Benefits & Uses of Thyme
In this blog, you will find out what scientific research has revealed as to the health benefits of using thyme. You will also learn how to make your own thyme tea if you want to treat bronchitis, improve your digestive health, or get rid of a sore throat.
What is Thyme?
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is an aromatic plant that grows well in hot, sunny locations. Thyme has also been recognized for its medicinal properties and has been used widely in traditional medicine.
The Journal of Applied Biology & Biotechnology reports that thyme herb is packed with antioxidants. In fact, from among the various medicinal herbs, fresh thyme is the most potent herb with many health benefits. (1)
There is also a lot of nutritional content in thyme leaves. Thyme contains high levels of vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. Researchers have found that thyme contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus.
Because thyme tea is so healthy and good for you, it is sometimes recommended to treat mouth infections, alleviate digestive upset, and help cure respiratory infections. Its high levels of vitamin C means that thyme extracts are also good for strengthening your immune system. (1)
Thyme has aromatic flavor that tastes wonderful in most foods. Some people describe the taste of thyme as having a peppery taste with citrus and minty overtones.
Thyme essential oil
Thyme oil is also a powerful healing essential oil. For example, thyme essential oil has many health benefits due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The main component of essential oil from thyme is thymol which is a powerful antioxidant. (2)
Thyme essential oil is effective in killing off strains of bacteria such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Thyme oil also has antifungal properties. (2)
What is Thyme Tea?
Thyme tea is a healthy drink that gives you many of the health benefits of thyme in a refreshing tea. Steeping dried thyme leaves or fresh thyme in a cup of hot water helps to extract all the goodness and essential oils from the plant.
Researchers have found that drinking thyme tea benefits your respiratory system and treats coughs, bronchitis, and sore throats. Consuming thyme tea regularly has also been associated with reducing inflammation, alleviating symptoms of food poisoning, and improving sleep patterns. (1)
How to Make Thyme Tea
It is very easy to make thyme tea at home to give your health a boost. There are many ways that you can use thyme tea as a healthy drink or as a beneficial skin tonic.
This is a recipe for thyme tea with health-boosting properties:
- Pour boiling water in a cup and add 1 teaspoon of dried thyme (if using fresh thyme leaves, you will need to triple the amount).
- Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Strain the leaves and add a teaspoon of honey to taste once the tea has cooled somewhat to boost the nutritional content and flavor of thyme tea.
- Drink 2-3 times a day to boost your immunity, clear a cough, or get rid of the cold faster.
You can also leave thyme tea to cool to use as a gargle to cure a sore throat. You can also apply cooled thyme tea to your skin using a cotton ball to help clear skin infections and remove bacteria.
Health Benefits of Thyme
Let’s look at some of the many benefits of drinking thyme tea, inhaling thyme vapors, or using thyme extracts as a skin tonic.
As you read this article, you will find out how thyme can benefit your cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous system. (3)
Thyme Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
One of the benefits to your heart of drinking thyme tea is that it helps treat hypertension.
The journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition reported that the antioxidative properties of thyme help lower blood pressure. In animal studies, consuming thyme extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (4)
Another study found that consuming thyme extracts helped to reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate. One of the other cardiovascular benefits of thyme was to lower LDL cholesterol. This is the type of cholesterol that is connected with heart disease. (5)
If you have high blood pressure, consume 2-3 cups of thyme tea daily to help control hypertension.
You can also use thyme to lower blood pressure by using the deliciously-tasting herb as a flavor in your meals instead of salt. Doctors say that reducing unhealthy sodium in your diet is essential for your cardiovascular health and addressing hypertension. (6)
Learn more about other natural remedies, which will be covered in other blogs that can bring your blood pressure down and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Thyme Tea for the Common Cold and Flu
The antimicrobial properties of thyme, as well as its antispasmodic effect, mean that thyme tea is a great natural remedy for respiratory infections.
Research has shown that thyme contains compounds that help treat cold and flu infections naturally. Thyme is a powerful antibacterial plant that can help treat respiratory infections in humans. (7)
Thyme essential oil is also effective against multi drug-resistant bacteria. Research found that thyme helped kill off infections in the airways, mouth, and stomach. (8)
Other research has shown that consuming thyme while you have a cold can help to suppress coughing. Because thyme is a natural expectorant, consuming warm thyme tea can help to break up mucus if you have the flu or the cold. (9)
If you drink thyme tea to help get rid of the flu faster, add a spoon or two of raw honey to the tea once it had cooled a bit. The antimicrobial content in thyme along with the healing properties of locally sourced, organic honey (provided you are not allergic) can help you feel better quicker.
