Did you know that thyme is one of the world’s healthiest foods? A delicate-looking herb with a strong fragrance, thyme can be a wonderful addition to a variety of dishes. While most of us are familiar with mint and cilantro, thyme is more popular in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean region.
Herbs have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for decades. They have formed an important part of our diet and culture apart from being used in traditional medicine. A member of the mint family, thyme is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. Its name is attributed to the presence of thymol which belongs to the naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides. These biocides have the potential to destroy harmful organisms.
Thyme is available in several varieties of which garden thyme is the most common. In summer, it bears tiny fragrant, lilac or white-colored flowers. It has grey green leaves, a sweetly earthy flavor and a pungent minty lemon-like aroma. Another variety is lemon thyme which has a more pronounced lemony aroma.
This aromatic herb is used as an ingredient in several Mediterranean dishes ranging from vegetables and eggs to lamb, fish and pork to impart its lemony flavor and fragrant aroma. The essential oil of thyme, known as “oil of thyme”, comprises of 20 to 54% thymol.
Ancient Egyptians used it for the purpose of embalming. The Greeks used it as incense in temples and added it to bath water, considering it a source of courage. It was popularized by the Romans who used it to purify their rooms and added it to cheeses and liquor. It was also placed on coffins during funerals as it was believed to assure passage to the next life.
Thyme is renowned for its medicinal value. Its leaves, flowers and oil have been used in the treatment of several ailments. It is available in both fresh and dried forms. Fresh thyme is more flavorful and sold in bunches of sprigs. One sprig comprises of a single stem snipped from the plant, paired with leaves or flower clusters. Both fresh and dried thyme can be used in cooking.
Thyme Benefits for Skin
Apart from its various health benefits, this amazing herb plays an important role in skincare as well. Thyme essential oil distilled from the flowering tops of the plant is particularly beneficial in this regard.
1. Treatment of Acne:
Thyme possesses amazing anti-bacterial properties. It is effective in fighting the bacteria that causes skin acne. Thyme is often incorporated as an ingredient in acne creams and face washes.
2. Maintains Skin Health:
Thyme helps in maintaining skin health by eliminating the bacteria that is responsible for causing various skin problems. Thyme essential oil can be diluted with water and used as a toner to tighten mature skin. It is gentle on your skin and can be used for all skin types.
3. Treatment of Athlete’s Foot:
The antifungal properties of thyme make it beneficial for the treatment of athlete’s foot.
Thyme Benefits for Hair
Thyme has been known for its hair benefits since centuries. Thyme essential oil encourages hair growth as well as combats various hair problems.
4. Stimulates Hair Growth:
Delivery of nutrients to the hair follicles is vital for hair growth. Thyme improves blood circulation to the scalp. Rubbing an oil mixture with thyme in it or thyme essential oil benefits in facilitating the delivery of nutrients to the scalp and encourages hair growth besides making it healthier and shinier.
5. Treatment of Hair Thinning:
If you are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, thyme essential oil is a great remedy. Usage of thyme oil for hair either by itself or with other ingredients can make your hair thick and lustrous as well as combat hair loss.
6. Treatment of Dandruff:
Due to its antibacterial properties, thyme essential oil can clear dirt from the entire scalp and is effective in the treatment of dandruff. This herb is often used as an ingredient in shampoos, conditioners and scalp treatments.
It should be kept in mind that there are different types of thyme, the two main varieties being red thyme and white thyme. Excess use of red thyme for hair can cause skin irritation; it is advisable to utilize white thyme in hair mixtures.
Thyme Health Benefits
The medicinal value of this aromatic herb renders it beneficial for your health in many ways. Certain naturally-occurring compounds in thyme provide the following health benefits.
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
As per research, thyme contains several anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in preventing chronic inflammation in the body. It can help you get rid of your acne problems.
8. Treatment of Indigestion:
Thyme tea is known to promote good digestion, and reduce gas and bloating. This herb contains volatile oils which can cure intestinal cramping.
9. Treatment of Respiratory Disorders:
The antiseptic and antibiotic properties of thyme make it an effective remedy for respiratory conditions like coughs and bronchitis as well as cold and sore throat. You can prepare your own thyme tea by steeping a couple of leaves in warm water and allowing it to brew. Sweeten it with some honey. Regular consumption of this tea will help to treat respiratory conditions and cold. In case of throat ache, you can boil water along with thyme and gargle with it. Thyme is a proven natural remedy for bronchitis.
10. Bone Health:
Thyme is an excellent source of Vitamin K and a great source of iron, calcium and manganese. These minerals play a crucial role in bone health, promoting proper bone growth and development, and reducing the risk of bone disorders. Thyme helps in sustaining powerful, healthy bones and preventing bone diseases.
11. Cardiovascular Benefits:
The amazing combination of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of thyme helps prevent chronic inflammation which is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease. Thyme oil is particularly beneficial in this regard as its anti-spasmodic property promotes cardiac health. It enables proper functioning of the cardiac valves and relaxes the veins and arteries, reducing blood pressure and strengthening the heart. It is considered a great tonic to improve heart health as it enables your heart to function more efficiently.
