Do you like pesto sauce? If yes, you may know about the herb thyme, which is one of the main ingredients in pesto sauce.
Thyme is a wonderful ingredient used in different cuisines around the world. Apart from culinary use, thyme has many medicinal uses, too. The nutrients in thyme have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.
Thymol is one of the most important volatile oils found in thyme that offers antiseptic and antifungal properties. Other volatile oils in thyme include carvacrol, geraniol and borneol.
Being rich in flavonoid phenolic compounds like zeaxanthin, pigenin, lutein, luteolin and thymosin, thyme also works as a natural antioxidant. In fact, fresh thyme has the highest level of antioxidants among all herbs.
This aromatic herb is also a good source of vitamins. It is particularly rich in vitamins A and C. Other nutrients found in this herb include vitamins K and E, folic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and selenium.
Its leaves, flowers and oil have been used in the treatment of several ailments. It is available in both fresh and dried forms. You can use it in many different ways, including as tea.
To make thyme tea:
- Add 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves (fresh or dried) in 1 cup of boiling water.
- Cover, let it steep for 10 minutes and strain it.
Here are the top 10 medicinal benefits of thyme.
1. Stops Coughing
Thyme can help alleviate coughing as well as a sore throat. Due to its expectorant properties and antibiotic and antiseptic compounds, thyme can provide relief from respiratory conditions like colds, coughs and a sore throat.
It also helps reduce congestion, be making mucus thinner and easier to eliminate.
Along with easing colds and coughs, thyme works as an effective remedy for upper respiratory infections. It helps soothe irritated airways, fight infection in the lungs and prevent bronchial spasms.
A 2006 study published in Drug Research found that the efficacy and tolerability of a fixed fluid extract combination of thyme and ivy leaves is higher as compared to a matched placebo in patients suffering from acute bronchitis with a productive cough.
When you have any kind of respiratory problem, drink a few cups of warm thyme tea to get instant relief.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Thyme has an antihypertensive property that can help lower blood pressure. Its diuretic properties help the body get rid of excess salts, water and other toxins by increasing urination. Also, the herb contains a good amount of potassium, which is essential for your body fluids and cells.
Potassium helps regulate blood pressure levels and promotes heart health.
A 2013 study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that an aqueous extract obtained from wild thyme reduced blood pressure in laboratory rats.
A study published in 2014 in Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica reports that thyme contains certain active compound(s) that are possibly responsible for the antihypertensive activity.
- Use thyme as a substitute for salt in your cooking to help lower your blood pressure.
- You can also drink thyme tea regularly.
3. Boosts Immunity
You can stay well throughout the year by supporting a strong immune system with the immune-boosting herb thyme.
Thyme is high in thymol, which gives it antimicrobial properties that help protect you against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Also, being rich in antioxidants, thyme prevents oxidative damage to DNA in human lymphocytes.
A 2011 study published in Medicinal Chemistry found thyme oil to be effective against resistant strains of staphylococcus, enterococcus, Escherichia and pseudomonas bacteria.
The herb is also a rich source of several vitamins that your body needs every day to function properly. It is packed with vitamin C and also has vitamin A, both of which support immunity.
Plus, thyme is a good source of copper, fiber, iron and manganese, which are needed for good health.
- Use this herb as a culinary spice or as a tea to boost your immunity.
- You can also take this herb in supplement form, but only after consulting your doctor.
4. Improves Oral Health
Thyme contains antibacterial properties that help treat or prevent oral infections. A component of thyme oil, thymol, is used in dental care products because of its natural ability to prevent tooth decay and gum problems.
A 2011 study published in Journal of Basic and Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences found thyme essential oil to be effective against Streptococcus mutans bacteria that contribute to dental caries and tooth decay.
Thyme also works against oral problems like gum inflammation and mouth sores.
Rinsing for 30 seconds with a thymol solution can get rid of the mouth bacteria that could have led to further medical problems.
- Mix 1 or 2 drops of thyme oil in 1 cup of lukewarm water. You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil as well. Rinse your mouth with it for 30 seconds, twice daily.
- You can also rinse your mouth with thyme tea a few times a day.
5. Boosts Your Mood
Thyme or thyme oil also has a positive effect on your feelings and mood.
Thyme has an active substance known as carvacrol, which acts as a memory booster and an antidepressant
A 2013 study published in Molecules suggests that carvacrol is a brain-active molecule that clearly influences neuronal activity through modulation of neurotransmitters. If regularly ingested in low concentrations, carvacrol influences feelings of well-being.
6. Treats Acne and Other Skin Problems
Due to its antibacterial properties, thyme is effective at battling the bacteria that causes acne.
A 2012 study by the Society for General Microbiology found that herbal preparations of thyme could be more effective at treating skin acne than prescription creams. However, more clinical testing is needed for an effective, gentler treatment for the skin condition.
It can also reduce the appearance of scars and other marks on the skin.
Thyme has antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals, which cause premature aging signs.
Plus, thyme has yeast-inhibiting properties that help treat candida and yeast infections.
- Add 2 or 3 drops of thyme essential oil in 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
- Apply on your skin and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Do this once daily for a few days to treat acne and blemishes.
The oil is gentle, so it is fine to use on all skin types.