In today’s busy world, people struggle to maintain their health. We are stressed by our jobs, constantly surrounded by unhealthy processed foods, and find little time for exercise. Many of us live in unhealthy environments, often without even being aware of it. The U.S. Center for Health Statistics reports that 46.9% of people have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days (ranging from 21.5% for children under 18 years to 90.6% of adults age 65 and older).1
In a rebellion against Big Pharma, people are increasingly turning back to natural remedies. Incredibly, Big Pharma—in its relentless search for new drugs it can patent—is stepping up research on natural compounds they can synthesize into expensive prescription drugs.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has been known by herbalists to provide relief for a wide range of health problems. With its major medicinal constituents being the phenols Thymol and Carvacrol,2 thyme provides a host of benefits ranging from treatment for bronchitis, sore throat, autoimmune disorders, and much more. Here is a simple way to get the benefits of thyme without harmful chemicals.
A Simple but Potent Natural Remedy3, 10
Several sprigs (a good handful) of dried thyme
One and a half cup of filtered water
Teaspoon of organic honey – optional (raw is best, if you can find it!)
Wash thyme to remove garden debris
Boil filtered water
Add thyme to water after it begins boiling
Turn off the heat and steep the thyme for 10-15 minutes (adjust time, depending on how you like the mixture)
Strain into a cup
Add honey, if you want to include it
It is suggested that you drink this daily.
Here is more detail about the known and emerging benefits of this remarkable herb!
Researchers at the University of Teramo in Italy studied thyme extract and found it to have strong antioxidant capacity owing to the high content of the phenol Thymol.4 Similar findings have been reported by researchers at Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany.5
Inflammatory & Autoimmune Diseases – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, Multiple Sclerosis
Researchers from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid looked at the effects that thyme extracts have on the inflammatory disease process at the cellular level. They found thyme extract reduced the release of “proinflammatory” agents (cytokines) while increasing the secretion of anti-inflammatory macrophages, which are white blood cells that digest damaged or dead cells. The researchers concluded, “These results may suggest that essential oils from thyme extracts could be used as novel options for treatment of chronic diseases based on inflammatory processes.”6
This could have important implications for people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A team from Stanford University looked at markers for inflammation in the blood of CFS patients. They have found that those who experience severe CFS have the highest levels of proinflammatory cytokines.7
Treatment for multiple sclerosis is increasingly targeting therapies to block what has been called a “cytokine storm” caused by immune cells attacking and degrading the insulation that keeps neuronal signals moving in the brain.8, 9
Treatment of Coughs and Bronchitis
The Special Expert Committee of the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has approved thyme as a treatment for cold-related coughs, bronchitis and whooping cough, also known as pertussis.10, 11 It is also recognized by the European Medicines Agency to be well-established in traditional herbal medicine for use as an expectorant in case of productive cough.12
Thyme has been used to fight disease since ancient times. Virgil wrote about thyme in the Georgics (29 BC) and its use as a fumigator.2
Thymol was used as a battlefield antiseptic during World War I.11 More recently, laboratory studies from researchers at the Medical University of Lodz have demonstrated that thyme extract has strong antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas genera, including antibiotic resistant strains.13
Regulate Blood Pressure
A team of researchers from several universities in Pakistan studied the antihypertensive effect of thyme in rats. Not only did the project demonstrate a decrease in heart rate, but they also found a decrease in bad cholesterol levels and an increase in good cholesterol levels. In their conclusion, the team went so far as to state that the effects of the thyme extract were “quite similar to those of anti-hyperlipidemic drugs like statins.”14
The other prominent phenol in thyme, carvacrol, is a great natural remedy for sore throat relief. Researchers from Italy’s Polytechnic University of Marche tested the effectiveness thyme’s carvacrol against Group A streptococci isolated from children with tonsillitis. They found the antimicrobial activity of carvacrol to be high.15
Thyme tea is said to be beneficial for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.16 Dr. Eric Osansky recommends thyme as a beneficial spice for people with Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.17
Vertigo- Meniere’s Disease
We haven’t seen academic studies of this yet, but a commonly mentioned folk remedy is making a tea of fenugreek and thyme for the dizziness associated with Meniere’s Disease.18
Bottom Line: Many of the academic studies described here are offering insights into the chemical actions responsible for the medicinal benefits of thyme extract—proving what herbalists have known for centuries. The Simple but Potent Remedy offered at the beginning of the article is an excellent way to enjoy the health effects of thyme. But, don’t let it stop there, add thyme as a seasoning to many of your favorite meals, especially when your immune system may need an extra boost to make sure that thyme is on your side!
