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Thyme

When it is applied to affected areas on skin or in mouth – it is able to kill germs just by contact

· Spice

What if I tell you that Mother Nature has most powerful antiseptic and it’s present in an herb/spice? When it is applied to affected areas on skin or in mouth – it is able to kill germs just by contact…The name of this volatile oil is Thymol, and the herb loaded with this magical potion is “Thyme”.

In olden days Egyptians used thyme in process of preserving the corpse known as mummification. It was also used as a pain reliever and as a cure for poison. The ancient Greeks used thyme like incense to purify and cleanse the surroundings. The word “thymon” means “to purify”, in Greek. Probably, that’s the reason it got the name “thyme”. The ancient Romans thought thyme boosted strength and hence used it in their bath water.

Exploring Thyme

There are more than 100 varieties of thyme. Thyme is native to the Mediterranean region and is very popular in the Middle East and North Africa. The most common and most strong source of thymol producing thyme is the “garden thyme”. Thyme is bushy plant with small green hairy leaves. Thyme is blessed with this unique, pleasant, smoky aroma and a strong, powerful taste. It is available in both fresh and dried form. If you want the flavor of thyme, use it in the beginning stage of cooking but if you want the gravy or sauce to have a aroma of thyme, use it towards the end.

Thyme is the key ingredients in the Mediterranean diet, which is the known as one of the healthiest diets of all. Thyme plays a major role in French cuisine giving it a prominent feel. It is significant ingredient in middle eastern spice mix named “za’atar.” Thyme is one of the most common spices Americans use. It is used in stuffings, crème sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles.

If you are fan of the blackened food from Cajun cooking then you must start using thyme, as thyme is one of the spices in the rubs used in Cajun cooking.

Health Benefits

1. Thyme can be used in soothing cough
There are many studies proving the effectiveness of thyme and ivy combination on acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is a contagious viral infection that causes inflammation of the airways, carrying air into your lungs. When these tubes get infected, they swell. Mucus (thick fluid) forms inside them. This contracts the airways, making it harder for you to breathe. Thyme can help calm the coughing down, it can also help loosen the mucus and relax the airways. Acute bronchitis can be treated safely and efficiently with thyme and ivy syrup.

2. Thyme is excellent for oral health
Thymol from thyme can brighten your teeth and refresh your breath. Thyme is greatly beneficial in treating oral problems like tooth decay, plaque and bad breath. With the help of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, thyme oil can kill germs in the mouth naturally. Therefore, thyme oil is commonly used in dental varnish to protect the teeth from decay.

3. Thyme is an immunity booster
Thymol from thyme is loaded with phytonutrients (plant compounds) called monoterpenes. Monoterpens have the volatile oils carvacrol, borneol and geraniol. They are all powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. They not only protect body from the chronic diseases but help in healing naturally. Including thyme in regular cooking can be helpful in keeping body as well as mind healthy. As thyme also helps in reducing stress and anxiety. It can help improve mood and calm your mind in stressful situations.

Thyme in the Kitchen

• Thyme can be used in any of the savory dish.
• Thyme can give nice flavor to gravies and sauces, soup, or chowders.
• Thyme can be used as one of the spices in the rub to flavor chicken or meat.
• Add dried thyme and lemon to melted butter to flavor sautéed shrimp.
• Sprinkle fresh or dried thyme with rosemary or chives or by itself on baked potatoes.
• Sprinkle dried thyme over root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, radishes.
Infuse a thyme branch in olive oil or in a bottle of vinaigrette dressing to make your own signature thyme dressing.
• Prepare Middle East spice blend called za’atar by adding 1 tablespoon of dried thyme with 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons of sumac, and ½ tsp salt.
• Sprinkle dried thyme into extra-virgin olive oil with black pepper and use it for dipping bread or as a dressing over salad.
• Add dried thyme to scrambled eggs or sunny side up.

Home remedies

1. To repel mosquitoes, rub thyme leaves between your hands and apply it to the exposed areas. This will release the essential oil which acts as a mosquito repellent.
2. Add dried thyme to potpourri for fresh aromatic surrounding.
3. For making homemade insects repellent mix 4 drops of thyme oil to 1 tsp of olive oil.
4. To reduce stress and ease fatigue, add leaves of fresh thyme or few drops of thyme oil to warm bath water.
5. To relieve menstrual cramps, rub 2 drops of thyme oil with equal parts carrier oil on your abdomen.
6. For a natural mouthwash, add 2 drops of thyme oil to water or steep few fresh or dried thyme leaves in warm water and gargle.
7. To relieve congestion, add few drops of thyme oil or thyme twigs to hot water and inhale the steam.
8. To get rid of infections and rashes, rub thyme oil to the affected area.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mixture which is a blend of sesame seeds, sumac, and oregano, thyme, or marjoram. It has a reputation of being a “brain food”, which is supported by research: both thyme and oregano contain a compound called carvacrol, which in mice, can affect dopamine and serotonin levels. Sesame seeds contain lipophilic antioxidants, which may prevent age-related diseases.

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