Thyme has become a recurring plant that we must always have access to in the kitchen. Not only for its use in gastronomy but for the benefits it has and the large number of beneficial effects and properties of thyme
An eminently Mediterranean plant, which grows in very rustic areas and needs little to develop. In this article we tell you the most important of this plant and some of the properties of thyme to treat different ailments.
Although we are used to hearing the properties of thyme related to its potential effects against harmful microorganisms and bacteria, it also offers us different alternatives against diseases, preventive treatments against cancer, antioxidant effects, liver protector, etc.
This article is dedicated to the properties of thyme, which will pleasantly surprise you.
What properties does thyme have?
Within the genre Thymus we find a wide variety of species adapted to the temperate climate typical of the Mediterranean basin.
Thyme is a plant capable of resisting inhospitable soils, stony soils, low access to water and a lot of cold and heat (at different times). Therefore, we are talking about an off-road plant.
In fact, being subjected to different stress situations favors the accumulation of its active ingredients and the improvement of the quality of the oil, so the effect of the properties of thyme.
It is characterized rather as aromatic plant that as a medicinal plant, although it can cover both fields because numerous studies have been carried out to evaluate its properties and, currently, its active principles are used in a multiple way in different drugs, mouthwashes and creams.
The scientific name of Thymus comes from the Greek “Thym”, whose meaning is that of «intense and pleasant aroma”.
It usually grows spontaneously in all kinds of places and its potted cultivation it’s very simple. It does not need special requirements or continuous contributions of fertilizer or water.
It is very common to see its cultivation in all kinds of surfaces, orchards and gardens and even pots both rosemary and thyme and other aromatic plants (oregano, basil, etc.), for the ease of its care and the advantage of collecting its leaves fresh to use them in gastronomy.
Its cultivation, near where we live, is ideal to be able to cut different parts of the plant and use it, so that we can take advantage of the properties of thyme through our gastronomy.
Water and irrigation needs of thyme
Very little and generally low frequency.
In the hot months (late spring to early autumn) 2 or 3 waterings a week of low dosage. Less than 500 ml per irrigation in plants less than 30 cm in height.
In the cold months (mid-autumn to early spring) 1 watering a week.
Keep in mind that the biggest problems you suffer from when growing thyme is excess water and its root rot. We observe the stems with brown tones and the progression of neck diseases.
An increase in the properties of thyme has been demonstrated by greater presence of oils in plants subjected to water stress compared to which they had a total disposition to irrigation water.
Very little and adapted to the summer months. Simply disposing of slow-release granulated fertilizers that are diluted with water inputs will be sufficient. An NPK blend with a 2-1-3 nutrient ratio plus micronutrients is perfect for all stages of thyme cultivation.
The fertilization carried out in the hot months, the greater the development of the plant, aims to increase the vegetable volume and, therefore, have an aerial part with a greater number of stems. Therefore, we can choose to enjoy the properties of thyme as the concentration of its oils is related to the fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus.
Multiplication and pruning
The multiplication of aromatic plants it is, in general, quite simple. The properties of thyme can be extrapolated easily in different pots, which can even be given away between neighbors and relatives.
For thyme, the easiest thing is the multiplication from stakes.
The stakes are fragments of stems to which we remove the leaves and introduce in a container with water alone (or in some rooting solution) and the exit of white roots is forced to carry out their planting in substrate later.
The stem to be selected must be healthy, poorly lignified and with a length of between 10 and 30 cm. The exit of the new roots occurs approximately after 5 or 7 days. It is important to change the water every 2 or 3 days to renew the oxygen and avoid rotting.
As for pruning, it is not necessary as long as we make use of the plant regularly. We can use the scissors to cut small stems that we will use to take advantage of the properties of thyme (in infusion, oils, different alcohols, in gastronomy, etc.)
Of course, it is advisable to remove damaged parts, crossed or affected branches, to prevent them from spreading diseases and transmitting them to the rest of the plant.
