Some of the most interesting health benefits of thyme include its ability to reduce respiratory issues, boost the strength of the immune system, protect against chronic diseases, stimulate blood flow, prevent fungal infections, improve heart health, and relieve stress.
What Is Thyme?
The most common form of thyme has the scientific name Thymus vulgaris, and is an evergreen shrub that has been used in medicinal and culinary applications for thousands of years. The herb is native to the Mediterranean region and certain parts of Africa, and its use dates back to the Egyptian empire. In terms of its culinary use, the stems and the leaves are used in various dishes, either in whole or dried form. It is usually added to soups, sauces, meat dishes, and is used as a flavorful garnish. The leaves can be removed from the stems and ground into a finer spice, or the entire sprig can be added to flavour a larger dish or stew.
Its medicinal history includes the use of its essential oil, but the full list of health benefits of thyme essential oil can be found in a separate article on Organic Facts. The leaves can be brewed into a useful tea and a decoction can be made with carrier oils or creams to apply topically to the body. Now, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the health benefits of thyme.
Health Benefits Of Thyme
The most famous active ingredient found in thyme is thymol. This organic compound has a wide range of effects on the body, including the ability to prevent fungal and viral infections, thereby reducing strain on the immune system.
With one of the highest antioxidant concentrations in any herb, thyme has been praised for thousands of years as an overall health booster. The phenolic antioxidants found in thyme, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and thymonin all contribute to neutralizing and eliminating free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can do major damage to your healthy cells by causing apoptosis or spontaneous mutation. These antioxidants help to prevent oxidative stress in all of your organ systems, as well as your neural pathways, heart, eyes, and skin.
The high concentration of iron and other essential minerals in thyme make it ideal for stimulating the production of red blood cells, thereby boosting your body’s circulation and the oxygenation of essential organ systems and extremities throughout the body.
The rich blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in thyme have many small effects on the heart, but the potassium and manganese are particularly important. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it can reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. This can extend your life by preventing atherosclerosis and avoiding strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.
The concentration of carotenoids and vitamin A found in thyme make it an effective antioxidant agent for your vision health. Carotenoids can neutralize the free radicals in your ocular system and slow the onset of macular degeneration and prevent cataracts!
The high levels of vitamin C found in sage make it a natural immune system booster. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are the first line of defence in the body’s immune system. Vitamin C also plays a crucial part in the production of collagen, which is essential for the creation and repair of cells, muscles, tissues, and blood vessels.
One of the vitamins in thyme (B6) has a powerful effect on certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are directly linked to stress hormones. Regular inclusion of thyme in your diet can help to boost your mood and ease your mind when stressful thoughts come calling.
Treats Respiratory Issues
One of the most well-known and long-standing uses for thyme in traditional medicine is a respiratory health agent. If you are suffering from bronchitis, chronic asthma, congestion, colds, flus, blocked sinuses, or seasonal allergies, thyme acts as an expectorant and an anti-inflammatory substance, eliminating phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tracts, easing inflammation to help breathing, and prevent microbial development that can lead to illness. Brewing thyme leaves into a powerful tea is the best way to achieve this sort of relief for respiratory ailments.
A Final Word of Warning
For those with sensitive stomachs, high intake of thyme can cause gastrointestinal distress, but generally, this herb is not known as an allergenic substance and can be consumed regularly in your diet.