Thyme is a delicious culinary herb, but its uses go beyond the kitchen. Discover the health benefits of thyme in our latest blog post.
A low-growing herb with small leaves, thyme is a relative of mint but has a very different flavour. There are numerous varieties, although not all are edible.
If you love to cook, thyme will be a familiar friend. This popular culinary herb is used to give flavour to roasts, stews, and sauces. It’s especially associated with French and Mediterranean cooking but lends itself well to a variety of savoury dishes.
However, thyme isn’t just a delicious addition to your dinner plate. This herb also has several health benefits. From soothing a cough to fighting off bacteria, there are plenty of reasons to get some extra thyme into your diet.
The Health Benefits of Thyme
Thyme has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans burnt it to create a cleansing smoke, while medieval Europeans later used it as a defence against plague.
This delicious herb remains popular in herbal medicine today and has many different uses. Here are some of the best-known health benefits of thyme.
1. Soothes a Cough
Thyme is perhaps most popular as a respiratory herb. An antispasmodic, it helps to relax the muscles of the throat and ease a persistent cough. It also has expectorant properties, meaning it can loosen mucous and make it easier to cough up.
As a result, thyme is one of the best herbs to turn to when you have a chesty, wet cough. It can also help to soothe a sore throat.
2. Boosts the Immune System
Despite its small size, thyme packs a serious nutritional punch. This herb is rich in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants – all great news when it comes to keeping our bodies functioning properly.
Most notably, thyme is a rich source of vitamin C. And, as you probably know, vitamin C is essential to keeping our immune systems working efficiently.
3. Fights Infections
Thyme has long been used for its antiseptic properties. Dentists once used it to treat infected gums and toothache, and it remains a popular home remedy for sore throats, as well as digestive upsets caused by food-borne pathogens.
We now know that thyme’s ability to fight off infections comes mostly from thymol, its main active component. Thymol has antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiviral properties, making it ideal for supporting your body in ridding itself of invading pathogens.
4. Reduces Inflammation
We’ve already seen that thyme is packed full of nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. Another way that it supports our general health is by reducing inflammation and protecting our cells against damage from oxidative stress.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a wide range of diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to cardiovascular disease. As a result, thyme’s ability to reduce inflammation offers important health benefits.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Research suggests that thyme might help to lower blood pressure. This may be partly because thymol acts as an antioxidant, protecting us against high blood lipid levels and reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Thyme also contains potassium, a mineral that helps to lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
6. Prevents Acne
Thyme’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great option for keeping your skin clear and preventing breakouts. A natural cleanser, it can keep the bacteria that cause acne away.
Since thyme is rich in vitamin C, it may also help to reduce redness and give your face a lovely natural glow.
How to Use Thyme for Health
Adding thyme to your cooking is a great way to enjoy its benefits. But we tend to use only a very small amount when we cook, so it is worth incorporating thyme into your diet in other ways too.
One of the easiest ways to use thyme for your health is to make it into a herbal tea. Its uplifting flavour makes a delicious and comforting drink, and a cup of thyme tea is especially soothing when you have a cough or a sore throat.
Speaking of coughs, another herb we love to use to soothe coughs and clear the lungs is mullein. These two herbs work beautifully together, which is why we’ve combined them to make our Mullein Leaf & Thyme flagship tea.