12. Controls Blood Pressure:
An aqueous extract from thyme helps in reducing blood pressure in situations of hypertension. The leaves of this herb are rich in potassium which helps in keeping blood pressure and heart rate under control.
13. Treatment of Muscle Cramps:
One of the top health benefits of thyme is its effectiveness in treating menstrual cramps and other types of spasms in the body. Thyme tea is often recommended for treating PMS as well as menstrual cramps in women.
14. Improves Vision:
Thyme is also rich in Vitamin A which is a fat soluble vitamin and an antioxidant. This vitamin helps promote healthy vision and minimize eye diseases.
15. Anti-bacterial Properties:
The antibacterial properties of thyme benefits to fight different varieties of bacteria and fungi, E.coli being one of them. Thyme oil extract has been found to possess fighting power against antibiotic resistant strains of different types of bacteria. It can kill off bacteria both inside and outside the body. Thyme tea is also used to disinfect skin and surfaces.
16. Prevention and Treatment of Anaemia:
Thyme is an excellent source of iron, providing nearly 20 % of the daily recommended allowance of this mineral. Iron is vital for the development of the red blood cells and energy production. Deficiency of iron can cause anaemia, exhaustion and increased susceptibility to infection. Incorporating thyme in your diet helps in the prevention and treatment of anaemia and other blood disorders.
17. Oral Health:
The antibacterial properties of thyme make it one of the popular remedies for bad breath as it helps fight bacteria and infection in your mouth. Increase in bacteria in the mouth is responsible for causing bad breath. Thyme is also used as an ingredient in antiseptic mouthwashes meant to cure cavities and gingivitis.
18. Boosts the Immune System:
Thyme is loaded with antioxidants which keep your body healthy by preventing infections and ailments. The volatile oils in thyme benefit the mind by increasing favorable omega 3 fatty acids within the brain, keeping your body cells healthy and slowing down the ageing process. Fatty acids assist in constructing the cell walls and also preserve the structure of the nervous system, the brain and arteries. Being a strong antioxidant, thyme helps protect these fats from damage caused by free radicals. Thyme is considered a great energy tonic to promote a person’s longevity.
19. Induces Sound Sleep and Lessens Tiredness:
Thyme tea combined with honey is often given to children to induce sound sleep and keep bad dreams at bay. Thyme oil has excellent calming effects. It can relieve your mood and lessen tiredness.
20. Diuretic Properties:
Thyme oil is considered a great diuretic which assists the body in getting rid of excess salts, water and other toxins by increasing urination. These properties make it beneficial for weight loss and lowering blood pressure. It is also useful for individuals with chronic renal failure.
21. Potential Anti-cancer Properties:
Studies have proved that the constituents found in the extracts of Mastic thyme may protect from colon cancer. Consumption of wild thyme has been found to induce cell death in the breast cancer cells.
22. Other Benefits:
The tiger mosquito, commonly known as Aedes mosquito is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. It is responsible for causing yellow fever, dengue fever and chikangunya fever. Research conducted by the American Mosquito Control Association observed that a combination of thymol, carvacrol and alpha-terpinene in thyme can destroy the Tiger mosquito larvae, preventing the incidence of these diseases. Thyme is also effective in killing intestinal worms such as round worms and tape worms, maggots in sores and hookworm.
Thyme Nutritional Value
The amazing thyme benefits can be attributed to its rich nutritional value. The nutrients in thyme have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties. This aromatic herb is loaded with phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins which are vital for good health. The in-depth nutritional profile of this herb is explained in the table given below.
|See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Thyme herb (Thymus vulgaris), Fresh leaves,|
Nutritive value per 100 g. ORAC value 27426,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.68 g||8.4%|
|Dietary Fiber||14.0 g||37%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.409 mg||8%|
- Vitamins: Thyme is also a good source of vitamins. It is particularly rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant, vital for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin as well as good vision. Vitamin C provides resistance against infectious diseases and fights harmful pro-inflammatory free radicals. Among the B-complex vitamins, it is a good source of Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine with a 100 gram serving providing about 0.35 mg or 27% of the daily recommended intake of this vitamin. This vitamin assists in maintaining GABA levels in the brain and acts as a stress buster. Other vitamins found in this herb include Vitamin K, Vitamin E and folic acid.
- Minerals: Thyme is packed with minerals that are vital for optimum health. Its leaves are excellent sources of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and selenium. Potassium, being an important component of cells and body fluids, controls heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Iron is involved in red blood cell formation.
- Volatile oils: Thymol is one of the most important essential oils found in thyme and known for its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It also contains other volatile oils such as carvacolo, geraneol and borneol.
- Antioxidants: Thyme is a rich source of flavonoid phenolic antioxidants such as zea-xanthin, pigenin, lutein, luteolin and thymonin. Fresh thyme has the highest level of antioxidants among all herbs. It boasts of a total ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of 27426-µmol TE/100 grams.
What are you waiting for? Make the most out of your thyme and enjoy its benefits. Do leave us your feedback on this post below.