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7 Awesome Health Benefits Of Thyme And How To Use It

Health Benefits Of Thyme

Thyme is one of the herbs used in traditional medicines across various cultures. It also complements modern medicine in treating issues like heart disease, hypertension, infections, and cancer. This flavorsome herb will make not just your food better but also your health and life. However, as with all other herbs, taking large quantities of this herb will have unwanted side effects.

Spices and herbs have been used in various cultures since ages for multiple issues – some superstitious and some medicinal. Let’s try to delve deeper and get to know about just one of those amazing herbs – thyme. Now, we cannot really assure you if keeping thyme under your pillow will wade off nightmares. What we can do is tell you how exactly thyme helps keep your body and mind healthy.

Nutritional Benefits Of Thyme

From its flowers and leaves to its essential oil, all part of this Mediterranean plant are useful. This is because it has a balanced set of nutrients perfect for some health issues. Here’s what 100 g of fresh thyme contains:

Nutrients Quantity
Vitamin C 405 g
Iron 17.45 mg
Magnesium 160 mg
Total Dietary Fiber 14 g

Thyme also contains a high level of flavonoids and phenolic compounds, comprising a huge base of antioxidants that are useful in treating many diseases.1

1. Prevents Coronary Heart Disease

Taking this herb as a part of your diet can make your heart stronger and prevent cardiac issues. With their antioxidant property, the flavonoids in thyme can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.2 Also, certain components of this herb are anti-inflammatory, which also keeps your heart healthy.3

2. Lowers Blood Pressure And Hypertension

Our unhealthy lifestyle and the stress that comes along with it causes many health issues, the most common being hypertension or high blood pressure. Thyme can equip you to handle such issues by reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. According to one study, this effect was seen in mice injected with an extract of wild thyme, making it a promising complementary medicine for hypertension.4

3. Prevents Food-Borne Infections

Thyme can protect you from food poisoning and infections caused by food-borne pathogens. It is a great food preservative for products like meat, as it fights bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus that cause food poisoning.5

The antibacterial ability of thyme is more effective than that of cinnamon, bay, and clove in preventing food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria monocytogenes.6 7 8 And thyme essential oil seeps through the skin and effectively kills parasites that can cause various diseases in a way that the condition does not relapse.9

4. Fights Cancer

Thyme is a herb that can complement cancer treatment and medications of various types.

  • Thyme is considered a good anticancer agent for uterine cervical carcinoma due to its antioxidant properties.10
  • A component of thyme called carvacrol can reduce the growth and cause the death of colon cancer cells.11

However, some suggest that thyme exhibits an estrogen-like behavior, which might cause adverse effects in hormone-sensitive health issues like breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis. To be on the safer side, discuss with your doctor before using thyme when suffering from cancer.

5. Relieves Respiratory Disorders

Thyme is a common ingredient in traditional medicines for respiratory issues. An extract of thyme dilates the bronchi and bronchioli and relieves the respiratory airway. The herb is also antispasmodic, which contributes to curing asthma, tonsillitis, and coughing fits.12 13 Thyme and ivy leaves is a frequently used combination for bronchitis and cough as well.14

6. Improves Mood

Thyme is one of the essential oils used in aromatherapy. By working on neurotransmitters, it influences the activity of neurons and might thus improve your mood. 15 This might alleviate nervous conditions like depression, insomnia, and nightmares.

7. Rejuvenates Skin

Due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, thyme is used in many skin care products to treat skin disorders. With its antioxidants, the herb also reduces the effect of UV radiation on the skin.16 17 However, like all other oils and herbs, this might have an allergic reaction on your skin. So, try applying a small amount to figure out if it works out for you.

Other Uses

  1. Anemia: According to one study, the combination of thyme and soybean has been able to rectify iron deficiency and resulting anemia in rats. However, contradictory studies have also shown that excessive thyme tea consumption can actually cause anemia.18 19
  2. Bone health: There are no direct studies linking thyme to healthy bone development. However, the herb contains high amounts of calcium, iron, and other vitamins that usually promote bone health, make them strong, and prevent any diseases.
  3. Hair care: Thyme essential oil is used in aromatherapy treatment mixes to remove dandruff and promote hair growth.20

Side Effects Of Using Thyme

  1. Taking large doses of thyme can make you feel nauseous.
  2. Pure thyme essential oil is strong and can cause headaches. Always dilute it with a carrier oil to avoid inflammation and burns as well.
  3. A large amount of thyme might increase bleeding, so avoid using it after surgery or any injuries.
  4. Consult your doctor about thyme use if you’re pregnant as it might cause allergic reactions.

How To Use Thyme

Both fresh and dried thyme leaves are used to spice up dishes. Dried thyme is more convenient as it lasts for about 6 months if stored in a cool, dry place. Fresh thyme lasts only for about a week. Thankfully, in most dishes, dried and fresh thyme can be used interchangeably. For medicinal purposes, you can buy thyme in the form of essential oils, tincture, or tea.

You can talk to your doctor about its use or just experiment with small quantities and see if it suits your body type. Too much of anything is bad for your health, so be careful with the amount of thyme you use. Make your food delicious, your body healthy, and your mood happy with this brilliant herb. Do let us know how you use thyme and how it has helped you!

