmful Organisms
Thyme contains chemical compounds such as carvacrol and thymol that resist harmful organisms. Fungal balance is believed to be promoted by thyme.
4. Mood Booster
Daily consumption of this powerful herb can enhance your mood by influencing neurotransmitters that control chemicals in the brain.
There is a compound found in thyme oil that has been proven to positively affect dopamine and serotonin levels. Thyme must be consumed for seven days in order to reap the benefits of enhanced moods.
5. Preserves Food
Since the herb is resistant to harmful organisms, it can preserve food and increase shelf life. Large scale food producers have observed this effect and used it to keep food safe.
Not only does thyme have a wonderful taste, it prevents food poisoning by fighting harmful organisms that spoil food.
6. Oral Health Enhancement
Thyme protects oral health by targeting harmful organisms that attack the mouth. Because of this, bad breath and gingivitis can be prevented.
Since thyme works as an antiseptic, mouth sores and ulcers are prevented from becoming infected. If infection occurs, thyme oil can fight it. [R]
7. Respiratory Health
Respiratory health in all seasons is supported by using thyme. Medical studies demonstrate that thyme can relax the air passages which would promote and maintain optimal lung health.
Thyme also alleviates coughing which can help you to get more rest at night if you have a cold.
8. Heart Health
Your blood pressure and cholesterol levels must be healthy to maintain good heart health. The nutrients in thyme will support healthy cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure.
The herb can reduce your heart rate when it is too high which helps keep the body from stress.
9. Healthy Skin
Studies indicate that thyme can maintain skin health. For years, nurses put thyme into bandages they used to wrap patients’ wounds because they knew thyme had healing properties for wounds. [R]
Thyme’s disinfecting power is gentle which means it will not cause side effects with its use.
10. Healthy Hair
Thyme oil aids hair growth and aids with various hair problems. Hair growth can be stimulated because the herb improves blood circulation to the scalp.
Thyme essential oil makes the hair healthier and shiny. If your hair is thinning, or even if you have lost a great deal of hair, thyme can thicken hair and restore what has been lost.
The antibacterial properties of this herb will cleanse the scalp, thereby, treating dandruff flakes that accumulate in the scalp. It is often used as an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos. [R]
You must be aware that there are two varieties of thyme. One is red while the other is white. Overuse of red thyme can cause skin irritation. More use of the white variety is recommended. [R]
11. Bone Health
As an excellent source of Vitamin K, iron, calcium, and manganese, thyme promotes proper bone growth and development. Since this herb plays a vital role in maintaining bone health, the risk of bone disorders and diseases is reduced.
Bone breakdown is combatted which will keep your bones from becoming brittle as you age.
12. Promotes Healthy Blood Cells
Iron is essential for healthy blood cells. It also gives energy. Often, iron deficiency causes chronic fatigue. Thyme is a great source of iron providing 20% of the daily recommended allowance.
Iron deficiency can result in anemia and other issues. Having this herb in your diet maintains healthy blood cells which prevent iron deficiency.
13. Diuretic Properties
Thyme oil has properties that aid the body with ridding itself of excess salts and toxins by increasing urination.
Not only are these diuretic properties helpful for lowering blood pressure and promoting weight loss, but they are also good for preventing renal failure.
14. Promotes Sound Sleep
Many people do not get the recommended amount of sleep needed to function healthily which is approximately 7 to 8 hours per night. When some do sleep, they often wake up several times throughout the night.
Thyme tea induces sleep and reduces nightmares. The calming effects of thyme oil can enhance your mood and lessen fatigue.
15. Enhance Cognitive and Mental Health
If you inhale the scent of fresh thyme leaves, you can stimulate your mind as well as relieve stress and anxiety.
Memory and concentration can also be increased using the same method. You can also add thyme oil to your diffuser or oil burner.
How to Use
Thyme can be used in a variety of different ways for you to reap the benefits. Many people use it in oils, seasonings, and tea. The following are some ways to use this wonderful herb.
Not only is thyme tea delicious to your taste buds, but it also contains antiviral, antifungal, and preservative properties. Buying organic prepackaged thyme tea is also an option, but you can make your own using the fresh or dried thyme you purchase for cooking.
If you are using fresh thyme, spread it on a countertop or other safe surface until it is dry. It usually takes a few days. Once it is dried, transfer it to a jar.
