This single herb get’s it name because of it’s medicinal, microbial effects on the blood. High in Iron and excellent source for Vitamin K and a essential source for having normalized blood clotting. No it’s not an overnight miracle worker, but with prolong usage it will either be a preventative maintenance item or a remedy for specific illnesses.
For thousands of years, thyme has been a superstar of Herb gardens. There are a number of theories that are attributed to origins regarding how Thyme got its name. Most agree that the name Thyme is derived from the Greek thumos and/or the Latin fumus which both mean smoke. In Ancient Egypt thyme was used for embalming. In Ancient Greece thyme was used as an incense in temples – it was also commonly added to bathwater. After that, thyme’s history and the origins of its name get a bit muddled. Did you know that Thyme was used as an antidote for poison, a plague preventative, a symbol of bravery in battle and a stalwart companion to the grave, thyme has a far more storied past than you’d think if you were walking past it in the supermarket today.
Thyme’s reputation as a healer and protector goes back thousands of years. In the Roman era, it was widely held that eating thyme either before or during a meal would protect you from poison. For obvious reasons, this made the herb a particular favorite of the emperors. It was even said that a bath in warm water liberally dosed with thyme could stop the effects of poison after it was inadvertently consumed.
Thymes Provides Essential Minerals For Our Bodies
When you think of a food rich in iron, thyme is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But 2 tsp of dried thyme (about the amount used in a cup of thyme tea) may deliver the equivalent of 3.56 mg, or 19.8 percent of the recommended daily value of iron. Thyme tea is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vital to normal blood clotting, with 2 tsp supplying 48.01 mcg, or 60 percent of the DV. Thyme tea is also a very good source of manganese, supplying 12 percent of the DV, and calcium, providing 5.4 of the DV in 2 tsp.
Thyme is an herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. Thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Only recently, however, have researchers pinpointed some of the components in thyme that bring about it’s healing effects. The volatile oil components of thyme are now known to include carvacolo, borneol, geraniol, but most importantly, thymol.
Thymol—named after the herb itself—is the primary volatile oil constituent of thyme, and its health-supporting effects are well documented. In studies on aging in rats, thymol has been found to protect and significantly increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other cell structures. In particular, the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes was increased after dietary supplementation with thyme. In other studies looking more closely at changes in the brains cells themselves, researchers found that the maximum benefits of thyme occurred when the food was introduced very early in the lifecycle of the rats, but was less effective in offsetting the problems in brain cell aging when introduced late in the aging process.
The flowers, leaves and oil of thyme are commonly used by people for the treatment of bedwetting, diarrhea, stomach ache, arthritis, colic, sore throat, cough (including whooping cough), bronchitis, flatulence and as a diuretic (to increase urination).
Thyme contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds, including luteolin and rosmarinic acid, which may provide health benefits for people with certain anti-inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and inflammatory acne. Luteolin has been shown to exert strong inhibitory effects against TBK1, an enzyme that has been linked to inflammatory diseases. In fact, a study published in the April 2009 issue of the journal Biochemical Pharmacology found that luteolin showed the strongest inhibitory activity against TBK1 among the six tested compounds, all of which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The rosmarinic acid in thyme, in turn, is thought to exert anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase, two enzymes that have been associated with inflammatory responses.
Thyme and its Potential in Cancer Prevention
Thyme contains several phytochemicals (such as ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid and luteolin) that have been linked to anti-cancer activity in laboratory studies. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that also thyme as a herb – rather than its individual components – has shown promise as a potential natural cancer fighter. A study published in the November 2012 edition of the journal Natural Product Communications reported the extracts of Mastic Thyme (Thymus mastichina L.) may have a protective effect against colon cancer. Another study, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, found that Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) caused apoptosis (cell death) in breast cancer cells. Yet another study found that luteolin, one of the active compounds identified in thyme, was capable of neutralizing Trp-P-2, a common carcinogen that is formed during cooking and that is often present in cooked meat in significant amounts.
THYME ESSENTIAL OIL
The essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – usually referred to as “oil of thyme” – contains 20-54% thymol.
Thymol belongs to a naturally-occurring class of compounds known as “biocides” (substances that can destroy harmful organisms). When thymus is used alongside other biocides, such as carvacrol, it has strong antimicrobial attibutes.
Scientists at the University of Manitoba, Canada, wrote in the International Journal of Food Microbiology that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs such as penicillin.
The researchers reported that while all three tinctures killed the bacterium within five minutes of exposure, thyme was by far the most effective. They also discovered that thyme tincture had a significantly greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient found in the majority of creams and washes aimed at people with acne.
Head investigator, Dr Margarita Gomez-Escalada, said “The plant material is steeped in alcohol for days or even weeks to prepare a tincture. This process draws out the active compounds from the plant. While thyme, marigold and myrrh are common herbal alternatives to standard antibacterial skin washes, this is the first study to demonstrate the effect they have on the bacterium that causes the infection leading to acne.”