Another way to use thyme to clear a cold or flu infection is to inhale thyme essential oil aromas. Research has revealed that inhaling thyme vapors can help to treat respiratory tract infections. (10)
To clear your airways and help breathe easier, put a few drops of thyme essential oil in a bowl of hot water. Cover your head and deeply inhale the aromas of thyme for 10-15 minutes to help get rid of a respiratory infection.
If you need to clear your sinuses quickly, find out more about in our other blogs about natural recipes that can unblock your upper airways.
Thyme Helps Treat Strep Throat
You can also gargle with thyme tea to help get rid of a sore throat caused by a “strep” infection.
Research has found that thyme essential oil has an antimicrobial effect against various Streptococcus strains of bacteria. Breathing in the scent of thyme can help to treat bacterial throat infections naturally. (11)
Other scientific studies have shown that thyme helps to kill off oral pathogens that can cause infections. (12)
You can also gargle with thyme water to help relieve tonsillitis and a sore throat. Researchers have found that gargles containing thyme help to soothe the throat and maintain the mucous membranes. (13)
If you need to get rid of a sore throat quickly, use the inhalation method by putting thyme oil in your diffuser or breathing in the vapors.
To make a thyme tea gargle to help treat a strep throat, put 2 teaspoons of dried thyme leaves in a cup of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Take a mouthful of the thyme water and gargle for 1-2 minutes before spitting out. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day until your sore throat is better.
Thyme Tea Can Help Treat Bronchitis
The antibacterial, antispasmodic, and healing properties of thyme mean that it is an effective remedy for bronchial infections.
One study involving over 360 patients with bronchitis found that consuming thyme and primrose root drinks helped relieve its symptoms. Researchers found that the natural thyme remedy helped reduce the frequency and severity of coughing fits and break up mucus. (14)
Another study found that thyme and ivy leaf tea was helpful in treating symptoms of bronchitis. (15)
Consume 3 or 4 cups of soothing warm thyme tea daily to help treat your symptoms of bronchitis. You should find that the medicinal properties of thyme tea quickly break up mucus, relieve your coughing, and help you feel better quicker.
Thyme Benefits Symptoms of Allergies
One of the benefits of thyme tea is that the relaxing effect of thyme extracts on your respiratory system helps stop allergic reactions.
Breathing in airborne allergens can bring on coughing fits, wheezing, and sneezing. One study into the use of medicinal plants such as thyme found that it has antispasmodic properties. Thyme extracts can help to reduce symptoms of asthma and other respiratory symptoms. (16)
The results of other scientific studies have shown why thyme is good for treating asthma. Thyme compounds help reduce inflammation in the airways, address wheezing issues, and help make breathing easier. (17)
You could try inhaling the scent of thyme essential oil directly from the bottle or use it in a diffuser to help soothe inflammation in your airways. Also, drinking thyme tea regularly helps to relax muscles in the respiratory system and ease the symptoms of an asthma attack.
Thyme Can Treat Food Poisoning
Drinking thyme tea made from dried or fresh leaves is good if you have eaten food infected with bad microorganisms.
Food poisoning occurs when bacteria or germs are ingested, causing inflammation, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Drinking a cup of strong thyme tea could help to reduce abdominal cramping and also kill off the bacteria causing the infection.
Studies have shown that thyme extracts have antimicrobial properties against many pathogens that cause food poisoning. Adding thyme to food can help to prevent food spoilage and contamination. (18)
Thyme compounds such as thymol and carvacrol also kill off bugs that can cause gastroenteritis (severe stomach irritation due to a viral or bacterial infection). (19, 20)
Thyme Helps Treat Diarrhea
Thyme tea is a good, soothing drink to take if you suffer from watery or loose stool. Consuming thyme tea for diarrhea helps to keep you hydrated and also relaxes muscles in your colon.
The journal Mediators of Inflammation reported that thyme essential oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on the colon. In some cases, the effects of thyme medicinal compounds help to relieve symptoms of colitis such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. (21)
Because drinking thyme tea is good if you have food poisoning, thyme tea may help to prevent diarrhea caused by contaminated food.