Herbs can be very powerful medicine. People on the following pharmaceuticals should consult their health care providers about the use of time: blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin. See University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center Guide.
1U.S. Center for Health Statistics. NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Table 79. Prescription drug use in the past 30 days, by sex, race and Hispanic origin, and age: United States, selected years 1988-1994 through 2011-2014. 2016; p. 293.
2Grieve, Margaret. “Thyme, Garden.” In A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications, 1971 (republication of 1931 work).
3Gotta Do The Right Thing. Herbal Remedy for Treating Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Thyroid Problems, and More. http://gottadotherightthing.com/herbal-remedy-treating-fatigue/?c=eic
4Pellegrini M, et al. Characterization of Essential Oils Obtained from Abruzzo Autochthonous Plants: Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities Assessment for Food Application. Foods. 2018;7(2).pii:E19.
5Schwarz K, Ernst H, Ternes W. Evaluation of antioxidative constituents from Thyme. J Sci Food Agric 1996;70:217–23.
6Ocaña A, Reglero G. Effects of Thyme Extract Oils (from Thymus vulgaris, Thymus zygis, and Thymus hyemalis) on Cytokine Production and Gene Expression of oxLDL-Stimulated THP-1-Macrophages. Journal of Obesity. 2012;2012:104706.
7Montoya JG, et al. Cytokine signature associated with disease severity in chronic fatigue syndrome patients. PNAS. 2017;114(34):E7150-E7158.
8Link H. The cytokine storm in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis. 1998;4(1):12-15.
9Rasouli J, et al. Expression of GM-CSF in T Cells Is Increased in Multiple Sclerosis and Suppressed by IFN- Therapy. The Journal of Immunology, 2015; 194(11):5085-5093.
10German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy). Thyme (Thymi herba). Published December 5, 1984; Revised March 13, 1990, and December 2, 1992. https://buecher.heilpflanzen-welt.de/BGA-Commission-E-Monographs/0357.htm
11Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs. The Essential Guide to More Than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies. New York: Rodale Books, 2009, page 459.
12Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). European Union herbal monograph on Thymus vulgaris L. and Thymus zygis L., herba and Primula veris L. and Primula elatior (L.) Hill, radix. EMA/HMPC/84990/2015. January 28, 2015.
13Sienkiewicz, M. Antibacterial activity of thyme and lavender essential oils. Medicinal Chemistry. 2011:7(6):674-89.
14Alamgeer MSA, et al. Pharmacological evaluation of antihypertensive effect of aerial parts of Thymus linearis benth. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica. 2014;71(4):677-682.
15Magi G, Marini E, Facinelli B. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and carvacrol, and synergy of carvacrol and erythromycin, against clinical, erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococci. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2015;6:165
16Medical Medium Blog. Thyme Tea. February 19, 2016. http://www.medicalmedium.com/blog/thyme-tea
17Osansky, Eric. Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods. Graves’ Disease & Hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s & Hypothyroidism. 7 Spices Most Thyroid Suffers Should Consume. http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/about/
18Health Care Tips. Meniere’s Disease. Natural Remedies for Fighting Dizziness. June 12, 2014. https://thenewknowledge.wordpress.com/tag/menieres-disease/
19University of Maryland Medical Center Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/cellulitis
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