What Is Thyme Used For?
Although extensively used as a spice in modern cooking, thyme also offers therapeutic benefits and has been used as an antibiotic throughout time.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is an evergreen flowering perennial plant that has been extensively used as a spice in modern cooking, which can be cultivated in a home garden.

Aside from its fragrant and aromatic flavor, it has therapeutic benefits and has been used for millennia to aid the body in fighting infections and soothing the respiratory system

Traditionally, thyme has been used as an antibiotic to help fight infections and relieve coughs and sore throats. Thyme can help with practically any cough or respiratory problem.

Thyme can be taken into your system in many ways:

Food

  • Thyme can be added as a seasoning to almost all dishes such as soups, braises, sauces, rice dishes, vegetables, meat dishes, and even bread to enhance their flavor and fragrance. 
  • Thyme can be used as a garnish to make the dish more appealing to increase appetite and improve the aroma.

Preservative

  • Thyme is well-known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, so it is used to preserve meat and vegetables from spoilage.

Medicine

Thyme oil

  • Although thyme leaves are edible, oil extracted from these leaves is not but has various uses.
  • The essential oil of thyme when applied on the skin and hair helps with:
    • Stimulating blood circulation.
    • Clearing out blemishes and scars.
    • Leaving the skin radiant and giving a youthful look.
    • Reducing hair loss.
    • Improving alopecia.
  • It is important to dilute the essential oil in a neutral carrier oil before application. A very little quantity of oil is sufficient to gain the desired results.
  • There is a risk of allergic reactions if an essential oil is applied directly to the skin.
  • Moreover, thyme oil is used in a wide range of products such as:
    • Deodorants
    • Scented soaps

Insect repellent

  • Thyme leaves repel insects, so you may place them between linen and other fabrics to prevent damages from insects.

The process of making thyme tea

Thymol, the main component present in thyme, is a potent antioxidant. Tea made from the herb contains a few other potentially unique substances that contribute to its astonishing variety of health benefits.

Thyme tea is made from dried leaves that have been prepared and stalked up earlier. Stalks of thyme plant are cut, washed thoroughly, and hung to dry. Once dried completely, the leaves are removed and stored.

You may use the leaves as a whole or crush them into powder.

  • Add a spoonful of dried thyme leaves to two cups of boiling water and leave in low heat for five minutes.
  • Cover the teapot after adding leaves, which helps retain the fragrance and quickens the brewing process.
  • You may see the contents of the leaves seep slowly into the water, changing the color of the water.
  • Remove the pot from heat and let it cool down for one to two minutes.
  • Strain the tea into a cup, and you may add other components such as honey or lemon to enhance the taste of the tea before serving.

What are the side effects associated with thyme?

Thyme is consumed by many people through food, but some people may have certain reactions to compounds of the herb, such as thymol and carvacrol, which can irritate the mucous membranes in sensitive people.

  • Children:
    • Children younger than 10 years should not be given thyme herb.
    • People on antithyroid and thyroid replacement drugs should avoid using thyme because it interacts negatively with these treatments, impairing their effectiveness.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding:
    • No published studies have reported that this herb is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, but there are no contraindications.
    • However, because thyme has been used for centuries to promote menstruation, pregnant women may be at a risk of miscarriage in certain cases.
  • Bleeding disorders:
    • Thyme may help slow blood coagulation.
    • Taking thyme may increase your risk of bleeding, especially if taken in large quantities.
  • Sensitivity to hormones:
  • Surgery:
    • It may slow blood coagulation, which increases the possibility of further bleeding during and after surgery.
    • It should be discontinued at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Thyme is contraindicated in people who are allergic to other herbs such as oregano or mint.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/28/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Thyme Tea Benefits Both the Mind *and* Body—Here Are 5 Reasons to Add It to Your Anti-Stress Toolbox: https://www.wellandgood.com/thyme-tea-benefits/

Thyme Oil Uses and Benefits: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/blog/spotlight-thyme-oil