Nutritional composition of thyme
Nutritional information per 100 grams of thyme extract.
As for vitamins, the properties of thyme are characterized by housing the following recommended daily concentration and % .
- Thiamine (B1): 0.513 mg (48.8% Daily)
- Riboflavin (B2): 0.40 mg (28.5% daily)
- Niacin (B3): 4.90 mg (28.8%)
- Vitamin A: 380 μg (42.2%)
Although the daily consumption of 100 grams of thyme is excessive (even with side effects that we will discuss later), the amount of vitamins when we manage small amounts of thyme is also significant.
Among the minerals there is a high concentration of calcium (1890 mg), very high levels of iron (123 mg), magnesium and phosphorus.
Ffitochemicals that characterize the properties of thyme
Although already we have talked in an article about thymol, this compound is the most important in this medicinal plant, and the one that most makes up the properties of thyme.
However, we also find other important components related to anti-microbiological properties and other benefits.
Thyme essential oil is mainly made up of this type of monoterpene phenols, which make up the properties of thyme.
The following compounds stand out:
- Thymol: main component of the plant with disinfectant and fungicidal action
- Carvacrol: also present in oregano, it is used as an antibacterial.
- P-cymene: it can be found in cumin and has antiparasitic effect.
- Limonene: possible anticancer effects, attenuating the harmful effect of carcinogens
- Borneol: natural insect repellent
- Linalol: present in more than 200 plants with anticonvulsant properties.
In addition to all these phytocomponents mentioned, in smaller quantities also make appearance gammaterpinene and flavonoids such as luteolin, apigenin, naringenin, eriodictol, cirsilineol, salvigenin, cirsimaritin, timonin and thymosin.
Benefits and properties of thyme
1. Antiparasitic effect
Practically, the configuration and presence of its active ingredients are used to reduce the presence of microorganisms, fungi and all kinds of bacteria.
Many of these phytocomponents are used in industry or cosmetics for disinfection, without side effects or toxic compounds, so we can adapt them, naturally, to our daily lives.
The presence of p-cymene, limonene, linalool and other oils has been demonstrated effectiveness against lice and other parasites. IgualmenIt is effective against mosquitoes, flies and malaria parasites, even at dilutions 1/8000 or 1/12000.
Therefore, it presents a more than interesting alternative to be used as an antiparasitic, even at the level of the interior of our body.
In this case, the thyme infusion, of very pleasant intake for its aroma and its flavor.
2. Hormonal activity
Hormonal regulation in women and men can be controlled by a selection of different flavonoids that can be found in the properties of thyme.
Some of these medicinal plants, such as thyme, oregano, turmeric or verbena, have properties with estrogenic activity when they are contributed in our food. This is interesting to protect the body from diseases such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems in even the formation of certain tumors (such as breast).
3. Insecticidal and fungicidal activity
Closely related to its antiparasitic activity, there is a wide spectrum of organisms that are attacked by different essential oils of thyme, especially thymol and the Carvacrol.
The properties of thyme against insects, fungi, mites and nematodes, small worms that can attach to the intestine and cause multiple digestive problems, have been scientifically proven effective.
All these effects have been analyzed, especially in carvacrol, with a lethal concentration of 37 pm, or thymol, 36 ppm, being a lethal dose to 50% of the population of these organisms.
Mold can be a fairly common but at the same time dangerous air pollutant that can be present in our home. Thyme oil may be the answer to low concentrations of mold. The content in thymol has many fungicidal properties and can act as a harmless disinfectant for animals and humans at home. [Antifungal activity of thyme essential oil]
A novel study shows that thyme extract can help repel mosquitoes. However, it is false the belief that by growing it in the garden we avoid the presence of these annoying insects.
It is necessary a purer concentration of thyme oil, which we can rub on the skin to prevent them from attacking us.
4. Carcinogenic potential of thyme properties
Humans and other animals are exposed to a large number of potentially harmful elements and full of carninogenic substances.
