Vegetables and Vegetables

Thyme’s health benefits

The Thyme is an herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. Thyme flowers, leaves and oil are used to treat stomach pain, diarrhea, colic, arthritis, cough, whooping cough, bronchitis, sore throat, flatulence and serves as a diuretic to increase urination. Thyme is of the genus  Thymus . The most common type is Thymus vulgaris , a herb native to the Mediterranean.

THYME ORIGIN

In ancient Egypt, thyme was used for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it as incense in temples, and even added it to bath water.

The Romans used thyme as a flavoring for cheese and alcoholic beverages. They also offered it as a cure for melancholy or shy people. It is believed that they were responsible for introducing it to the British Isles.

Hippocrates, who lived around 460 BC to 370 AD, and who is known today as “the father of Western medicine,” recommended thyme for respiratory ailments and other conditions. It was grown in gardens as well as in fields.

When the Black Death swept Europe in the 1340s, thyme potions were used for protection.

Scientific research has not proven this use, but thyme has been shown to have a variety of medicinal properties.

WHAT IS THYME FOR?

Fresh thyme leaves can be used in teas and cooking. They are sometimes placed between layers of linen, such as lavender, to protect the fabric from insects.

Thyme essential oil, commonly referred to as “thyme oil”, contains between 20% and 60% thymol.

It is extracted for a variety of uses, for example, in aromatic soaps and as an ingredient in deodorant. It was used as an antiseptic and as an insect repellent. Thymol has been used in meat preservation, and is often included in the oil used to preserve olives in the Mediterranean.

Unlike fresh leaves, the essential oil cannot be ingested and should not be used directly on the skin. It must be diluted in a carrier oil, eg olive oil.

THYME PROPERTIES

Thyme is an herb in the Lamiaceae mint family that you probably recognize from your spice mix. Its other names are Limão Thyme, Garden Thyme and Common Thyme.

With a pungent, slightly bitter and spicy flavor, the leaves and upper parts of flowering are used from the thyme.

Dried thyme has a relaxing effect on the nerves that helps individuals develop emotional strength, endurance and courage. People who take their essence from flowers are better able to adapt to the passage of time in a positive way.

Thyme is said to be effective against nightmares because of its suitability for those who have unconscious problems that disturb their sleep.

It also has remarkable antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral and diuretic properties, useful in the treatment of a variety of ailments. Contains high levels of vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, chromium and magnesium. In addition to volatile oils such as: thymol, borneal, carvacrol, linalool, phenol and cymol.

The herb contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin and thymnine. These flavonoids increase the plant’s antioxidant capacity. A bunch of fresh thyme (28 grams) contains approximately:

  • 28 calories
  • 6.8 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1.6 grams of protein
  • 0.5 grams of fat
  • 3.9 grams of fiber
  • 44.8 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 330 IU of vitamin A
  • 4.9 milligrams of iron
  • 0.5 milligrams of manganese
  • 113 milligrams of calcium
  • 44.8 milligrams of magnesium
  • 0.1 milligram riboflavin
  • 0.2 milligrams of copper
  • 0.1 milligrams of vitamin B6
  • 171 milligrams of potassium

THYME BENEFITS

The Thymol is a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides, substances that can destroy harmful organisms. Used alongside other biocides such as carvacrol, thyme has a strong antimicrobial action.

One study suggested that thymol may reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs such as penicillin.