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Researchers at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, reported in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition that an aqueous extract obtained from Thymus serpyllum L. (wild thyme) reduced blood pressure in an animal experiment on laboratory rats.
As rats tend to have similar responses to humans in hypertensive situations, the team is hopeful that further human trials will confirm their findings.
In an Abstract in the journal, the study authors wrote “Our results indicate that TE may protect against hypertension in experimental model of essential hypertension.”
Protecting from foodborne bacterial infections.
A team at the Center of Studies of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in Portugal carried out a study to determine the antimicrobial activity of essential oils extracted from a range of aromatic plants, including thyme oil.
Thyme oil was tested alongside lavender oil. The study authors wrote “Thyme oil demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotics resistant strains of the tested bacteria. Lavender oil has been less active against clinical strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Escherichia genus.
A study found that extracts of Mastic Thyne (Thymus mastichina L.) may protect from colon cancers.
The scientific team, from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal concluded in the journal Natural Product Communications8 that “The presence of these constituents identified by colon cancer cytotoxicity-guided activity indicates that extracts of Thymus mastichina L. may have a protective effect against colon cancers.”
Oncologist researchers at Celal Bayar University in Turkey carried out a study to determine what effect Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) might have on breast cancer activity.
They were specifically looking at the effects of Wild Thyme on apoptosis (cell death) and epigenetic events in breast cancer cells. Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms that do not involve alterations in DNA sequence.
They reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer that Wild Thyme induced cell death in the breast cancer cells. The study authors concluded that Wild Thyme “may be a promising candidate in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for breast cancer treatment.”
The fungus Candida albicans is a common cause of mouth and vaginal yeast infections. Often referred to as “thrush”, vaginal yeast infections are generally recurring. Researchers at the University of Turin in Italy set out to determine what effect thyme essential oil might have on Candida albicans in the human body.
The team reported in the journal Planta Medical that thyme essential oil significantly enhanced intracellular killing of C. albicans.
Apart from using spices like garlic, I recommend you try essential oils derived from herbs like thyme oil. Not only do they have antibacterial properties, but they also provide a number of health benefits.
Uses of Thyme Oil
Due to thyme oil’s antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, and calming properties, it has a long list of uses that include:
* Home remedy – Thyme oil is used to relieve and treat problems like gout, arthritis, wounds, bites, and sores, water retention, menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea and fatigue, respiratory problems (like colds), skin conditions (oily skin and scars), athlete’s foot, hangovers, and even depression.
* Aromatherapy oil – The oil can be used to stimulate the mind, strengthen memory and concentration, and calm the nerves.
* Hair product – It is said that thyme oil can prevent hair loss. It is used as a treatment for the scalp and is added to shampoos and other hair products.
* Skin product – Thyme oil can help tone aged skin and prevent acne outbreaks.
* Mouthwashes and herbal rinses – Like peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oils, thyme oil is used to improve oral health.
* Insecticide/insect repellent – Thyme oil can keep insects and parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and moths away.
* Relieve pain – Mix three drops of thyme oil with two teaspoons of sesame oil. Use this mixture as a massage oil and apply on the abdominal area to relieve pain. This may also be used as a massage oil to treat other types of pain.
* Alleviate fatigue – Add two drops of thyme oil to your bath water.
* Improve sleep – Add a few drops to your diffuser.
* Promote oral health – Use thyme oil as a mouthwash by adding one drop to a cup of warm water.
* Reduce appearance of scars and skin marks – Apply oil of thyme mixed with any carrier oil (like almond oil) on the affected area.
* Use as cleanser – Add a few drops of thyme oil to your facial wash.
* Treat or protect against respiratory problems – Add two drops of thyme oil to hot water and use for steam inhalation.
* Uplift mood – Simply inhale the scent of thyme oil.
Is Thyme Oil Safe?
Thyme oil side effects Thyme oil should not be used directly on skin, as it can cause sensitization. It must be first diluted with a carrier oil (like olive oil or almond oil). Before use, test on a small area to see if you have any allergies. NOTE: there is a difference between ingesting Thyme essential oil and drinking Thyme tea.
This herbal oil should not be taken internally, as it can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle problems. Doing so may also negatively impact your heart, lungs, and body temperature. It may also stimulate the thyroid gland, which is why this essential oil is not recommended for people with hyperthyroidism.
Since thyme oil can be used to increase circulation, it should be avoided by people with high blood pressure. Pregnant women should steer clear of thyme oil because it can stimulate menstrual flow. Thyme essential oil should also be kept away from infants and young children.
Thyme Oil Side Effects
Use of thyme oil may result in allergic reactions, even when it’s diluted. Some people who use it may experience dermatitis or inflammation of the skin. People with allergies to rosemary or mint oils should also stay away from thyme and its essential oil.
Always consult a physician or anyone knowledgeable in essential oils before using one, especially if you’re suffering from any disease or are taking certain medications
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