Thyme: The Pros and Cons

Thyme is such a versatile herb, one which is used in numerous meals, especially in the Mediterranean regions. Thyme has got an unignorably strong aroma, one which bears a slight similarity with mint, and can be used either dried or fresh. This spice has got loads of nutrients, making it fit to be added to your diet.

What are the Health Benefits of Thyme?

It Reduces the Risk of Cancer

Carvacrol, a compound in thyme, prevents cancers or tumor growth because it inhibits the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. This unhealthy spread is a nightmare for cancer patients, really. Gladly, thyme is useful in reducing the risk of cancer, and it can help with treatment, in situations where cancer already exists, colon cancer in particular.

It’s a Natural Anti-fungal

Thyme is a super effective anti-fungal agent. It is able to treat symptoms of the candida infections, whether as a yeast infection, skin rashes or thrush in the mouth. Keeping fungal levels under control is highly beneficial to the health. Thyme can be made into a topical solution and applied to affected areas of the skin.

Great for the Digestive Tract

The digestive tract is one of the body’s primary defense systems. Thyme is able to offer support to the digestive system. An essential oil, thymol, found in thyme, aids digestion, and peristaltic muscle movements so that food is not held in the stomach for prolonged periods of time. That’s not all, as it also reduces bloating from malabsorption It also relieves stomach cramps.

Functions as a Diuretic

Water and electrolyte levels get balanced in the body so that excess fluid is not retained or lost. However, there are times that the body requires increased diuresis or urination, for instance, when one suffers from high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. Promoting regular diuresis is vital for healthy kidneys because holding the bladder for long periods increases the risk of developing kidney stones. Thyme is a mild natural diuretic that promotes the release of urine and can help balance fluid and electrolyte levels when appropriate.

It Reduces Inflammation and Pain

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When one suffers an injury, it is mediated by chemical compounds in order for the brain to perceive the pain. This major chemical mediator, cyclooxygenase (COX), is an enzyme that facilitates localized inflammation in an attempt to quarantine the area of origin. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds, because it results in immense pain. But rejoice, because thyme suppresses the level of COX by as much as 80%, lessening the pain and tenderness felt.
To enjoy this benefit, you can consume thyme or use it in a topical application, directly on the area where the pain is felt. The concoction works perfectly useful for muscular and joint pain.

Prevents Food Poisoning

Food made with thyme lasts longer. In addition to that, thyme kills the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Food poisoning is such a terrible condition, one associated with vomiting, diarrhea and, severe dehydration if not properly taken care of. Spice up your food with thyme, or rinse raw food in it to avoid foods poisoning.

Improves Mood and Wellbeing

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Thyme has got a compound called carvacrol. This compound has positive effects on moods if consumed consistently for seven days. It does this by increasing levels of both serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that are necessary for a drive, motivation, and overall mood. Thyme is just great for mental health.

Supports Brain Health

the human brain

Did you know that we age, the brain, like other parts of the body, is subject to degradation and breakdown? Among them is oxidation, which can cause adverse changes to the brain at speeds that should be reserved for those much older. Thyme is bursting with anti-oxidants which preserve brain health for a long while. What’s more? Thyme is protective of essential fats such as omega-3, which preserve mental wellbeing and cognitive function, even till old age.

Enhances the Respiratory System

The importance of well-functioning lungs cannot be overemphasized. Thyme, for centuries, has been used as a treat the lungs, reducing symptoms of respiratory deficiency such as bronchitis. Wondering what that is? Bronchitis is a condition resulting in inflammation of tiny structures within the lungs known as bronchioles, which make breathing herculean. Thyme exerts anti-inflammatory effects in the lungs, ensuring thin mucus secretions and fighting microbes which may be the cause of an underlying infection. Thyme possesses anti-bacterial effect as well, so it should be used by anyone suffering from respiratory disorders.

Side Effects Of Thyme

Irritated Mucus Membranes

Thyme contains two compounds – thymol and carvacrol. People with sensitive body systems suffer irritation of the mucous membranes after an intake of thyme because of these compounds.

Unsafe for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Research is still on in this area,  however,  thyme has been proven to induce menstruation, hence, there are chances that pregnant women might be at the risk of miscarriage after they consume it.

Putting the Heart at Risk

Heart conditions such as tachypnea, seizure, and cardiac arrest are possible side effects of consuming excess thyme. Wondering why? It is assumed that excessive dosage or allergy to the mint family could be the reason for this side effect.


People who are allergic to rosemary, basil, catmint, and celery need to avoid using thyme because it belongs to the same family as the aforementioned: Lamiaceae, the family of mint.

Unsafe for Hypertensive People

Thyme possesses blood pressure elevating properties. People who suffer high BP may need to stay away from thyme in the form of herbs, essential oil, and tea.

Adverse Reaction on Thyroid

This occurs with a specific thyme species – the Thymus serpyllum. It could have a negative impact on the thyroid gland.

Inflammation on the Skin

People who apply Listerine as an antiseptic for toe’s chronic parenchyma experienced skin inflammations. While this could be an allergic reaction, it is fitting to avoid applying thyme included ingredients on skin breakdowns and atopic people.

Interactions with Prescribed Drugs

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People on anti-thyroid and thyroid replacement medications might need to avoid thyme to avoid thyme because it inversely reacts with these medications, preventing their functions.

Herb Interactions

Using thyme with certain supplements and herbs can affect the expected hormonal effects.

Interesting Facts about Thyme!

  • Thyme has been associated with courage for a long time now. The Greeks, the Romans, and the knights of the Middle Ages all thought thyme gave one strength and courage.
  • The ancient Greeks sprinkled thyme in their baths.
  • There are over a hundred varieties of thyme.
  • The ancient Egyptians used thyme in the mummification process.
  • In the Middle Ages, people placed it under their pillows to prevent nightmares and aid sleep.
  • In France and England, people often created a bed of thyme to attract fairies and make them feel at home in the garden.
  • Oberon, the king of the fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, says, “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,” referring to the bed of thyme in which Titania, the fairy queen, sleeps.
  • A 17th-century recipe with thyme as one of the main ingredients claims to enable people to see fairies.
  • Hymettus honey from Greece is made from bees who gather pollen from wild thyme on Mount Hymettus.
  • The active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash is thymol.
  • When the Greeks said that someone “smelled of thyme” it meant that the person was elegant, refined, and stylish.
  • The Greeks burnt thyme as incense in sacred temples.
  • The Romans used thyme in the treatment of depression.
  • Thyme was placed in coffins to ensure passage to the ‘next world’.