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Thyme, also known as pennyroyal or thyme, is an aromatic herb of the species Thymus vulgaris, which in addition to being used in cooking to give flavor and aroma to preparations, also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, expectorant and medicinal properties. neuroprotective, being therefore used in traditional medicine to treat he alth problems such as bronchitis, cough or even help in the treatment of Alzheimer's.
The parts normally used of thyme are its leaves or flowers, fresh or dehydrated, from which the active substances and essential oils of this herb are extracted.
Thyme can be purchased in its natural form in supermarkets and street markets, to use as a seasoning in cooking, but also in other formats for medicinal use, found in natural products stores and manipulation pharmacies, such as tea, tincture or essential oil.However, their medicinal use should always be done with the guidance of a doctor or other professional who has experience with the use of medicinal plants.
Watch the video with nutritionist Tatiana Zanin about the he alth benefits of thyme:
What is it for
Studies done with thyme have shown that this herb has several medicinal properties. That way it can be used for:
1. Fight cough
Thyme is rich in substances with anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antitussive action, such as carvacrol and γ-terpinene, which help to eliminate excess phlegm from the airways and fight cough caused by colds, bronchitis, asthma, inflammation of the pharynx or whooping cough.
2. Controlling blood pressure
The terpenoids present in the composition of thyme, such as thymol and α-terpineol, have an antihypertensive action that reduces blood pressure, being very useful to help control high blood pressure.
In addition, thyme, especially when used in its dried or dehydrated form, has large amounts of minerals, such as calcium and potassium, which help to increase blood vessel relaxation, allowing blood to circulate more easily., lowering blood pressure.
3. Prevent cardiovascular disease
The terpenoids present in thyme also have potent antioxidant action, which reduces the damage caused by free radicals in cells, keeps blood vessels he althy, helps to lower bad cholesterol levels and increases good cholesterol. Therefore, thyme can help prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke.
4. Fight acne
The thymol present in thyme, especially in the essential oil, has antiseptic, disinfectant and antimicrobial action, which help to fight acne and other skin problems, such as dermatitis, for example.
5. Keeping your teeth and gums he althy
Thyme essential oil is rich in thymol with antibacterial action, which acts by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth, such as Streptococcus mutans, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans, which can cause cavities or gingivitis.
6. Fight infections caused by fungi
Thymol and limonene, present in the composition of thyme essential oil, have strong antifungal action that helps eliminate fungi, such as Candida albicans, which can cause skin or nail infections.
In addition, thyme can help fight infection caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, present in the soil or in pigeon feces, and which can be transmitted to humans by inhalation, causing cryptococcosis, a disease that affects lungs and nervous system, which can lead to pneumonia or meningitis.
7. Fighting Anxiety and Stress
Some studies [1, 2] show that substances in thyme, such as kaemfrol, carvacrol, and linalool, help fight anxiety and stress by increasing neurotransmitter activity in the brain, such as GABA, which contributes to the body's feeling of relaxation, well-being and tranquility, reducing anxiety symptoms such as agitation and nervousness.
8. Aid in the treatment of Alzheimer's
Some studies show that thymol present in thyme [3, 4], can inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme responsible for degrading acetylcholine, which is an important brain neurotransmitter for the memory. People with Alzheimer's typically have a decrease in acetylcholine, which leads to memory loss and decreased ability to learn.
In addition, thymol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective action, reducing inflammation and damage caused by free radicals in the nervous system, which can help in the treatment of Alzheimer's.
However, more studies in people are still needed to prove these benefits.
9. Aid in the fight against cancer
Laboratory studies with cancer cells showed that thyme may have benefits in the fight against breast, intestine, cervix, liver and lung cancer, as it is rich in thymol and carvacrol, which are substances with anti-inflammatory action. -proliferative, meaning it reduces the growth of cancer cells  However, studies in people are still needed to prove these benefits.
How to use
Thyme in its natural form can be used in cooking as a seasoning for the preparation of meats, fish, vegetables or soups, for example.
For medicinal use, the parts of thyme used are its flowers and dry leaves from which its active substances and essential oil are extracted.
The main medicinal ways to use thyme are:
- Thyme Tea: Add 2 teaspoons of chopped dried thyme leaves to a cup of boiling water. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, strain and drink up to 3 times a day. If desired, it can be sweetened with honey, which also helps to hydrate the throat, relieving cough;
- Thyme Syrup: add 1 sprig of dried thyme to 3 cups of water and boil over low heat until the water evaporates, decreasing the initial amount by one-third. Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 3 minutes. Then, when it is warm, remove the thyme sprig and add half a cup of honey. Take a teaspoon of the syrup as needed. Store thyme syrup in a clean, dry glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months;
- Immersion bath with thyme: add 140 g of dried thyme leaves to 1 liter of water and boil. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 1 hour.Strain and add to bath water. This bath can be done once a week for about 10 to 20 minutes, and it is recommended to lie in bed for at least 1 hour after the bath;
- Inhalation: add 3 to 4 drops of thyme essential oil to 1 liter of boiling water. Then, cover your head with an open towel, so that it also covers the container containing the thyme essential oil solution. Lean your head over the container and breathe in the steam for 10 minutes. This towel helps keep the solution steaming longer.
Thyme essential oil should not be ingested, however it can be used on the skin or nails by mixing 1 to 3 drops of thyme essential oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or other vegetable oil.
Who should not use
Thyme should not be used during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in children under 6 years of age, or by people with heart failure, enterocolitis or in the post-surgical period, as it can delay clotting of the blood.It should be used with caution during menstruation, gastritis, ulcer, colitis, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome or in case of liver disease.
He althy Thyme Recipes
Some he althy, easy-to-prepare recipes that take advantage of the benefits of thyme are:
1. Roasted chicken with thyme
- 1 Sicilian lemon;
- 1 whole chicken;
- 1 large onion cut into four pieces;
- 1 red onion, coarsely chopped;
- 4 cloves of garlic;
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
- S alt and pepper to taste;
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter;
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Grease a baking sheet with a little oil or butter and place the chicken.Make several holes in the lemon with a fork and place inside the chicken. Add the onions and garlic around the chicken, drizzle with oil and season with s alt and pepper. Butter all over the chicken and cover with the thyme sprigs.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 200º C and bake for another 30 minutes or until the skin of the chicken is browned and the meat is cooked.
2. Salmon with thyme and garlic
- 500 g salmon fillet;
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil;
- 2 cloves of minced garlic;
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme;
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice;
- S alt to taste.
On a tray, season the salmon with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and s alt, leaving to marinate for about 30 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve next.