Thyme, here is a simply wonderful little plant! Consider that thyme was already known as a natural remedy at the time of the ancient Greeks, who used it to protect the liver and intestines. Several centuries later, thyme was taken into great consideration, so much so that Charlemagne even ordered its cultivation! Nowadays no one would ever dream of ordering thyme to be planted and cultivated, but we can certainly do it ourselves spontaneously, on the balcony or in the garden. So let's try to understand why thyme should never be missing, based on the most recent scientific research. We will then also talk about the best recipes to exploit the beneficial properties of thyme.
Aromatic herbs are often considered just a way to add more flavor to dishes. But this is a mistake, these seedlings are much more! Suffice it to say that thyme, scientific name Thymus vulgaris, contains precious antioxidants that give it anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, such as the phenols thymol and carvacrol, phenolic acids, such as rosmarinic and caffeic acid, and the flavonoids luteolin, quercetin and apigenin. Not only that, thyme is a source of vitamins, such as vitamin C, A and B6, and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and selenium (Nadi et al, J Herb Med, 2023).
Thyme and liver
Thyme is hepatoprotective and protects the liver from possible damage caused by chronic inflammation and free radicals (Rostami et al, Biomed Res Int, 2022). Not only that, thyme also counteracts liver damage caused by toxic substances, such as aflatoxins and nitrosamines, and fatty liver resulting from a high-fat diet (Sheng et al, Foods, 2023).
Thyme for the immune system and against seasonal ailments
As advised by the great herbalist Messegue, thyme should be used especially in periods when flu appears, to strengthen the immune defenses and act with an antiseptic action (Messegue, My herbarium). What the herbalist stated is confirmed by the countless scientific studies dedicated to the properties of thyme. In fact, it has emerged that thyme has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and is capable of regulating the immune system, proving to be an additional ally against the flu but also Covid 19 (Nadi et al, J Herb Med, 2023).
Thyme for the well-being of the respiratory tract
Thyme is antiseptic, expectorant and antispasmodic. Thanks to these characteristics, thyme is useful in combating asthma, but also coughs, bronchitis, sore throats and colds (Nadi et al, J Herb Med, 2023). In order for the airways to benefit from the action of thyme, it is possible to take thyme in the form of an aromatic herb or herbal tea, some recipes will be explained in the last paragraphs, but it is also possible to inhale it in the form of an essential oil. In particular, inhaling the essential oil has been shown to reduce airway hyperreactivity and inflammation (Csikos et al, Molecules, 2020).
Thyme and heart
Thyme stimulates circulation and combats diseases of the cardiovascular system (Messegue, My herbarium - Nadi et al, J Herb Med, 2023). Thanks to the antioxidants present, thyme also helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol (Klimiuk et al, Antioxidants, 2023).
Thyme and extra virgin olive oil, the synergy for the gut microbiota
Thyme supports the good bacteria of the gut microbiota with benefits throughout the body, from a reduction in chronic inflammation to improvements in the case of fatty liver. A powerful synergy was found by mixing extra virgin olive oil and thyme in order to obtain a condiment with a powerful prebiotic action (Nadi et al, J Herb Med, 2023).
Thyme in the kitchen
Thyme can be added to culinary preparations, preferably at the end of cooking. You can use thyme as a flavorful note in sauces to season pasta, an example is provided by autumn pasta with pumpkin and shiitake mushrooms or even linguine pasta with mushrooms and curry, but also to enrich baked potatoes, soups, sauces or, why not, salads.
Herbal teas with thyme
As a preventive action in the autumn and winter months to combat the flu, Messegue's advice is to prepare an herbal tea with thyme, two pinches of dried plant in a cup of boiling water, to be left to infuse for ten minutes. For the well-being of the respiratory tract and to combat asthma, you can prepare a powerful herbal tea, by boiling a cup of water and adding a pinch of thyme, one of rosemary and one of verbena. Leave everything to infuse for ten minutes, then filter and drink.
The properties of thyme honey
Thyme honey is another very interesting product with powerful anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Rinses with thyme honey, prepared with 100 ml of water boiled and then cooled and 20 ml of thyme honey, have also proven useful in case of dry mouth, a condition often associated with advanced age and the use of some drugs and which can worsen oral health (Ibrahim et al, Eur J Med Res, 2023).
Thyme is generally considered safe. However, if you intend to start a thyme-based treatment, pay attention and ask your doctor for advice if you take medications or have thyroid dysfunction (Posadzki et al, Br J Clin Pharmacol, 2023). Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to the absence of studies that testify to the safety of thyme in these phases, pay attention in case of ulcers and gastritis (Firenzuoli, herbs, foods and drugs, Edra).