When you begin making the tea, you will need about three thyme sprigs for one and one-half cup of boiling water. You can chop sprigs before steeping if you have a tea ball infuser. Simply place the sprigs in a teacup, pour the boiling water over it. Let it steep for about five minutes. Remove the sprigs before drinking.
Although thyme tea tastes great, you can add lemon, ginger, or honey depending upon your personal preferences. You can infuse thyme tea with different fruits. Add apples or peaches to cold thyme tea for additional flavor.
Adding homegrown thyme to butter will enhance buttery flavor. Meats, vegetables, and pasta will be livened up when cooked and prepared with this flavorful herb.
Additionally, thyme garlic butter has a wonderful flavor to add to your foods.
Lemon Thyme Salt
Flavor can be added to roasted vegetables or fish dishes by using lemon thyme salt. What a healthy way to add flavor to your food. Lemon thyme salt will not raise your blood pressure.
Soups and Sauces
Thyme can be paired with citrus, garlic, cream, peppercorn, butter, olive oil, and Dijon mustard.
When making soups, the herb can be mixed with potatoes, vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, and leafy greens. Using thyme in soups and sauces gives additional flavor that no one could refuse.
Breads and Pastas
Drizzle thyme infused oil or vinegar on your homemade breads. You can also mix thyme into the dough. Add thyme to your pastas to enhance taste and flavor.
Many people recommend French bread with thyme or garlic thyme focaccia.
Salads and Salad Dressings
Many people do not always think of using this herb in salads and salad dressing, but it can make a salad more robust with flavor.
Fresh or dried thyme works well in most salads. Some salads that are great with it are chicken salad, pea salad, and apple and spinach salad.
Thyme works well in many savory dishes, but it can lend great fragrance and flavor to desserts too. Many cookies and cakes can have an addition of thyme to enhance aroma and taste.
Figs and other fruit desserts work well with thyme. Some people have reported that using thyme in lemon cake brings amazing results.
Using thyme to enhance sweet treats is not an idea that people normally entertain, but it has been proven effective.
To Fight Mucus and Ease Congestion
Thyme has been known for its use as an expectorant, reducing mucus, and relieving congestion. Acting as an antitussive, thyme relieves coughing spasms. [R]
Pour boiling water into a heatproof pan. Stir in two teaspoons of fresh or dried thyme. You can even stir in oil if you wish. Lean over the pan and breathe in the vapors for about ten minutes.
Improve Oral Health
If you are looking for a natural alternative to improve oral health, thyme is what you need.
Thyme oil can be used to treat tooth decay, gingivitis, bad breath, and plaque due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. [R]
If you will read the ingredients on most mouthwashes, you will find that thymol, an active component in thyme oil, is a primary ingredient in many of them.
Massaging thyme oil into your scalp can kill fungi and bacteria that contribute to scalp conditions such as dandruff.
Impurities are removed, hair follicles cleared, and the scalp is stimulated by use of thyme oil on your scalp. As a result, hair growth will increase.
Thyme can be used to fight eczema, acne, and inflammation. Signs of aging can be decreased as well because thyme has antioxidant properties.
Because thyme also has antiseptic properties, it can treat minor cuts, scrapes, and wounds. The oil can be applied to the affected area using a cotton ball. [R]
As with any herb or supplement, there are certain precautions that must be taken.
Pregnant Women/Breastfeeding Mothers/Children
Thyme should be used in small amounts by children, breastfeeding mothers, or pregnant women. There is not enough research available to indicate if thyme is safe when used in excessive amounts in these cases.
In some cultures, thyme tea is commonly used to induce labor; and in some instances, to perform abortions.
Surgery and Bleeding Disorders
A possibility exists that thyme could slow the blood clotting process. The risks of bleeding can be increased if you are having surgery, or if you have a bleeding disorder. [R]
Stop taking thyme at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. Always consult your physician in these cases.
If you are allergic to oregano or the Lamiaceae species, you could also be allergic to thyme. It is strongly recommended not to use thyme in these cases.
Thyme can act like estrogen to the body. If you have hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, or ovarian cancer, you should not use thyme. [R][R]
Since there is a moderate risk of thyme slowing the blood clotting process, it is strongly recommended that you avoid taking thyme along with medications such as Aspirin, Plavix, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others.
Where to Buy
Both fresh and dried thyme is available in most supermarkets or health food stores. The essential oil is also available in most health food stores and on Amazon.
If you wish to purchase thyme online, you can order it from Amazon, or The Growers Exchange. Thyme is available online in its dry form, essential oil, or tea.