References   [ + ]

1. Hossain, Mohammad Amzad, Khulood Ahmed Salim AL-Raqmi, Zawan Hamood AL-Mijizy, Afaf Mohammed Weli, and Qasim Al-Riyami. “Study of total phenol, flavonoids contents and phytochemical screening of various leaves crude extracts of locally grown Thymus vulgaris.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 3, no. 9 (2013): 705-710.
2. Hollman, P. C. H., M. G. L. Hertog, and M. B. Katan. “Role of dietary flavonoids in protection against cancer and coronary heart disease.” Biochemical Society Transactions 24 (1996): 785-789.
3. Braga, Pier Carlo, Monica Dal Sasso, Maria Culici, Tiziana Bianchi, Luca Bordoni, and Laura Marabini. “Anti-inflammatory activity of thymol: inhibitory effect on the release of human neutrophil elastase.” Pharmacology 77, no. 3 (2006): 130-136.
4. Mihailovic-Stanojevic, N., Ana Belščak-Cvitanović, J. Grujić-Milanović, Milan Ivanov, Dj Jovović, Dijana Bugarski, and Zoran Miloradović. “Antioxidant and antihypertensive activity of extract from Thymus serpyllum L. in experimental hypertension.” Plant foods for human nutrition 68, no. 3 (2013): 235-240.
5. Aktuğ, Şahika Esen, and Mehmet Karapinar. “Sensitivity of some common food-poisoning bacteria to thyme, mint and bay leaves.” International Journal of Food Microbiology 3, no. 6 (1986): 349-354.
6. Smith-Palmer, A., J. Stewart, and Lorna Fyfe. “Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils and essences against five important food-borne pathogens.” Letters in applied microbiology 26, no. 2 (1998): 118-122.
7. Xu, J., F. Zhou, B‐P. Ji, R‐S. Pei, and N. Xu. “The antibacterial mechanism of carvacrol and thymol against Escherichia coli.” Letters in Applied Microbiology 47, no. 3 (2008): 174-179.
8. Didry, Nicole, Luc Dubreuil, and Madeleine Pinkas. “Activity of thymol, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol on oral bacteria.” Pharmaceutica Acta Helvetiae 69, no. 1 (1994): 25-28.
9. Santoro, Giani F., Maria das Graças Cardoso, Luiz Gustavo L. Guimarães, Ana Paula SP Salgado, Rubem FS Menna-Barreto, and Maurilio J. Soares. “Effect of oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) essential oils on Trypanosoma cruzi (Protozoa: Kinetoplastida) growth and ultrastructure.” Parasitology research 100, no. 4 (2007): 783-790.
10. Mastelic, Josip, Igor Jerkovic, Ivica Blažević, Marija Poljak-Blaži, Suzana Borović, Ivana Ivančić-Baće, Vilko Smrečki et al. “Comparative study on the antioxidant and biological activities of carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol derivatives.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 56, no. 11 (2008): 3989-3996.
11. Fan, Kai, Xiaolei Li, Yonggang Cao, Hanping Qi, Lei Li, Qianhui Zhang, and Hongli Sun. “Carvacrol inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human colon cancer cells.” Anti-cancer drugs 26, no. 8 (2015): 813-823.
12. Engelbertz, Jonas, Matthias Lechtenberg, Lena Studt, Andreas Hensel, and Eugen J. Verspohl. “Bioassay-guided fractionation of a thymol-deprived hydrophilic thyme extract and its antispasmodic effect.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 141, no. 3 (2012): 848-853.
13. Soni, Nirav Rajendrakumar. “TO STUDY THE HERBALISM OF THYME LEAVES.”
14. Kemmerich, Bernd, Reinhild Eberhardt, and Holger Stammer. “Efficacy and tolerability of a fluid extract combination of thyme herb and ivy leaves and matched placebo in adults suffering from acute bronchitis with productive cough.” Arzneimittelforschung 56, no. 09 (2006): 652-660.
15. Zotti, Margherita, Marilena Colaianna, Maria Grazia Morgese, Paolo Tucci, Stefania Schiavone, Pinarosa Avato, and Luigia Trabace. “Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent.” Molecules 18, no. 6 (2013): 6161-6172.
16. Wei, Alfreda, and Takayuki Shibamoto. “Antioxidant activities of essential oil mixtures toward skin lipid squalene oxidized by UV irradiation.” Cutaneous and ocular toxicology 26, no. 3 (2007): 227-233.
17. Kruma, Zanda, Mirjana Andjelkovic, Roland Verhe, Viesturs Kreicbergs, D. Karklina, and P. R. Venskutonis. “Phenolic compounds in basil, oregano and thyme.” Foodbalt 5, no. 7 (2008): 99-103.
18. El-Sheikh, Nora M. “The Protective Effect of Soybean and Thyme on Iron Deficiency Anemia in Rats.” Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine 33 (2008): 510-520.
19. Akdogan, Mehmet, Ahmet Nesimi Kisioglu, Metin Ciris, and Ahmet Koyu. “Investigating the effectiveness of different tea types from various thyme kinds (Origanum onites, Thymbra spicata and Satureja cuneifolia) on anemia and anticholesterolemic activity.” Toxicology and industrial health 30, no. 10 (2014): 938-949.
20. Hay, Isabelle C., Margaret Jamieson, and Anthony D. Ormerod. “Randomized trial of aromatherapy: successful treatment for alopecia areata.” Archives of dermatology 134, no. 11 (1998): 1349-1352.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.