Table of Contents
Belonging to a lineage of the Lamiaceae or Mintfamily, Thyme has much more to its name than just culinary diversity. A perennially growing, aromatic herb, Thyme has always been considered an important part of the flavour palette, not only due to its savoury versatility, but also because of medicinal significance and health benefits of thyme, in everyday life.
The remedial properties of Thyme led to its importance, dating back to the time of World War, when it was used as an antidote to poison and for plague prevention.
12 Amazing Nutritional and Health Benefits of Thyme
1. Rich in nutrients
Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, are needed by the body for effective functioning. They keep your body healthy and nourish it. They can reduce your risk for chronic diseases. Thyme is considered rich in essential minerals and vitamins required for ideal health. It is packed with Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium and Selenium which, in turn, help control heart rate and blood pressure, act as a co-factor for antioxidant enzymes and are important for red blood cell formation. Vitamin C helps the body develop an immunity against infectious agents, while Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy skin, vision and protects the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
2. Has antioxidant properties
Oxidation is a chemical reaction producing free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms. Substances that inhibit oxidation, especially ones used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products are known as antioxidants. Such substances are usually rich in vitamin C or E that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. With an impressive concentration of antioxidants such as apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin, Thyme boosts overall health by eliminating the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism, and by preventing oxidative stress present in your organs.
3. Prevents respiratory ailments
Thyme is generally used to constrict lung congestions, thereby preventing respiratory illnesses such as Asthma, Bronchitis, inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs; Common cold, flu and any infections in the upper respiratory tract. Upper respiratory tract infections are infections in the upper respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx causing serious illnesses. It relieves cough that often brings up mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness.
4. Promotes oral health
Oral health is a very important part of a person’s overall well-being, since its ignorance can lead to other serious health issues such as heart diseases. Systemic diseases, diseases that usually affect the entire body, first become apparent due of mouth lesions or other oral problems. It signifies general infection or deficiency in nutrition.Thyme oil is used in mouthwashes to fight oral germs, laryngitis, tonsillitis, dental decay, mouth sores, plaque formation, sore throat and bad breath.
5. Helps in better digestion
Indigestion is a sign of an underlying problem, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, gall bladder infections or ulcers. It can be identified by a recurrent or persistent pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Thyme helps in improving digestion of food with high fats, improves functioning of the liver, has a relaxing effect on the gastrointestinal tract muscles, is effective in case of intestinal infections and relieves gas by its carminative properties, which heals an upset stomach and prevents indigestion. It also acts as an appetite stimulant. Thyme tea also arrests gastric fermentation
6. Possesses antibacterial properties
Volatile oils in Thyme, such as Thymol, possess powerful antibacterial properties that actively fight against a host of bacteria and fungi such as E.Coli, Bacillus subtilis and the deadly ShigellaSonnei. Other volatile oils also include carvacrol, borneol, and geraniol that possess antiseptic properties which serve as cataplasm for wounds, ointments for fighting infection in scrapes and cuts and to deter bacterial infections of insect stings. It also prevents fungal and viral infections, which reduces the strain on our immunity. It is used considerably in medication for surgical dressings. Caffeic acid, found in Thyme, kills pathogenic microorganisms.
7. Provides for eye care
Eye health is generally taken for granted, although it is one of the most important senses of a human being. The presence of Vitamin A, found in Thyme makes it an effective antioxidant for your eyes, thereby neutralizing free radicals and preventing cataracts. It is also used in eyewash for sore eyes. As Thyme is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids too, good eye health is ensured.
8. Improves mental health
Mental health and psychological well-being of a person in this day and age, is extremely important to take care of. Sure, there are a lot of other measures to ensure proper mental health, but the food on your plate also plays a major role in the same. Apigenin, a substance present in Thyme, improves neuron formation and the connections between brain cells. It works positively towards the maturity, development and function of the nervous system. It delays the onset of neurodegenerative disorders such as Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and Parkinson’s. Thyme oil is also used in mood enhancing aromatherapy for antidepressant inhalations.
9. Enhances immunity
Immunity is the balanced state of multicellular organisms having adequate biological defences to fight infection or other unwanted biological invasions, while having adequate tolerance to avoid allergy, and autoimmune diseases. The high concentration of Vitamin C, in Thyme, make it a natural immunity booster, by stimulating the production of white blood cells, the first line of defence in the body’s immune system. It also promotes the production of collagen, which is essential for the creation and repair of cells, tissues,muscles, and blood vessels.
10. Useful for skin care
Thyme can be applied directly to the skin as a counterirritant to fight skin issues like oily skin, acne, sciatica, dermatitis, skin condition and bug bites. It is not as irritant to wounds, while its germicidal action is great, which is why it is preferable as an antiseptics to treat ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, broken chilblains, parasitic skin affections and burns. It is also applied to the ears to fight bacterial and fungal infections and on the scalp to treat baldness.
11. Stimulates a healthy heart
Potassium and manganese are considered important for a healthy heart, however the rich mix of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants in thyme also have many small effects that sum up to stimulate better heart health. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, which means that it can reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels. Thyme can, thus, extend your life by avoiding strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart diseases and by preventing atherosclerosis, the narrowing of arteries due to building up of plaque.
12. Improves blood circulation
Poor blood circulation comes with its own set of diseases such as digestive problems, numbness, fatigue, joint pains, cramps, and so on. The high concentration of iron and other essential minerals in thyme,make it ideal for promoting the production of red blood cells, thereby encouraging blood circulation and oxygenation to the essential organ systems of the body. It, thus keeps you free from a lot of diseases.
BONUS: Some other benefits of Thyme
Thyme assists in promoting perspiration at the beginning of a cold or fever. It is also helpful in increasing urine flow to disinfect the urine. Studies on volatile oil of Thyme, Thymol reported its ability to significantly increase healthy fats throughout the cells and even increase the DHAcontent in kidney, heart, and brain cell membranes, which ensures the cell development of brain, retina and other parts of the nervous system. This combination of attributes in the oils, vitamins and minerals can also be an effective cancer preventive. Thyme also prevents contamination and decontaminates previously contaminated foods. It also prevents headache, drowsinessand an increase in plasma triglyceride and cholesterol. It causes cell death in breast cancer cells and fights various fungal infections.
With such innumerable benefits, it’s definite that there’s nothing a sprig of Thyme couldn’t heal!
Growing Thyme is also a fairly easy affair, due to the stem cutting process. These plants do not usually require any special care and are acclimatised to any neutral environment just as well. It is generally planted during spring and thereafter grows throughout the year on a well-drained soil. It can, however, tolerate drought well.
Thyme finds itself in ancient history due to its properties. In Egypt, Thyme was used in the embalming process, to preserve human remains. The ancient Greeks used it as an incense in temples and added it in bathwater. The Romans used it to flavour their cheese and alcohol and believed it to be a cure for people who were shy or melancholic. It was put to a wide range of medicinal use in the ancient times before it gained reputation in the modern world. During the Middle Ages, Europeans also put Thyme under their pillows to ward off nightmares and to aid sound sleep. Thyme was given to warriors during war, as a sign of courage and respect.