From embalming fluid to incense, the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians understood the healing power of the herb thyme. With over 400 subspecies, this fragrant relative of the mint family is now common in spice racks of restaurants and family homes across America.
Thyme has much more value than merely an herb to flavor your meals. Thyme extract shows promise in treating a variety of health problems, with its potent antimicrobial properties. The herb extract reduces inflammation and accelerates the healing process, which makes it useful in many homeopathic remedies.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), an herb of the mint family commonly used in cooking, is believed to have medicinal properties beneficial to health. With a taste that is spicier than oregano and a scent reminiscent of pine and camphor, thyme can be recognized by its tiny, sage-green leaves and thin but woody stalks. In early summer, the plant will blossom with pink or purple flowers.
Thyme can be used fresh or dried or distilled into essential oil for aromatherapy. The plant is known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant effects that may be useful in treating everything from intestinal infections to skin conditions.
Thyme is also sold as a dietary supplement in liquid or capsule form. There are even thyme teas, thyme mouthwash, thyme face masks, and nasal thyme sprays.
In alternative medicine, thyme can be taken by mouth, applied to the skin, rinsed, or inhaled for health purposes. The plant contains compounds like thymol (a plant-based phenol specific to thyme) that is known to control or neutralize certain bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections.
Thyme is marketed as a natural treatment for an almost encyclopedic array of unrelated health conditions, including:
- Bad breath
- Cold sores
- Difficulty urinating
- Ear infections
- Hair loss
- Liver dysfunction
- Menstrual cramps
- Oral thrush
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infection
- Whooping cough
Thyme also stimulates appetite, curb inflammation, boost immune function, and repel insects.
You can make some homemade insect repellent right in your kitchen using natural ingredients. Take some thyme oil extract and mix 1/2-tablespoon of the oil with some citronella extract and three candles. Let the candles melt until the wax becomes a liquid. The oils infuse into the wax, leaving you with a medicated formula perfect for outdoor insect candles.
Take a piece of string about 3 inches in length, and balance it in the center of a glass tumbler. Fill the glass with the liquid wax and let it cool down. Keep string in the center of the glass, so the wick stays as close to the middle as possible.
Thyme essential oil is a fantastic homeopathic remedy for treating the symptoms of stress and anxiety associated with living a busy lifestyle.
When you get home from work, and you’re feeling stressed out, run yourself a hot bath and add a few drops of thyme oil to the water. Breathe deeply as the steam from the tub rises into the air, and you’ll start to feel your stress and anxiety melt away.
You can also add the oil to a diffuser and leave it to run overnight. The medicated steam enters your bloodstream through the respiratory system, cleansing the neural pathways while you sleep, relieving symptoms of high stress.
Enhance Your Mood
To take advantage of this mood elevation effect, try diffusing with thyme essential oil. Add a few drops of oil to boiling water in a Pyrex dish, then breathe in the steam. If you can’t find the time to do this therapy, or you’re stuck at work, add a few drops of thyme oil to a half a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil and rub it into your temples.
Soothe Skin Irritation
Dealing with the effects of sensitive skin is a frustrating situation for anyone. Should you receive a sunburn from being out in the sun’s harmful UV rays during the peak hours of the day, your skin will swell and inflame, emanating heat and feelings of pain.
Using thyme oil mixed into some moisturizing cream can provide relief from symptoms of anxiety and swelling associated with a sunburn. Apply the moisturizing cream as often as possible, and you should experience a marked reduction in your symptoms after 12-hours.
Helps Fight Sore Throats
Thyme oil is a potent natural antimicrobial, making it a useful weapon against sore throats. Its carvacrol content is a significant reason why it’s one of the top essential oils for sore throat relief.
May Help Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
The ingestion of thyme has been shown to produce antihypertensive activity, which makes it a great herbal choice for anyone suffering from high blood pressure symptoms.
- Has more vitamin A and vitamin C
- Commonly taken by mouth for bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bedwetting, intestinal gas (flatulence), parasitic worm infections and skin disorders
- Natural diuretic
- Appetite stimulant
You can grow thyme at home or buy it fresh at most grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Fresh thyme is perfect for making tinctures, teas, or adding to food dishes. Dried thyme is also found in any spice aisle and is an excellent way to keep the herb in your home at all times. Thyme essential oils are also a great way to access the benefits of thyme quickly and easily. Not all essential oils are food grade, but thyme essential oils can be used in a diffuser or applied topically.
You can also take thyme therapeutically to reap its many health benefits. While thyme is excellent on its own, its nutritional profile and unique properties make it a worthwhile addition to some supplement formulas.
How do you use thyme? Send us a comment and share your thoughts with us.