Thyme is a condiment widely used in cooking along with bay leaves and other herbes de provence (mixture of dried herbs used for seasoning). But did you know that thyme is also a medicinal plant with many virtues, used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years ?
In this article, we will quote the medicinal properties of thyme currently recognized by the scientific community.
Botanical and Common Names of Thyme
Common thyme or cultivated thyme is a perennial and aromatic sub-shrub that belongs to the Lamiaceae family (basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, thyme and rosemary). The botanical name of common thyme is ‘Thymus Vulgaris ‘ and its common names are wild thyme or farigoule in Provence.
Thyme and Active Components of The Plant
Thyme contains an essential oil consisting of THYMOL and CARVACROL, caffeic and rosmarinic acid, tannins and flavonoids including apigenin(or apigénol), naringenin, luteolin (or luteolol) and thymonin. Thyme leaves are also rich in vitamins B1, C and magnesium.
5 Thyme Properties
1) Thyme and Antibacterial Properties
Several studies have confirmed the thyme’s antibacterial action against Gram positive and Gram negative-type pathogenic bacteria. These studies suggested the use of an antibiotic such as thyme.
Thymol is 25 times more efficient than phenol, a powerful antiseptic used in medicine, but less toxic. Carvacrol, meanwhile, prevents the growth of several strains of bacteria such as the coliform bacillus Escherichia coli (E.coli) and bacillus ‘Bacillus cereus’.
2) Thyme and Antiviral Virtues
Thyme is also a remedy against viruses. A thyme infusion is counted among the ‘grandmothers recipes’ known to fight against fever and flu viruses. Recently, science has begun to explore the antiviral properties of thyme. It turns out that thyme has antiviral properties against herpes simplex.
3) Thyme and Fungal Properties
Thyme is a powerful antifungal medicine. Its essential oil is often used for this purpose. Several studies have found that thyme essential oil is natural fungicide with a broad spectrum of action.
4) Thyme and Anti-inflammatory Virtues
A recent study indicated that thyme essential oil can reduce inflammation. The researchers compared the therapeutic effect of the thyme essential oil with six other essential oils, noting that thyme oil performs the most powerful anti-inflammatory action.
Indeed, it is capable of inhibiting an enzyme called Cyclooxygenase-2 or COX-2. When the Cox-2 enzyme is blocked, inflammation decreases. The essential oil of thyme plays the same role as Ibuprofen, a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) to treat pain and inflammation.
5) Thyme and Antioxidant Action
The flavonoids in thyme (apigenin, naringenin, luteolin and thymonine) in combination with vitamins and minerals, exert a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants protect the cell from oxidation.
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