Thyme Thyme Thyme (Photo: Andrey Starostin/Flickr)

What are the health benefits of thyme?

Versatile herb used to lower blood pressure, fight the flu – even treat acne.

Thyme is a versatile herb that is fairly easy to come by. It is used to season foods such as fish, meat, pasta and even ice cream. In Israel it's an essential ingredient of za'atar, a spice rub used to season pita and other local dishes. It is also popular in France, where it is included in the herb mixture Herbes de Provence. But thyme, which is originally native to southern Europe and Mediterranean regions, has wide-ranging health benefits, too.  

Thyme tea is a popular way to harness the health benefits of the herbThyme tea is a popular way to harness the health benefits of the herb (Photo: Lucky_elephant/Shutterstock)

Time for thyme?

Thyme is full of good stuff like B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, and folic acid. This means it's good for treating everything from blood circulation to arthritis. When ingested It's been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and thymol, a substance found in thyme, has been shown to increase good fats in the brain, liver and kidneys.

A body of evidence

Thyme is known to work well as a decongestant and it is used to treat everything from dry coughs to bronchitis. Since Thyme is full of vitamins C and A, it's seen as an effective combatant against the common cold and even the flu. Thyme also contains a variety of flavonoids, which, when combined with its status as a good source of manganese, make it a powerful antioxidant. 

Face the facts

As a tincture (a liquid produced by steeping leaves in alcohol for a few weeks) thyme has been shown to effectively treat acne. It's also used as an antiseptic and can be applied to cuts and scrapes to prevent and neutralize infections. The same can be said of its ability to fight fungus.

Mind over body

Thyme may be a good anti-depressant. It contains a substance called carvacrol, which has been shown to positively effect mood. 

Bug off

When not being used to strengthen or fortify the human body, thyme has also been shown to be a credible pesticide. 

Thyme's many guises

Thyme is made into an oil and syrup, is used in teas, and, of course, remains a staple of kitchens across the Western world. So next time you make a meal or you're feeling under the weather, it may just be the right time for thyme. 

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Related Topics: Healthy eating