Thyme is a perennial herb with small, aromatic leaves that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Thyme is primarily native to the Mediterranean Region and Southern Europe. It is a member of the mint family. The most common variety of the species is French Thyme.
Thyme is available in both fresh and dried forms. It is also processed into liquid tinctures and processed through extraction or distillation to make an essential oil. In this article, we will explore thyme health benefits, nutritional value, and uses of the herb.
Thyme Health Benefits
Thyme contains the volatile oil thymol that is responsible for many of its health benefits. Thymol has been mainly studied for its antiseptic and anti-fungal qualities.
Thyme is one of the best antioxidant herbs. Fresh thyme contains significant levels of phenols, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and thymonin, as well as vitamins A and C. These antioxidants are responsible for eradicating dangerous free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what causes premature aging and encourages the growth of certain diseases, such as cancers.
The mineral content in thyme, notably iron, is essential for the formation of red blood cells. The potassium in thyme is an electrolyte that is useful in lowering blood pressure which, in turn, helps to prevent strokes.
Disinfectant and Anti-fungal Properties
Thymol is known to possess antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. This is useful when ingested to help rid the body of systemic yeast. Diluted thyme essential oil can aid in eradicating fungal infections of the skin and nails.
Upper Respiratory Conditions
Thyme is often used in alternative medicine as a therapy to treat coughs, congestions, and inflammation in the sinuses. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and expectorant that can help to loosen phlegm in the lungs and mucus in the nasal passages.
It is not uncommon to find thyme extract in mouthwashes and natural toothpastes. Its antiseptic qualities and strong aroma aid in cleaning the teeth, gums, and tongue of bacteria and odors. The calcium in thyme oil is beneficial to tooth structure.
Overall Immunity Booster
This herb has good amount of vitamin C. C helps to boost overall immunity and fight disease. The vitamins and minerals in thyme provide a natural defense mechanism that helps protect the body from common infections, such as the flu.
Thyme Nutritional Value
The values discussed here are based on 100 grams of fresh thyme herb leaves.
Fresh thyme is a very good source of dietary fiber, providing 37% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). It has zero cholesterol. The combination of these two elements makes thyme a great heart-healthy addition to your diet. Thyme leaves also provide you with 10% RDA of protein and 18% RDA of carbohydrates. There are only 101 calories in 100 grams of thyme leaves.
The most potent vitamin in thyme is C at 266% RDA. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and immune booster. C also helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells.
Another of the thyme health benefits is its rich source of vitamin A at 158% RDA. Vitamin A is another antioxidant that is required for the maintenance of healthy mucus membranes, clear skin, and bright eyesight.
Thyme leaves are also a good source of many of the B vitamins. Thyme provides 27% RDA of vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine. B-6 helps our bodies to keeps up with the production of GABA levels in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate stress.
The iron content of thyme leaves is impressive at 218% RDA. Iron assists in the formation of red blood cells. Plant-based iron sources play a role in your ability to metabolize iron from other sources, such as animal protein and whole grains.
There are 405 mgs of Calcium in thyme. Season dishes liberally with this herb to assist with the health of your bones, skin, and teeth.
With 160 mgs of magnesium, you can support your central nervous system, restore muscle fibers, and aid in getting restful sleep. Magnesium is also beneficial to overall cardiovascular health, especially the heart muscle itself.
Now that we are familiar with thyme health benefits and nutritional values, let’s take a look at how to use thyme in its various forms.
Cooking with Thyme
Thyme is aromatic and quite a popular seasoning in poultry dishes. One of the best uses for fresh or dried thyme leaves is in chicken soup, a go-to remedy for relieving chest cold symptoms. That might be as much the nutrients in the chicken as it is the herbs and spices with their anti-microbial properties. Thyme is a classic herb to add (generously) to chicken soup when battling a cold.
It is so easy to make thyme tea to help relieve chest congestion and clear sinuses. You simply add 2 branches of fresh thyme leaves to a mug of boiling water and allow it to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Add a little honey and lemon to help with a sore throat.
Salve for Fungal Infections
You can apply thyme essential oil to nail or skin fungal infections by adding a few drops of the oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, which is also anti-fungal. Rub this on the affected area daily to help clear the infection. This has also been shown to be effective for acne.
Liquid Tincture for Yeast and Intestinal Parasites
Thyme oil is available in liquid tincture preparations. Thyme is strong by itself, so placing a few drops of the tincture in your water bottle to sip on is a more pleasant way to reap the benefits.
It is not uncommon to see spray bottles of natural cleaning solutions in yoga and Pilates studios for wiping down mats and equipment. These often contain thyme essential oil in them as the main disinfecting ingredient. You can add a few drops of thyme oil to your homemade, safe cleaning solutions.
Dried thyme can be placed in a simmering pot of water on your stovetop to help clear the air and your sinuses of bacteria. Thyme essential oil can be diffused into the air for the energizing and cleansing effects.
Thyme is an ancient herb that has been revered by many cultures for its aromatic and medicinal properties. You can cook with it liberally. As well, thyme health benefits and nutritional values are clearly impressive. This is a savory herb with many uses, including all natural cleaning. We always enjoy hearing from our readers about their experiences with herbs. Please feel free to share any insight you have on thyme.