Thyme Herbal Treatments for Yeast and Fungal Infections
The benefits of thyme also include killing off fungal and yeast pathogens that can cause infections.
Research has shown that thyme compounds thymol and carvacrol have fungicidal properties. Some studies have shown that thyme can help kill off fungal pathogens that cause tuberculosis or other pulmonary infections. (22)
Thyme essential oil can also eliminate the Candida albicans yeast that can infect the gastrointestinal tract. In one study, thyme oil was as effective as tea tree oil in destroying harmful yeast infections. (23)
To help get rid of a vaginal yeast infection, add 3 drops of thyme oil with a tablespoon of liquefied virgin coconut oil. Soak a tampon in the coconut oil and thyme remedy and insert into your vagina for an hour. Repeat daily to help reduce your symptoms of candidiasis. For more information on coconut oil, check out our blog on coconut oil.
Thyme to remove mold from rooms
Another way that thyme can benefit your health is that it can destroy mold spores on walls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn about dangers of mold in the home. Mold can cause allergies, blocked airways, asthma, and lung infections. (24)
You can easily get rid of mold by using thyme essential oil against mold fungus. In one study, thymol from thyme essential oil helped to destroy mold spores in damp homes. The researchers concluded that thyme essential oil can disinfect walls from mold spores. (25)
To get rid of mold spore from your home and prevent respiratory symptoms, make an anti-mold spray using thyme essential oil. Add 25 drops of thyme oil to a 16-oz. spray bottle containing white vinegar or 3% hydrogen peroxide. Spray liberally on surfaces that appear moldy and leave for 20 minutes. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove the spores and kill off the mold.
Alternatively, to use thyme essential oil to help prevent mold from developing in a room, put some drops of thyme oil in a diffuser.
Thyme Can Help Reduce Anxiety
Another of the many health benefits of thyme tea and thyme essential oil is to help you relax and relieve anxiety.
One study involving animals found that thyme has an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect. Consuming thyme extracts helped reduce stress and anxiety in rats. Scientists theorized that this helps back up claims for using thyme tea as an herbal remedy for anxiety. (26)
Other studies have shown that the thyme compound carvacrol may have anti-anxiety effects. (27)
Put a few drops of thyme essential oil on a tissue and breathe in deeply any time you need to help lower your anxiety levels. Or take a cup of relaxing thyme tea in the evening to help reduce stress levels.
Thyme Tincture Helps Reduce Acne Breakouts
Using cool thyme tea or a thyme tincture may help to reduce the number of pimples and infected pustules on your face.
Scientific research has found that thyme may be more effective than some pharmaceutical treatments for acne. Studies have shown that thyme kills off the Propionibacterium acnes strain of bacteria. These germs are often the cause of whiteheads, pimples, pustules, and acne cysts. (28)
The research found that a thyme tincture made by soaking thyme leaves in alcohol could be better than benzoyl peroxide – a common acne treatment.
You could also help get rid of acne using thyme tea by dipping a cotton ball in tea that has cooled. To make a homemade thyme facial cleanser for acne, add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to a glass thyme tea. Shake well before each application, apply to your face and leave for 15-20 minutes to help kill off acne-causing bacteria. Repeat 2 times a day to help keep your skin free from acne breakouts.
If you use thyme essential oil to treat acne breakouts, use 10-12 drops of essential oil for every 1 ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil and apply to the affected area.
Thyme Has Anticancer Properties
Powerful compounds in thyme have shown to be useful in killing cancer cells and shrinking tumors in laboratory experiments.
The journal Molecules reported that thyme essential oil has strong anti-cancer potential in treating prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer. (29)
At present, more research needs to be done to see how thyme compounds can be used to treat cancer in humans.
Precautions When Using Thyme
Thyme is a tasty herb that can improve the flavor of many foods. What’s more, adding thyme to your recipes or consuming thyme tea also has many health benefits.
However, there are some precautions to be aware of if you want to use thyme for its medicinal benefits. For example, some people have an allergy to plants in the family Lamiaceae, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, or basil.
Thyme could also interfere with blood-clotting medication and may cause extra bleeding if you have surgery. So, you should stop taking thyme about 2 weeks before any planned surgery.
Doctors also warn that thyme can have an estrogen-like effect. So, if you are a woman who is at risk of hormone-sensitive conditions such as ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, or endometriosis, you should avoid taking thyme medicinally. (30)