From Cooking to Medicine and Aromatherapy: 7 Health Benefits of Thyme
7 minute read
Maybe instead of saying how they wish they had more time, people should say they wish they had more thyme. The key to feeling better and being healthier might be in having more thyme in your diet.
Thyme is a Mediterranean herb and has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties and as a food additive. This versatile plant is a key player in the healthy Mediterranean diet and is a contributor to this heart-healthy lifestyle way of eating.
Whether you want to take a thyme supplement, add more of it to your diet, use the leaves for health reasons, or take advantage of the essential oils from it, time can give you a better handle on your health.
Health Benefits of Thyme
The uses for thyme are very diverse, part of this reason is that it’s been used for so long. The following are some of the ways you can discover the benefits of thyme.
1. Acne Treatment
Sick of fighting the zit? Thyme is known for its antibacterial properties, which makes it a good candidate for battling acne.
Research out of Leeds Metropolitan University has discovered that alcohol-based thyme extract kills the bacteria that causes acne. In fact, it appears to do a better job than the benzoyl peroxide that’s commonly used today.
To extract out the beneficial properties of thyme, it’s soaked in alcohol for days or weeks to create a tincture. That tincture was tested in labs, not on people, to see how effective it was at killing bacteria, and the results were very impressive.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
There’s great news for people with high blood pressure or those who want to ward off hypertension a natural way. There is more than one agent in thyme that may be responsible for its reputation for antihypertensive effects.
One study looked at the aerial parts of Thymus linearis benth. Not only did this extract produce a significant drop in the heart rate of hypertensive rats, but it also showed a drop in cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL levels.
In other good news, it also elevated HDL cholesterol levels. These studies note that not only do they show the potential for future use in maintaining blood pressure, but they also authenticate traditional use of this plant in ancient medicine.
The other study focused on rosmarinic acid, the predominant phenolic compound of thyme extract. Rosmarinic acid has a lot of known benefits and is considered antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and an immunostimulating agent.
This study found that thyme extract produces a normalization of arterial blood pressure. This supports the fact that rosmarinic acid is also an antihypertensive and antioxidant agent.
3. Alleviates Coughs
A study looking at people with a cough associated with bronchitis found that the combination of thyme-ivy appears to improve cough days faster than placebo, and there was a reduction of up to 50% in coughing fits. For anyone suffering from a cough, this is great news that will alleviate their suffering much quicker.
4. Immunity Booster
When your body is busy fighting off cold and flu season, you need a lot of vitamin C and vitamin A, luckily thyme is packed with both. It’s also a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese.
| Related: 10 Immune-Boosting Juices for Flu Season |
5. Disinfectant and Fungicide
Want to combat mold and fungus in your home? There’s a fresh new way to do it.
The essential oil of thyme is known as thymol, it possesses a wide range of fungicidal activities that exhibit long-range properties. This means it’s a great way to clean mold from your home and to keep it fresh smelling at the same time.
A study from Croatia brought us this good news on the antifungal benefits of thyme oil.
6. Ward Off Mosquitos
Prevention is a big part of health, and preventing mosquito, and other bug bites can be a great way to protect yourself from several different illnesses. Once again, we return to thymol, the oil that comes from thyme. It’s already used as an ingredient in many different pesticides that are used both inside and outside of the home.
If you want to create your own thyme oil mosquito repellant, mix four drops of thymol with a teaspoon of olive oil or mix five drops of thymol with two ounces of water.
7. Mood Elevator
Thyme essential oil is promoted for its mood calming and elevating properties, and there’s science to back up those claims. The isolated properties of thyme oil are thymol and carvacrol.
The benefits of thymol have been listed, but in this situation, it’s carvacrol that gets the attention. In a study published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, carvacrol was shown to have an antidepressant-like effect.
While there haven’t yet been many studies into the effects of carvacrol, the research that’s coming in on thyme is very promising, especially in the areas of mood and overall well-being.
The Bottom Line
The herb thyme is a common spice in the Mediterranean diet. While the foods in this region of the world get a lot of credit for the health benefits, the spices shouldn’t be ignored. Case in point, thyme.
Thyme is loaded with benefits from the leaves to the oil. It’s long been known to have curative effects, and it’s been used by the Ancient Egyptians, the Romans, and in the European Middle Ages.
Today researchers have turned their interest to thyme and are discovering it’s good for warding off mosquitos, clearing up acne, boosting mood and overall sense of well-being, lowering blood pressure, improving your immune system, and more. In addition to all of its health benefits, thyme adds great flavor to foods without adding calories.
If you’re looking to incorporate more thyme into your life, try cooking with dried or fresh thyme leaves, use the thyme essential oil in a diffuser throughout the home, or use the oil topically, and internally.
For an even easier method of ingesting thyme, look for a supplement or a tea that includes thyme.