The health benefits of thyme include relief from respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, improved mental acuity and protection from cancer-causing toxins. These benefits are the result of thyme's rich antioxidant content.
Thyme contains a variety of important bioflavonoids and volatile oils, including thymol. Thymol is an essential oil that has very powerful antioxidant properties. Because of its unique blend of antioxidants, thyme is considered one of the top antioxidant foods around.
Thyme is also a powerful antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Many herbal medicinal preparations contain thyme or one of its essential oils.
Thyme is a very good source of calcium, iron, manganese, chromium, vitamin K and fiber.
It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as thyme have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them one of the top antioxidant foods around.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
Antioxidants work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
Thyme's essential oils have expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties, making it useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis, sore throats, coughs, laryngitis and asthma.
The health benefits of thyme are useful in mouthwashes to treat inflammations of the mouth, throat infections and to prevent gingivitis. Thyme is a common ingredient in herbal cough drops.
The health benefits of thyme has been found to help relax the muscles of the stomach, so it can be used to alleviate gastrointestinal problems such as chronic gastritis, lack of appetite, indigestion, irritable bowel and colic. Thyme works to remove parasites in the gastrointestinal tract. Drinking a tea brewed with thyme is useful for helping to dissolve and remove mucus from the intestinal tract.
Thyme contains terpenoids like rosmarinic and ursolic acids, which are recognized for their cancer preventive properties. Regular consumption of thyme has been shown to increase the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes.
Thyme has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, skin diseases and muscle cramps. As a tonic, thyme is believed to stimulate the nervous system, alleviating such nervous disorders as depression, nightmares, nervous exhaustion and insomnia. Thyme acts as a memory booster and helps you concentrate.
Externally applied, the health benefits of thyme have been used to help treat dental decay, plaque, thrush, and wounds and bruises. It is said to be effective for destroying skin parasites, such as scabies, crabs and lice.
The health benefits of thyme are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. However, as with any herb or spice, you may find it impractical to include thyme in your meal plans that often. There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some thyme (and other spices) to your recipe.
Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I personally use herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley in my green smoothie recipes to give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the other flavors in your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and turmeric in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on How to Make a Smoothie the Healthy Way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
More about thyme and ways to use it at
The World's Healthiest Foods/Thyme
As with most herbs, thyme is best used fresh. However, if you want to get all of the health benefits of thyme, you'll need to consume more than you'd probably want on a regular basis. That's when you'll want to buy in bulk, or use other types of thyme products.
You want to avoid typical supermarket brands of bottled spices. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present. Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, I've got a wonderful online source for premium-quality organic spices — Starwest Botanicals and iHerb.com.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
Today, Starwest is one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the United States, with over a million pounds of herbs and spices in stock. You can get discount prices on their premium-quality products by purchasing them at iHerb's Starwest Botanical Store.
The health benefits of thyme are also available in as thyme oil. You can find thyme oil products, as well as hundreds of other nutritional supplements and natural health products at iHerb.com. There's many reasons why iHerb is a great place to shop:
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