Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that can be used in cooking, medicine, and as an ornamental plant. Thyme has been used to treat a variety of symptoms and complaints with its flowers, leaves, and oil.
Thymus vulgaris is the most common type. Thyme products are available for purchase online in a variety of forms.
The medicinal and nutritional properties of thyme, as well as the history of its popularity, are discussed in this article.
Simple facts to know about Thyme
- Antibacterial, insecticidal, and possibly antifungal properties are thought to exist in thyme.
- Throughout history, people have used thyme for embalming and to protect themselves from the Black Death.
- Fresh and dried herbs, as well as essential oil, are all forms of thyme.
Thyme was used as an embalming fluid by the ancient Egyptians. Thyme was used as an incense in temples and in bathwater in ancient Greece.
Thyme was used in cheese and alcoholic beverages by the Romans. They were also allegedly offered it as a cure for people who were depressed or shy. When the Roman army conquered the British Isles, they brought thyme with them.
Hippocrates, known as “the father of Western medicine” and who lived between 460 and 370 BCE, recommended thyme for respiratory diseases and conditions. People grew thyme in gardens and gathered it in the countryside.
People wear posies of thyme for protection when the Black Death struck Europe in the 1340s.
Although scientific evidence does not support this specific use, thyme has a variety of medicinal properties that modern people can benefit from.
Thymol is one of a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides.
These are chemicals that have the ability to kill harmful organisms like infectious bacteria.
Thyme has strong antimicrobial properties when combined with other biocides like carvacrol.
Getting rid of the tiger mosquito
The tiger mosquito is native to Southeast Asia’s tropical and subtropical regions.
A combination of thymol, alpha-terpinene, and carvacrol was proven to work in killing tiger mosquito larvae by a team at Chungbuk National University in South Korea.
High blood pressure
In tests on rats, researchers at the University of Belgrade in Serbia discovered that an aqueous extract made from wild thyme reduced blood pressure.
Because rats react to hypertension in the same way that humans do, the findings could have implications for humans.
However, more tests are needed to prove that the data is significant.
Bacterial infections transmitted through food
The antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from a variety of aromatic plants, including thyme oil, was investigated by a team at the Center for Studies of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in Portugal.
They discovered that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, could be used as a natural food preservative against a variety of bacteria that cause human illness.
Thyme oil and lavender oil were tested in a Polish study, and thyme oil was found to be effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Pseudomonas bacteria.
Researchers in Turkey studied the effects of wild thyme on breast cancer activity, specifically how it affected apoptosis, or cell death, and gene-related events in breast cancer cells.
In breast cancer cells, they discovered that wild thyme caused cell death.
Candida albicans (C. albicans) is a fungus that causes yeast infections in the mouth and vaginal area, a condition known as “thrush.”
The essential oil of thyme was found to significantly improve the destruction of the C. albicans fungus in the human body, according to researchers at the University of Turin in Italy.
Increasing the longevity of cooking oils
During the processing and storage of food, lipid oxidation is a serious issue. It can degrade the quality, consistency, safety, and nutritional value of food.
Scientists from Warsaw, Poland, looked into whether thyme extract could help sunflower oil stay stable at different temperatures.
Common skin issues
Skin problems are very common all over the world. Herbal preparations are important medicines in some countries.
A research team from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University evaluated the therapeutic benefits of a 10% chamomile extract cream and a 3% thyme essential oil antifungal cream for eczema-like lesions.
They found that 66.5 percent of people treated with a fungal cream containing thyme essential oil healed completely, compared to 28.5 percent of those who received a placebo.
The chamomile cream produced similar results to the placebo.
The researchers come to the following conclusion:
“A 3 percent thyme essential oil cream may be a cost-effective and easily accessible option for treating and healing mild to moderate fungal infections.”
They do, however, suggest that more research be done.
Acne scientists from Leeds, England, investigated the impact of tinctures of myrrh, marigold, and thyme on Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the acne-causing bacteria. They discovered that thyme could be useful in the treatment of acne.
It had a greater antibacterial effect than normal doses of benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in most acne creams and washes.
Since benzoyl peroxide induces a burning sensation and inflammation on the skin, a thyme tincture may be a better acne treatment with less side effects.
Fresh thyme leaves can be used in teas and cooking, and they can also be placed between layers of linen to protect it from insects.
The basic oil of thyme, commonly known as “oil of thyme,” contains between 20% and 60% thymol.
Thyme oil is extracted for a variety of uses, including scenting soaps and as a deodorant ingredient.
Thyme oil has been used as an antiseptic and an insect repellent. Thymol is a natural meat preservative, and olive farmers in the Mediterranean sometimes combine it with the oil that preserves olives.
Essential oils, unlike fresh leaves, cannot be taken by mouth or applied directly to the skin. Thyme oil should be diluted in a carrier oil like olive oil.
Thyme essential oils are classified as “generally accepted as safe for their intended use” by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Anyone looking to make a drastic improvement in care for a health problem, on the other hand, should consult with a physician first.
- Bozkurt, E., Atmaca, H., Kisim, A., Uzunoglu, S., Uslu, R., & Karaca, B. (2012). Effects of thymus serpyllum extract on cell proliferation, apoptosis and epigenetic events in human breast cancer cells [Abstract]. Nutrition and Cancer, 64(8), 1245-1250
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. (2016, April 21)
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