  • The tiger mosquito is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. Since the 1990s, it has spread around the world, carrying West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue and Chikungunya fever. A research team reported that the combination of thymol, alpha-terpinene and carvacrol was effective in killing tiger mosquito larvae.
  • High blood pressure  researchers found that an aqueous extract obtained from wild thyme lowered blood pressure in tests on rats. Rats tend to have human-like responses when they have hypertension, so the results could have implications for humans.
  • Protection against foodborne bacterial infections – Thyme oil, even at low concentrations, has shown potential as a congenital preservative of food items against a variety of disease-causing bacteria. One study tested thyme oil and lavender oil, and thyme oil was effective against strains (virus clones)
  • Colon cancer – a study carried out in Portugal found that chewed thyme extracts can protect against colon cancers.
  • Breast Cancer – Researchers oncologists analyzed the effect of wild thyme on breast cancer activity and specifically how it affected apoptosis, cell death and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells. They found that wild thyme induced cell death in breast cancer cells.
  • Yeast Infection – The Candida albicans fungus  is a common occurrence of mild vaginal yeast infections, a recurrent condition often referred to as “thrush”. Researchers found that thyme essential oil significantly increased the intracellular killing of  albicans , which causes thrush, in the human body.
  • Prolongs the conservation of cooking oils – lipid oxidation (rancid spoilage) is a serious problem during food processing and storage. This leads to losses in quality, stability, safety and nutritional value. But scientists argue that thyme extract could prolong the stability of sunflower oil at different temperatures. They suggest that thyme may be a potent antioxidant for the conservation of sunflower oil.
  • Common Skin Problems – In some countries herbal preparations are an important form of remedy. Researchers conducted a study to assess the therapeutic benefits of a chamomile extract cream and a thyme essential oil antifungal cream for eczema-like lesions. They found that 66.5% of those treated with the antifungal cream containing thyme essential oil were completely cured, compared with 28.5% of those using a placebo.
  • Acne – Scientists have tested the effects of myrrh, marigold and thyme hues on the bacteria that cause acne. They found that thyme can be effective in treating acne. Its antibacterial effect was stronger than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient used in most acne creams and washes recommended. Benzoyl peroxide also causes a burning sensation and irritation to the skin.

HOW TO USE THYME

This herb is easy to find and is available, both fresh and dried, all year round. Fresh thyme tastes better, but it’s also less convenient. If you buy it fresh, it can last a week or two in the fridge. Dried thyme should be stored in a cool, dark place and ideally used within six months.

The dry version can be substituted for the fresh type in most recipes. One teaspoon of dried leaves equals one tablespoon of freshly cut thyme.

This herb can be consumed in different ways. The most common is as fresh or dried herb in any culinary creation. For medicinal purposes, it can be purchased in the form of a tea, tincture, supplement or essential oil.

When it comes to using it in your kitchen and in everyday life, dry or fresh thyme makes a healthy and tasty complement to chicken, fish, meat, lamb, vegetables (especially green beans, eggplant, carrots and zucchini), cheese ( especially goat cheese), pasta dishes, soups, sauces and marinades for starters.

The options are really endless. If you like the exhaled taste, you can add it to just about any dish you like, as thyme is a great seasoning.

A thyme and ginger tea can also be very pleasant, in addition to helping you lose weight in a healthy way and hydrate the body, through all its properties.

HOW TO GROW THYME?

  • It is difficult to grow thyme from seeds because of the slow and uneven germination. It’s easier to buy plants or take some cuttings from a friend.
  • To start, plant the seeds/cuttings inside a hole 6 to 10 weeks before winter.
  • Plant the seeds/cuttings in well-drained soil about 3 inches apart. For best growth, the soil should be around 21ºC.
  • Plants should grow 6 to 12 inches tall.
  • In the garden, plant thyme next to cabbage or tomatoes.
  • In order to get the best and most potent flavor, harvest the thyme just before the plant blooms. Thyme is one of those herbs, like oregano or sage, that is very good both fresh and dried. Pick up a few sprigs as needed, but mass harvest the growing seasons.
  • Indeed, the more you cut your thyme, the more it will grow. Cut the stems fresh in the morning, leaving hard and woody portions to remain. Leave at least two inches of growth so that the plant can still bloom. Regular pruning not only encourages more growth, it also promotes a more rounded shape of the plant.

THYME PRECAUTIONS

Thyme is considered safe when used in normal amounts in food. When taken in larger amounts for medicinal purposes, it is effectively safe for short durations of time. However, it can cause digestive problems when ingested in large amounts.

Pregnant women and people allergic to some type of Lamiaceae, such as oregano, should avoid consumption until you are sure they are not allergic to thyme either.

Women with cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis need to be careful about exposure to estrogen.

If used in large amounts, this spice can slow down blood clotting. Therefore, moderation is necessary if you have a clotting disorder or are taking any blood thinners.

 

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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