The Healer Herb Thyme – Benefits, Uses, and side effects
Thyme is a Mediterranean herb whose flower, leaves and oil find various dietary, medicinal and ornamental uses. Thyme is of the genus Thymus. Its most common variety is Thymus vulgaris, which has many medicinal properties. Thyme is a native of Southern Europe. It is known as ‘Banajwain’ in Hindi.
Thyme is known as a woody, evergreen, perennial plant with aromatic properties as it has a short lifespan. It is cultivated in the spring season with well-drained soil. Propagation of Thyme plant can be done through seeds and nodes. Thyme bushes are small and easy to look after. They grow to about 25cm–30cm. In India, it is widely found in the western Himalayas and the Nilgiris.
There are also some great and interesting historical facts about Thyme. The Father of Western Medicine, The Hippocrates, recommended thyme for respiratory diseases. Thyme was also used as an embalming fluid by ancient Egyptians. In Italy, Thyme found its usage as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages by the Romans. In Greece, Thyme was used in bath waters and in temples as incense sticks.
Thyme and its forms:
Thyme is used to manufacture Thyme essential oil, thyme tea, thyme tincture, and thyme carrier oils. Fresh leaves of thyme are sprinkled upon salads, eggs, meat, etc as dressing.
Thyme Essential Oil-
Thyme essential oils have antiseptic, antiviral, antirheumatic, antiparasitic and antifungal properties. Oil extracted from thyme contains about 20% – 60% thymol, the most valuable substance for medicinal purpose. The most common thyme oil is red thyme oil and colorless thyme oil. The red thyme oil is known as Origanum.
Thyme tea is made by brewing the leaves of thyme plant. Water is boiled and the leaves are added afterward.
Thyme tea is abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Thyme tea promotes a healthy body and is caffeine free. Drinking thyme tea every day lowers the viral load in the body, thus, helping in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Research on Thyme:
A study at Chungbuk National University in South Korea found that Thyme is capable of killing the tiger mosquito, found in tropical areas of Southeast Asia.
Researchers at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, stated that Thyme can be used to treat high blood pressure and hypertension.
A study carried out in Lisbon and Turkey showed that Thyme extract is capable of protecting people from colon cancer and controlling the activity of breast cancer cells. This was one of the best researches done on Thyme.
A team at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, carried out a study and noted that 66.5% of people with eczema experienced complete healing after using an antifungal cream containing thyme oil extracts.
Benefits of Thyme
There are many benefits of Thyme herb than you can think, especially health benefits. You will amuse with the healing power of this tiny herb.
Thyme for skin:
- Blending organic thyme herb or its oil with sea buckthorn berry, chamomile, and tea tree oil creates a potion which treats acne by keeping acne-causing bacteria away. It also heals sores, wounds, scars, and burns.
- Thyme is extremely rich in antioxidants. So, it can slow down the aging process and give you healthy and glowing skin.
- Nutrients like zinc and vitamin B complex, which are present in thyme, also play a significant role in maintaining the health of our skin.
- Thyme oil acts as a natural remedy to heal rashes, burns, and scars.
- Thyme leaves can be boiled in water for about 15-20 minutes and then cooled off. This water can be dabbed on the skin using a cotton ball to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria from the skin, thereby, preventing acne.
A test was carried out in Leeds, England where the effects of thyme tincture on Propionibacterium acnes, the acne causing bacteria, were studied. It was found that thyme gave better results and fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide, which is present in most anti-acne creams.
Thyme for Hair:
Not only does thyme do wonders to our skin, when combined with other herbs, it also cures hair loss.
- Thyme tea is one of the most effective anti-dandruff medium.
- It improves hair growth by 44% in 7 months.
- It also reduces greying of hair, dryness of hair, split ends, hair thinning, etc.
Health Benefits of Thyme:
- Thyme essential oil, obtained from its leaves, is often used to cure a cough and other symptoms of acute bronchitis. It promotes normal lung health.
- Thyme is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and hence, helps in building up our immune system.
- It is also a great source of copper, iron, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium and manganese. So, it promotes bone development and reduces the risk of bone disorders.
- A species of Thyme found in Pakistan and Afghanistan, known as Thymus linearis Benth, is capable of reducing heart rate and lowering cholesterol levels.
- Thyme oil helps the body to get rid of toxins, excess water and salts by increasing urination. This lowers blood pressure and also supports weight loss.
- Thyme essential oil protects our mouth from certain harmful microorganisms which can create cavities in our teeth. It helps us get rid of bad breath and gingivitis as well.
- Thyme also contains anti-inflammatory properties which help prevent inflammation in our body and supports healthy cardiovascular functioning.
- Thyme tea promotes better digestion and gastrointestinal health as it has many antibiotic properties.
- Thyme tea and thyme oil have excellent calming effects. It induces sound sleep in children as well as adults.
- It is also capable of providing relief from menstrual cramps.
- Iron produces red blood cells in our body which, in turn, gives us energy. Thyme contains a large concentration of iron in it, due to which it helps us fight exhaustion, anemia and fatigue.
- Thyme is rich in vitamin A as well, which improves our eyesight and prevents eye diseases.
- It improves the symptoms of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) or Dyspraxia in children, which is a neurological disorder related to movement.
- The vaginal yeast infection called ‘thrush’, caused by the fungus Candida albicans, can be treated by the essential oil of thyme.
Also, read Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Other Uses of Thyme:
- Thyme has many anti-fungicidal properties. It can be used as a disinfectant to prevent fungal growth.
- Thyme is a good pest fighter too and hence, is used to get rid of mosquitoes, mice, house flies, etc
- Due to its antiseptic properties, Thyme can be used as a mouthwash and also heal wounds.
- Thyme essential oil contains carvacrol, which has therapeutic qualities. It generates a positive feeling in people’s minds.
- The most popular use of Thyme is in food. It has a beautiful fragrance and instantly enhances the taste of meat, fish, salad and other dishes.
- It can also cure diarrhea, stomach ache and arthritis.
- Thyme is used for the preservation of food.
- It prolongs the quality, stability and nutritional value of vegetable oils at different temperatures.
- Thyme is also capable of killing maggots in sores and tapeworms in the intestine.
- It is used to make soaps and natural deodorants.
Side effects of Thyme:
Unfortunately, the Wonder Herb also has its side effects.
- Thyme tea might cause allergies in people.
- It can cause digestive system upset, headache, or dizziness.
- Thyme also reduces the efficiency of platelets in our blood, due to which the process of blood clotting in our body might get slowed down.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women are always recommended to take thyme tea in limited quantities as it has shown to exhibit abortifacient activities
- It can sometimes upset the digestive system.
- Thyme might stimulate the production of estrogen in the body. Some conditions like ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and endometriosis worsen when exposed to estrogen. So, people suffering from such conditions should stay away from Thyme.
But, the benefits of Thyme overpower all the side effects. Apart from having a dozen of household uses, such as keeping moths from linens and beetles from the garden away, and its use in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes; it won’t be an overstatement to say that Thyme heals all wounds.
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It’s antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic qualities give way to its name – ‘The Healer Herb‘.