In my opinion, thyme is an herb that is underrated. I began using it shortly after I got married (probably in all the wrong ways), only because my parents bought me a spice rack, and a very nice one I might add! It sparked my interest in cooking a variety of dishes that I would not have ordinarily attempted at that age.
Thyme is full of thymol and carvacrol, which are organic compounds called phenols (where have we heard that before…see my previous health blogs on tumeric and cinnamon). These phenols have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Due to these properties, thyme is also effective in suppressing fungi and other microorganisms.
There was a study that was done in 2010 that demonstrated that thymol and carvacrol can lessen the drug resistance of the Salmonella and Staph aureus bacterial strains. This means that if you are given antibiotics that typically kill these bacteria, these substances in thyme will act as helpers.
Thyme has also been shown to have antioxidants which are potent enough to go against bacteria that cause acne. In patients with acute bronchitis and coughing with lots of phlegm production and coughing fits, a fluid extract in thyme reduced their respiratory symptoms. It also works for the stomach and relieves gas (I can testify to that, unfortunately).
Thyme is also one of the components in Zaatar seasoning. If you have never had Zaatar, you are really missing out! It has been around and has been used for natural healing for thousands of years. It tastes phenomenal with just olive oil on pita bread!
Zaatar is a mix of spices that is made up of dried thyme, oregano, sumac, toastd sesame seeds, salt and marjoram. All of these ingredients are champions on their own, but since our focus is on thyme, we won’t go there just yet. This spice is mainly consumed in eastern countries.
So how much should you use?
If you want to steam, here is a great recipe courtesy of Herbal Academy of New England’s website:
Basic Steam Inhalation
4 cups of water
Herbs of choice: thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.
- In a large heat proof glass or ceramic bowl, add a generous handful of your herb/s of choice.
- Pour the boiling water over the herbs, place face above bowl, and quickly throw towel over head. Use caution: start high above bowl to avoid burning face.
- Inhale the steam for approximately 10 minutes or more.
Drinking it as a tea (recipe courtesy of the Vintage Amanda website; modified by Taptutor)
1) Put the herb in your brewing container – about 1 tsp dried herbs per cup of water. For fresh herbs, use more.
2) Pour over water that’s just off the boil.
3) Very important – COVER. You need to cover your brewing container while the herbs are infusing. This traps all of the volatile oils in the tea, rather than evaporating in the air.
4) Infuse around 5 minutes. (This depends on the herb … if you want medicinal benefits, you may need to steep it longer so look it up in a herb book.)
5) Strain and serve.
So, hope you will give “thyme” a try next “time” you feel a cold coming on or have the above symptoms. I have tried the tea plenty this Winter with lemon and honey and it works very well for me at relieving these symptoms.
And oh, before I forget….my disclaimer!
Please check with your healthcare provider before starting, adding on or changing any of your medical therapy. This is not meant to be a cure but to help you in being informed about healthy alternatives.
References for further reading: