Thyme Health Benefits and Side Effects

Written by: Christopher Karam | ✔️ Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Riad M., M.D - G.P and Micheal B., M.D | Last Updated: 2020 July 19

What Is Thyme?

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) is a species of cooking herbs that are part of the mint family Lamiaceae. The word “thyme” is derived from the Greek word thumus, also known as courage. Thyme is also known as “tomillo” in Spanish.

Thyme leaves are one of the most commonly used cooking herbs in the world as its woodsy, pungent, and mildly spicy flavor are similar in taste to camphor or pine. The smell of thyme comes from its essential oil, called thymol.

The thyme plant is highly aromatic and can be used entirely in most cooking recipes, although the stems are not edible.

Sprigs of thyme are entirely edible, while its stems are used in stocks and soups to extract its full flavor. It’s commonly used to flavor anything from meat, fish, soups, bread, and vegetables.

Although thyme is natively grown in Eurasia, it’s currently cultivated worldwide. Certain countries, such as France, use thyme herbs to make liquor and perfumes infused with thymol.

silver thyme leaves and plants

The Origin of Thyme

The origin and use of thyme originated in southern Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Egypt, Bosnia, France, Algeria, Turkey, and Spain.

For thousands of years, thyme has held the reputation of being a healing herb and a sign of protection.

In Rome, thyme plants were found in every garden of the elites and emperors where it was revered as a herb that would stop the effects and exposure to poisons.

Thyme leaves were also eaten before meals as it was believed to cure poison, which made it very sought after and popular among Roman emperors.

During the middle ages, Rome and Greece used thyme was a symbol of bravery, courage, and strength in times of war.

Soldiers would exchange fresh sprigs of thyme to show each other respect and they would often pin them to their clothing or armor as a badge of honor.

In 1347 when the bubonic plague (the black death) reached the majority of the population in Europe, people used thyme as an essential oil in medicines to help relieve sores and other symptoms. At the time, thyme was widely grown in herb gardens throughout Europe.

This practice was continued all the way into the 19th century when Victorians continued to use thyme essential oils to fight viral and bacterial infections.

In addition to its medicinal uses, thyme has always been a popular culinary ingredient in traditional cooking recipes along with fresh sage and rosemary.

Most of the uses and health benefits of thyme stem from its essential oil, thymol. Thymol has many uses and is usually found in mouthwashes, hand sanitizers, and acne medications for its powerful antiseptic properties.

Cultivating and Planting Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic flowering herb that’s best cooked with when it’s fresh. Thyme herbs are both used fresh or dried, as it’s very good at retaining its aromatics, flavor, and healthy plant-based compounds.

The thyme plant is a shrub generally grows low to the ground making it a beautiful ornamental ground cover.

Thyme is a perennial herb that grows best during the spring and summer seasons, between April and May as the soil gets warmer.

It’s best cultivated in very sunny areas and is able to withstand periods of drought, as it’s less dependent on very moist soil to properly grow.

Thyme herbs are also great to grow along other companion plants as they prevent worms, flea beetles, cabbage moths, as well as corn and tomato hornworms.

Herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables that grow and pair well with thyme include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables: arugula, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy, swiss chard, turnips, kale, watercress, and collard greens

  • Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, melons and watermelons

  • Vegetables: eggplants, garlic, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, white onions, red onions, shallots, carrots, corn, cucumber, leeks, lettuce, peas and green beans, chili peppers, bell peppers, spinach, and squash

  • Beans and legumes

  • Herbs and spices: rosemary, sage, parsley, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, cilantro, basil, chives, and dill

  • Flower and plants: roses, lavender, marigold, nasturtium, and sunflowers

Herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables that don’t grow or pair well with thyme include:

  • Mint

Thyme is one of the most complimentary herbs you can plant without negatively impacting your other plants.

How To Plant Thyme

Planing thyme is also very straight forward, here’s how to plant and harvest thyme:

  • Plant family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

  • Sowing time (planting time): You’re able to sow thyme seeds all year round, but through February to late May, you must sow the seeds indoors.

    You’re able to plant your thyme seeds outside through late May to June. Seedlings usually appear between 21 to 35 days.

  • Flowering period: Spring to Summer (late March to September)

  • Harvest time: You’re able to harvest thyme for most of the year, from Late June to next January. While also waiting at least 40 days after transplanting or 70 days after seeding.

  • Transplanting: To propagate the thyme plant, cut young branches off the main stems keeping about 10 cm (4 in) in height.

    Remove the leaves off the bottom half of the stalk, planting them 25 cm (10 in) apart in a separate pot or garden section.

  • Location and sun exposure: Full exposure to the sun, or any sunny location with good water drainage. Outdoor temperatures between 20 to 30 °C (68-86°F)

  • Soil quality: Fertile and nutrient-rich soil work best

  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 8 (slightly acidic to neutral)

  • Soil temperature: Hot temperatures, anything above 18°C (65°F). Cold and damp soil will kill the plant

Characteristics of The Plant

Thyme herbs grow in the shape of a shrub, at a height of around 15 cm (6 in) to 40 cm (16 in) tall depending on the species.

While other species like creeping thyme and lemon thyme create tall stems with pink and purple flowers.

Thyme grows lavender and flowers that bloom in shades of white, pink, and purple. Its flowers are just as fragrant, they also attract bees and can be used to make thyme honey.

The stems of the plant are woody and stiff. The leaves are small in size, oval in shape, as well as gray-ish and green in color.

Thyme leaves are strongly aromatic, with a fragrance of both cloves and mint.

english thyme herbs and plant

Nutrition Facts of Thyme

When using thyme for cooking, every part of the herb can be used and each part is full of nutrition. Thyme stems are full of essential oils, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy plant-based compounds.

While fresh thyme leaves are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Thyme can also be replaced with marjoram and oregano for replacing both taste and nutritional benefits. Whole sprigs of thyme contain:

  • Flavonoids: apigenin, quercetin, naringenin, geraniol, linalool, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, luteolin, and thymonin

  • Thymol

  • Carvacrol

  • Phenolic compounds and acids: polyphenols, catechins, caffeic acid, anthocyanins, lycopene, ellagic acid, pectin, stigmasterol, coumaric acid, and ferulic acid

  • Tannins

  • Saponins

  • Carotenoids

  • Retinol

  • Iron

  • Zinc

  • Calcium

  • Copper

  • Magnesium

  • Vitamins A, C, E, K, and b-complex

Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antidiabetic, and antitumor. Making it very important to have a lot of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet.

Cooking With Thyme

Thyme is a very versatile cooking herb, it spices up and adds a lot of contrasting flavors to many different foods, dishes, and recipes.

Fresh and dried thyme are used in native recipes throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Africa.

Dried thyme leaves are used in most cooking recipes, while the whole sprigs are used in water-based recipes like soups and broths.

It has been used in Italian, French, and Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, thyme gives a light pungent flavor that complements meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Whole sprigs of thyme can also be used over whole meats like turkey, lamb chops, and fillet steaks since it can resist high-temperature cooking.

Rosemary and thyme leaves are also classically used in Italian focaccia bread, along with extra virgin olive oil.

Foods that pair well with thyme include:

  • Meats and proteins such as: beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, and shellfish

  • Vegetables and legumes such as: beans, cabbage, carrots, corn, eggplant, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, lemon, lime, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini, green beans, kale, spinach

  • Herbs, seasonings, and spices such as: garlic, ginger, parsley, rosemary, basil, sage, mint, dill, oregano, turmeric, chives, saffron, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, salt and black pepper

  • Cooking oils such as: olive oil, avocado oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and rice bran oil

  • Rice

  • Quinoa

  • Butter

  • Tea

They can also be baked into bread and stuffing or mixed into soups, sauces, roasted with vegetables, or added to cheeses, and pasta dishes with other spices.

Thyme leaves that are fresh from the garden have the best taste, but dry thyme works as well. Thyme’s essential oils are even used in aromatherapy and in supplements.

Although fresh and ground thyme are both easily found in supermarkets, most gardeners and cooking enthusiasts grow thyme at home.

Thyme Health Benefits

1. Improves Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

One of the most powerful health benefits of thyme is its ability to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure and hypertension affect a majority of the North American population, at around 33% of Canadians and 50% of Americans.

wooden spoon with dried thyme leaves

Adding a good mix of healthy herbs to your diet can be a natural way to reduce heightened blood pressure levels (HBP).

Thyme, along with basil, have the strongest effets on relieving symptoms of hypertension.

Multiple studies conducted on rats and other animals found that wild thyme significantly reduced blood pressure.

Over the 8 week study, the symptoms of hypertension were reduced by around 30%. This was accomplished by thyme’s phenolic compounds heavily reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Coupled with other healthy cooking herbs, the health benefits were amplified by an additional 22.5%, this was in addition to reducing your salt intake (sodium).

Additionally, another study found that 250 mg of thyme extract daily for 3 weeks lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while improving good (HDL) cholesterol by around 40%.

2. Thyme Treats Acne

Acne vulgaris (AV) is a disease that causes inflammatory lesions and scarring on the skin.

This occurs when oil production accelerates during puberty and well into adulthood, affecting around 50% of women aged between 20 to 30.

A dietary study conducted on a group of women found that the group that consumed a diet rich in tea, sunflower oil, thymus vulgaris extract, and turmeric found a drastically reduced rate of acne.

The amount of inflammatory lesions and tissue scarring was reduced by 71.1%, non-inflammatory lesions by 72.7%.

These beneficial results surpassed typical medicated acne creams which reduced both rates by 51% and 53% respectively.

Turmeric, thyme, and most teas have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, similar to coconut oil. All of which are extremely helpful in treating acne.

A study conducted by researchers at the Leeds Metropolitan University found that thyme tinctures killed acne bacteria at a higher efficiency to alcohol and benzoyl peroxide, which are the most common ingredients in acne treatments and acne medications.

This has additional benefits of avoiding the irritation and inflammation caused by benzoyl peroxide-based chemicals and treatments.

3. Helps Relieve Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

Atopic dermatitis is a bacterial infection on the surface of the skin, usually caused by irritation. Symptoms of dermatitis include swelling, itchiness, dry skin, and redness.

Thymol, an essential oil found in thyme, has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. This also makes it highly anti-inflammatory and inhibits cytokine production, the main chemical in developing dermatitis.

Its ability to kill bacteria and reduce swelling makes it a powerful and natural treatment for relieving symptoms of dermatitis.

A study found that people who took thyme essential oils (which are rich in thymol) found a reduction in the severity of their symptoms by around 34%.

This benefit was amplified by people who took a mix of thyme and lavender essential oils, further increasing its anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, thymol can help stop infections from occurring. Especially against bacteria related to atopic dermatitis, when it presents itself beneath the layers of swollen skin.

4. Relieves Strep Throat

Thyme and other essential oils have powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which makes it highly effective at getting rid of strep throat and also hay fever.

Thyme essential oils have also been used in cough remedies in recent decades, for their strong anti-inflammatory properties.

It has the ability to loosen and expel mucus, soothes and suppresses coughs, reduce soreness, and eases breathing.

Drinking hot teas such as thyme tea, chamomile tea, and primrose root tea while sick can quickly relieve dry coughs, soften symptoms of bronchitis, strep throat, tonsillitis, as well as cold and flu symptoms.

Thyme is also found in certain mouthwashes as its plant-based compounds also fight bad breath, gingivitis, and gum disease improving oral health and removing bacteria.

Multiple studies also found that consuming thyme or using thyme-infused mouthwashes also fights candida albicans.

Candida albicans are a type of yeast and fungus responsible for causing oral thrush and most yeast infections.

5. Treats Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are caused by a hormone-like chemical called prostaglandin, which stimulates muscle contractions causing pain and inflammation.

Other forms of menstrual cramps are exacerbated by or caused by a hormonal imbalance.

Thymus vulgaris supplements are able to improve your hormone imbalance by matching the production of progesterone levels to estrogen levels.

sprigs of thyme branches and a bowl of dried thyme

A clinical study conducted at the Babol University of Medical Sciences, studying thyme’s beneficial effects against ibuprofen for treating dysmenorrhea (menstruation pains).

This was conducted using 86 women for 2 weeks, measuring their pain from a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being severe).

After the 2 weeks, the pain decreased substantially by going from a pain scale of 6.6 on average, to 1.2 for the group taking thyme essential oil. While the ibuprofen group dropped to 1.7.

This is because certain healthy herbs and spices have powerful anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic (painkiller-like) properties, which further reduces the production of prostaglandin.

What specifically suppresses menstrual cramps and pains is from thyme’s carvacrol content, an essential oil that helps stop pain-causing enzymes and other harmful symptoms during menstruation.

Carvacrol is mostly found in oregano and oregano essential oils.

The human body doesn’t build a resistance to essential oils, as it does with over the counter drugs and medications.

This makes it so that medicinal herbs, like thyme, may be more effective than certain clinical drugs. Thyme as well as other natural remedies are not a replacement for medical attention.

6. Improves Heart Health

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. This is due to poor eating habits, a lack of exercise, as well as increased levels of stress and inflammation.

Most of the damage caused to the heart is from the byproducts of using oxygen, called oxidants (which cause oxidative damage).

These are referred to as free radicals, which have various harmful side effects to the entire body and the cellular level.

Free radicals also cause damage to DNA strands, proteins, hormones and hormone production, cell membrane, and even aggravates diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Antioxidants prevent the harmful chain reactions caused by free radicals and are found in many different kinds of food like:

Thyme is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Especially minerals like potassium and manganese as well as antioxidants like carotenoids, flavonols, flavonoids, as well as phenolic acids and compounds.

Potassium and manganese help reduce stress on the cardiovascular system by lowering your blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels.

Along with thyme’s rich amount of antioxidants, it can drastically reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks.

7. Relieves Intestinal Inflammation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

In extreme cases, IBD may cause sores and ulcers in the inner lining of your large intestine (colon), causing colitis. Symptoms on inflammatory bowel disease and an inflamed colon include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal pains or cramping

  • Blood in your stools

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Flatulence

  • Bloating

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

An effective way to relieve colitis, as well as intestinal pain and inflammation, is by drinking thyme tea, which extracts most of the thymol.

A tea infuses all of its healthy compounds and makes it much easier to cover your digestive tract and linings with a fluid, rather than adding it to your meals.

Thyme tea is great a natural remedy for improving intestinal health and preventing diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

Other health benefits of thyme for the colon include:

  • Relaxes colon muscles

  • Improves hydration

  • Soothes abdominal pain

  • Relieves symptoms of colitis

A study has also shown how thymol neutralizes certain bacteria that cause intestinal distress.

8. Boosts Immune System Strengthen

Thyme is rich in vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for boosting your immune system strength.

A vitamin C deficiency increases your risk of infections. This is why it’s especially effective for people who are immunocompromised,

Thyme is rich in vitamin C, making it a powerful herb for improving your immune system and reducing inflammation.

Thyme is also rich in thymol and carvacrol, which additionally reduce inflammation, and are antibacterial, antifungal, as well as antiviral.

The vitamin C in thyme helps stimulate the production of these important cells. Vitamin C also helps to repair cells and tissues by aiding in collagen production.

White blood cells are your body’s first line of defense, and are integral for defending your body against harmful pathogens and foreign cells.

Taking a lot of vitamin C has no side effects, exceeding 100% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) gets filtered out through urine, as its a water-soluble vitamin.

9. Boosts Mood and Increases Happiness

Thyme is used in aromatherapy diffusers for its sweet, pungent, and therapeutic scents. This releases carvacrol and thymol, which are mood-boosting plant compounds.

These are found in various essential oils used for massages, warm compresses, and in diffusers or steam inhaler.

Thymus vulgaris essential oil is mostly used in aromatherapy. Relieving symptoms of the common cold and flu during the spring and fall season.

A scientific study has shown that thyme’s mood-boosting health benefits primarily come from the carvacrol compound.

Supplementing with carvacrol for 2 weeks found that it had antidepressant effects on the brain, improving the release of dopamine.

It was also able to increase the amount of dopamine being released in many areas of the brain including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

These benefits were also found in chemicals such as:

  • Curcumin: turmeric and cumin

  • Ferulic acid: rice, wheat, oats, pineapples, beans and legumes, vegetables, peanuts and tree nuts

  • L-theanine: amino acid, protein powders, BCAAs

Multiple research papers have been conducted on animals and found that when they were exposed to thyme, they had an increase in both dopamine and serotonin production.

Other benefits of thyme found during that study proved that it also has anxiolytic properties, drastically reducing stress and anxiety.

Other scientifically-proven mood-boosting herbs include:

  • Fruits

  • Red wine

  • Cocoa powder (chocolate)

  • Oregano

  • Turmeric

  • Cumin

  • Ginseng

  • Holy basil

  • Mint

  • Parsley

  • Licorice

  • Rhodiola

  • Ashwagandha

  • Lemon balm

  • Lavender

Thyme Side Effects and Detriments

1. Thyme Can Cause Migraines

Migraines are common and aggressive neurovascular disorders that are triggered in a variety of different reasons:

  • Stress

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Shock

  • Poor diet

  • Muscle tension

  • Irritating perfumes and smoke

  • Loud sounds

  • Bright sunlight

grilled steak with sprigs of thyme and butter

The pain of a migraine can vary from person to person, but is generally very severe and disabling. This is mainly caused by a protein called TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1).

TYPA1 is what helps you sense environmental irritants and is found in every human and animal cell.

Allowing you to feel sensations such as pain, cold, heat, skin tears, airway resistance, and itchiness and sending signals to your brain to make protective responses.

It also stimulates pain, which is one of the main neurochemical triggers for migraines. For some people, thyme directly triggers the TRPA1 protein in the brain.

Multiple studies have found that thyme is a strong activator for TRPA1. Other herbs and spices that cause this trigger include:

  • Ginger (gingerol)

  • Cloves (eugenol)

  • Wintergreen (methyl salicylate)

  • Oregano and thyme (each contains both carvacrol and thymol)

For most people, eating thyme can have many health benefits and is likely to be safe. For people who are sensitive to migraines, thyme shouldn’t be a part of your diet.

Thyme is rich in vitamin K, which also increases blood pressure and heart rate as it’s a natural blood clotter. Higher blood pressure can aggravate and trigger migraines.

A chemical called tryptamine blocks the protein response and can allow people to get relief from headaches and migraines.

Tryptamine is usually found in drugs and medications called tryptophans. You can naturally find tryptamine in various foods such as:

  • Protein-rich foods: beef, chicken, fish, beans, and whey protein powder

  • Fermented drinks: beer and root beer, red and white wine, kombucha, milk kefir, boza (bouza), sima, ayran, and probiotic drinks

  • Fermented foods: cheese (preferably aged), sourdough bread, salami and other cold cuts, pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, kimchi

  • Sauces: fish sauce, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and fermented hot sauce

2. May Trigger Asthma

A laboratory study found that patients who have asthma, had difficulties breathing when exposed to aromatic herbs such as:

  • Thyme

  • Rosemary

  • Bay leaf

  • Garlic

Garlic was the most aggressive trigger for asthma while the other herbs had minor reactions. All of which are occupational asthma triggers.

The main trigger for thyme is due to the thymol essential oil, its primary asthmagen.

Thymol is also a respiratory sensitizer, which can worsen respiratory problems (increasing sensitivity).

If you suffer from asthma, eating thyme and other asthmatic herbs should be avoided in extreme cases or kept to a minimum in mild cases.

3. May Cause Allergic Reactions

Thyme has many essential oils and plant compounds that can cause allergic reactions.

Certain products and natural remedies use thyme essential oil on the skin as a moisturizer. For some, especially those with more sensitive skin, applying herbal oils to the skin can cause irritation and other side effects.

Before applying essential oils to your skin, dilute your essential in carrier oil or coconut oil to reduce the intensity.

This helps you better monitor for allergic reactions on your skin. Negative skin reactions include:

  • Itching

  • Redness

  • Rashes

  • Hives

The likelihood of a thyme allergy increases if you also have an allergy to herbs found in the mint family (Lamiaceae) such as:

  • Basil

  • Sage

  • Lavender

  • Rosemary

Allergic reactions when consuming thyme includes upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases anaphylactic shock.

Additionally, thymol and carvacrol found in thyme are terrific in fighting disease-causing microbes and minimizing infections.

Although, some studies have shown that thymol and carvacrol may also cause irritation to mucous membranes when eating foods with thyme.

4. May Aggravate Certain Types of Cancer

People with hormone-sensitive diseases and illnesses can have their side effects worsened by consuming thyme.

Hormone-sensitive diseases include:

  • Breast cancer

  • Uterine cancer

  • Ovarian cancer

  • Endometriosis

  • Uterine fibroids

Thyme can mimic estrogen in the body, high levels of estrogen can aggravate certain cancer and worsen other health issues.

A study conducted on certain herbs and spices with their effects on breast cancer. The study found that foods like soy milk and herbal essential oils increased the rate of cancer cell production.

Whole herbs had a neutral effect as the other plant-compounds and antioxidants are actively anticancer.

Always consult your doctor or medical professional before adding other herbs, including thyme to your diet.

Rating and Recommendation

Extremely Recommended

The primary focus for the nutrition, health benefits and side effects of thyme stems from its antioxidants, essential oils, nutritional profile, macronutrients, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Thyme is a versatile ingredient used in both cooking and medicinal treatments.

It has popular culinary applications since it’s compatible with many different kinds of foods, which is why it’s used in many traditional dishes.

Thyme has a distinctive woodsy taste that contrasts well in many different cultures. Traditional meals and recipes with thyme include soups, roasted meats, cheeses, bread, and many more.

Some of thyme’s health benefits come from its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, relieving bacterial issues like acne, bad breath, eczema, and dermatitis.

Here’s the full list of the health benefits of thyme:

  1. Improves Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

  2. Thyme Treats Acne

  3. Helps Relieve Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

  4. Relieves Strep Throat

  5. Treats Menstrual Cramps

  6. Improves Heart Health

  7. Relieves Intestinal Inflammation

  8. Boosts Immune System Strengthen

  9. Boosts Mood and Increases Happiness

Here’s the list of side effects of thyme:

  1. Thyme Can Cause Migraines

  2. May Trigger Asthma

  3. May Cause Allergic Reactions

  4. May Aggravate Certain Types of Cancer

Some of the best health benefits of thyme include keeping your heart healthy, help lower your risk of cancer, and boost your immune system.

Thyme plants are also great as a natural insect repellent, reducing the need for toxic herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.

However, thyme’s side effects can be detrimental for certain people. If you suffer from migraines, asthma, herbal allergic reactions, or hormone-sensitive cancers you should avoid adding thyme to your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Thyme leaves are one of the most commonly used cooking herbs in the world as its woodsy, pungent, and mildly spicy flavor are similar in taste to camphor or pine.

The smell of thyme comes from its essential oil, called thymol, which amplifies the taste of thyme.

Plant family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

Sowing time (planting time): You’re able to sow thyme seeds all year round, but through February to late May, you must sow the seeds indoors.

You’re able to plant your thyme seeds outside through late May to June. Seedlings usually appear between 21 to 35 days.

Flowering period: Spring to Summer (late March to September)

Harvest time: You’re able to harvest thyme for most of the year, from Late June to next January. While also waiting at least 40 days after transplanting or 70 days after seeding.

Transplanting: To propagate the thyme plant, cut young branches off the main stems keeping about 10 cm (4 in) in height.

Remove the leaves off the bottom half of the stalk, planting them 25 cm (10 in) apart in a separate pot or garden section.

Location and sun exposure: Full exposure to the sun, or any sunny location with good water drainage. Outdoor temperatures between 20 to 30 °C (68-86°F)

Soil quality: Fertile and nutrient-rich soil work best

Soil pH: 6.0 to 8 (slightly acidic to neutral)

Soil temperature: Hot temperatures, anything above 18°C (65°F). Cold and damp soil will kill the plant

Thyme is a healthy cooking herb with many health benefits, such as:

1. Improves Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

2. Thyme Treats Acne

3. Helps Relieve Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

4. Relieves Strep Throat

5. Treats Menstrual Cramps

6. Improves Heart Health

7. Relieves Intestinal Inflammation

8. Boosts Immune System Strengthen

9. Boosts Mood and Increases Happiness

Yes, thyme kills viruses and bacteria. It's highly antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.

Its ability to kill viruses and bacteria are from its plant compounds called carvacrol and thymol.

In the 19th century, Victorians used to use thyme essential oils to fight viral and bacterial infections.

Thyme has also been proven to get rid of atopic dermatitis, a bacterial infection on the surface of the skin.

As well as candida albicans, which are a type of yeast and fungus responsible for causing oral thrush and yeast infections.

Articles and Sources

1. Int J Mol Sci. (2017 June 16) Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Spices

2. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. (2006 June 01) Antimicrobial Activities of Clove and Thyme Extracts

3. J Obes. (2012 April 17) 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

4. Phytother Res. (2018 September 09) Thymol, thyme, and other plant sources: Health and potential uses

5. Biomolecules. (2019 November 28) Biological Activity of Thyme White Essential Oil Stabilized by Cellulose Nanocrystals

6. J Med Life. (2014 March 07) Thymus vulgaris essential oil: chemical composition and antimicrobial activity

7. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. (2018 June 14) Understanding the potential benefits of thyme and its derived products for food industry and consumer health: From extraction of value-added compounds to the evaluation of bioaccessibility, bioavailability, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities

8. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2018 April 19) Formulation and Characterization of Potential Antifungal Oleogel with Essential Oil of Thyme

9. Wei Sheng Wu Xue Bao. (2001 August 04) [Studies on antimicrobial activity of extracts from thyme]

10. J Nutr Metab. (2019 March 31) The Impact of Thyme and Rosemary on Prevention of Osteoporosis in Rats

11. Biomedicines. (2019 August 24) Herbal Tea for the Management of Pharyngitis: Inhibition of Streptococcus pyogenes Growth and Biofilm Formation by Herbal Infusions

12. Molecules. (2019 June 05) Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents—Myth or Real Alternative?

13. Caspian J Intern Med. (2014 April 02) Comparative effect of thymus vulgaris and ibuprofen on primary dysmenorrhea: A triple-blind clinical study

14. Biomed Res Int. (2017 April 19) Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression

15. Biotechnol Rep (Amst). (2014 September 16) Potential applications of ferulic acid from natural sources

Thyme Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 100 g (about 3.5 Oz or 0.44 cups)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 101 Calories from Fat 15
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.7 g 2 %
Saturated Fat 0.5 g 2 %
Polyunsaturated fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 9 mg 0 %
Potassium 0.609 g 17 %
Total Carbohydrate 24 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 14 g 56 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 6 g 12 %
Vitamin A 95 % Vitamin C 266 %
Vitamin E ≤ 1 % Vitamin K 21 %
Vitamin D 0 % Vitamin B6 15 %
Calcium 40 % Iron 97 %
Magnesium 40 % Cobalamin 0 %

Calories per gram:

Fat: 9 | Carbohydrate: 4 | Protein: 4

Source: USDA's Nutrient Database

 

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