Therefore, in recent years there is a great interest in looking for healthier alternatives and nutrients in our diet and with less presence of contaminants.
Given this, we have the option of being able to take advantage especially of the properties of thyme, since it has been scientifically proven to inhibit the carcinogenic effects of many products.
Different monoterpenes have been located in thyme with anticancer and protective properties of the organism. These substances are capable of altering (through biotransformation) the composition of these harmful elements, transforming them into harmless or less harmful substances.
Carvacrol, for example, at a concentration of 50 to 100 mM, has been shown to reduce the number of cells of murine melanoma (B16F10), a disease with a great capacity to metastasize and expand rapidly, by 25 to 35%.
Therefore, we also talk about the properties of thyme by its antimutagenic effect.
These effects have also been studied in other medicinal plants, such as those found in the infusion of black tea.
5. Expectorant action
The expectorant action of the properties of thyme and other medicinal plants have been studied at length. In fact, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been approving the use of different parts of these plants and their combination as expectorant action in situations of severe cough or cough associated with the cold.
Particularly, this effect is due to the presence of saponosides (acid structures of high molecular weight), which have expectorant activity and facilitate secretion.
This preparation has been studied to evaluate its effect against acute bronchitis not treated, demonstrating positive effects against the witnesses and a decrease in the disease.
In addition, it is also interesting that its side effects or incompatibilities were very low, so it can be a tool of action combined with different drugs.
6. Reduce bad breath
The bad breath that many people suffer is related to eating habits and the presence of microorganisms that break down sugars in our mouth.
Therefore, the effect we are looking for from a toothpaste or mouthwash is to be able to reduce the presence of microorganisms.
That is what is currently done, using the extract of different oils present in thyme. With this, it is possible to reduce the presence of microorganisms in the mouth, such as S. pyogens, S. mutans, Candida albicans, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis.
This makes it very common to see among the different compositions of toothpastes, mouthwashes and products to treat oral and throat infections, the presence of thymol, carvacrol and other oils that form the properties of thyme.
7. Protective activity of the liver
The effect of 70% thyme ethyl extract has been studied, at a dose of 50 mg/kg per day, in a 21-day procedure. With clinical follow-up, a potential effect of thyme properties such as liver protector and antioxidant in rats.
A reduction in the hepatic markers of affected animals was found, with a greater increase in protein volume in the area (with greater presence of albumin and globulin).
In this field, several parallel studies have been made with equally satisfactory and conclusive results.
Especially the properties of thyme as a liver protector are attributed to carvacrol and thymol, which inhibits the development of pro-inflammatory cytokines and offers a high antioxidant action.
These protective benefits of the liver can also be taken advantage of through the properties of moringa.
8. Anti-inflammatory effect
Again, studies have been done (and are still being conducted) in vitro and in vivo of the properties of thyme and its advantages as anti-inflammatory potential.
Especially, it is carvacrol that induces a protective effect and inhibits the processes of inflammation of tissues and organs. This is because it acts by inhibiting the release of elastase of
Neutrophils a compound related to inflammatory processes and allergic response.
A synergistic effect has been studied with other sources of oils belonging to other medicinal plants, such as rosemary extract (rosmarinic acid).
9. The properties of thyme and mood
Thyme essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for aromatic and therapeutic purposes, especially because of the aroma of carvacrol.
In a scientific study it has been shown that the active substance carvacrol acts on neuronal activity in a positive way, favoring the feeling of well-being, intervening in our mood.
Side Effects of Thyme
Although the use and properties of thyme have been classified as safe by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), it can have small side effects in patients sensitive to one of its oils.
Cases of contraindications of thyme by contact dermatitis in the application of thymol extract in oil or ethyl alcohol.
There have also been cases of hyperfunction of thyroid glands, caused by the effect of thymol essential oil by an excess of doses.
In some patients, some internal contraindication of thyme has appeared, such as the well-known effect of intestinal hypersensitivity, causing mild episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.
Buy thyme-based products
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