It’s thyme we understood the great stuff residing inside our kitchen cabinets and refrigerator shelves. Because that’s where the secret to health lies.
And it’s thyme you read this post – because here we tell you why .. well .. read and you will know.
What Is Thyme?
Scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, thyme belongs to the mint family, and it is a relative of the oregano genus Origanum. It is an evergreen herb and is used for medicinal, culinary, and ornamental purposes.
Also called ‘thym’ in French, ‘thymian’ in German, ‘tomillo’ in Spanish, and ‘timi’ in Indonesia, thyme is usually measured as sprigs – a sprig of thyme might give you half a tablespoon of leaves when peeled off. Of course, this again depends on the size of the stems. The word ‘thyme’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘thumus’, which means courage. Since ancient times, thyme has been associated with bravery and even used as a natural anti-depressant.
Thyme comes in different varieties as well. Here, we look at them in brief:
French or Common Thyme, which is the most common variety of thyme.
Lemon Thyme, which is a spreading subshrub that can grow a foot tall. It is best used for cooking and is also one of the most fragrant of the lot.
What Are The Benefits Of Thyme?
1. Improves Heart Health
Studies are aplenty to back this up. The extract of thyme was found to reduce heart rate significantly in rats with high blood pressure. And we can expect similar results in humans as well. Thyme was also found to lower cholesterol levels.
What you can do is replace salt with thyme in your meals. This can protect you from the ill effects of high blood pressure.
Another study talks about how thyme can help treat atherosclerosis, one major form of cardiovascular disease
2. Helps Fight Cancer
One Portuguese study had revealed that thyme could prevent cancer, especially that of the colon. These properties can be attributed to its constituents – some of which include oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, lutein, and beta-sitosterol
Thyme also had a beneficial effect on breast cancer. The herb had improved cell death, aiding in the treatment of breast cancer.
Another major component of thyme essential oil that helps prevent cancer is carvacrol – one study found that carvacrol can inhibit the proliferation and migration of cancer cell lines. The compound exhibits therapeutic effects towards the treatment and even prevention of cancer, especially colon cancer
3. Treats Inflammation
Studies have shown that thyme oil can suppress COX-2, which is an inflammatory enzyme that leads to several inflammatory ailments. Carvacrol, the major chemical in the oil, was found to play a role in this . Carvacrol was found to suppress inflammation like resveratrol – another powerful compound in red wine that has been linked to several health benefits.
Another study talks about how carvacrol and another compound called thymol in thyme essential oil can fight inflammation . The oil is also used to ease the painful symptoms of arthritis and gout.
4. Boosts Immunity
Thyme is packed with vitamin C, and that explains everything. It also is a good source of vitamin A – both these nutrients help boost immunity and stop that oncoming cold right in its tracks.
Thyme also supports the formation of white blood cells, thereby boosting the immune system. And its anti-inflammatory effects also help boost immunity. Given its mild scent and flavor, it can be used in a steam tent for help with cold and congestion .
Thyme can also accelerate wound healing. Its local application can help achieve this.
5. Aids In The Treatment of Dyspraxia
Also called Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), dyspraxia is a neurological disorder that affects movement. Thyme has been found to improve the symptoms of this disease, especially in children.
Thyme oil was also one of the oils used in a study to find the effects of essential oils in the treatment of neurological ailments like dyspraxia. And the results of the study showed promise.
However, we need more studies to form a concrete base in this regard.
6. Improves Digestive Health
Thyme oil stimulates the elimination of toxins and other harmful bacteria, and this inadvertently improves your digestive system. Thyme tea is also known to relieve indigestion and related issues like gas and bloating. This effect can be attributed to the volatile oils in thyme that offer carminative (reducing gas) properties. Thyme also works as an antispasmodic and helps relieve intestinal cramps.
7. Treats Respiratory Issues
Remember what Hippocrates told 2300 years ago? Yes. And we already discussed this. Thyme boosts immunity, and this helps treat most respiratory issues. And even otherwise, thyme has been used traditionally to treat respiratory ailments like bronchitis and cough. In fact, thyme has been approved by The German Commission E (a governmental regulatory agency) for its use in treating respiratory discomfort.
One study suggests the use of thyme and ivy leaves for alleviating cough and other symptoms of acute bronchitis. Drinking thyme tea the next time you have a cough or a sore throat can offer relief.
8. Helps Relieve Menstrual Issues
One study tells us how thyme can help treat dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation that involves abdominal cramps). Thyme might also help treat a yeast infection, especially that of the vagina.
However, we don’t have enough information on this. Hence, consult your doctor before using it for this purpose.
9. Improves Vision Health
Thyme is rich in vitamin A, one nutrient particularly beneficial for vision health. The deficiency of vitamin A can lead to night blindness. Thyme might also help prevent other issues related to vision – including macular degeneration.
Studies show that thyme might have properties to improve your vision.
10. Enhances Oral Health
Studies have shown how thyme oil can help relieve infections of the oral cavity. The oil displayed great efficacy against bacteria that had grown resistant to antibiotics (14).
You can also use thyme as a mouthwash for maintaining your oral health. Simply add one drop of the oil to a cup of warm water. Swish in your mouth and spit it out.
As per another study, thyme oil can also act as an effective antiseptic treatment against oral pathogens. A few other oral issues thyme can help with are gingivitis, plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of thyme help achieve this. And thymol, the component in thyme, can be used as a dental varnish to protect the teeth from decaying.
11. Can Help Heal Headaches
The carvacrol in thyme gets the credit here. This compound inhibits COX2 (like we saw), pretty much like an anti-inflammatory drug. You just have to dab a few drops of thyme essential oil on your temples and forehead. Gently rub into your skin and stay put for a while until you feel relief.
Thyme oil is also said to relieve migraines – though there is no concrete research. The oil can relieve stress – the antioxidants in it protect your cells from stress and toxins.
Thyme essential oil might also boost your mood if inhaled.
12. Improves Skin Health
Given its antibacterial and antifungal properties, thyme oil can protect your skin from related infections. It works as a home remedy for acne. The oil also heals sores, wounds, scars, and cuts. It even relieves burns and acts as a natural remedy for skin rashes.
Thyme oil can cure eczema as well – the embarrassing skin condition with dry and itchy scales that blister and crack. Eczema is often caused by poor digestion and stress – and since thyme improves the two conditions, it can help heal eczema as well.
And since thyme is high in antioxidants, it can slow down the aging process and give you healthy and glowing skin.
For treating acne, you can use thyme along with witch hazel. Steep the two in hot water for about 20 minutes. Then, use a cotton ball to apply to the affected areas. Wait for 20 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
13. Cuts The Risk Of Food Poisoning
There is no substantial research in this regard. But since thyme has antibacterial properties and can act against several types of bacteria, it can help relieve the serious effects of food poisoning. Do talk to your doctor before using it, though.
One small study shows how certain food-poisoning bacteria had become more sensitive once exposed to thyme.
The goodness of thyme is not limited to its benefits alone. It has other uses that make it all the more indispensable in your kitchen.
14. Could Be Good For Hair
Thyme, when combined with other herbs, can cure hair loss. You can simply apply lavender oil mixed with thyme on your hair – certain studies show this method can improve hair growth by 44% in 7 months.
Thyme tea can also be used as a hair rinse as a cure for dandruff.