It’s About Thyme

The tiny herb with healing might

Lemon Thyme Chicken and Shallots

It's about time you discovered the health benefits of thyme. Besides its anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, it adds subtle flavour to a variety of delicious dishes.

The Rolling Stones had it right: time, or rather thyme, is on our side. For millennia the delicate herb has been valued as a culinary ingredient and as a reliable weapon in the treatment of respiratory ailments. Only recently, however, have scientists discovered the extensive nature of thyme’s health benefits.

While herbs generally are not regarded as storehouses of vitamins and minerals, nutritional analysis reveals thyme is a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, iron, and copper. However, scientists believe it is thyme’s impressive and unique mix of flavonoids and volatile oils that give it its true healing power. Research reveals these beneficial plant compounds can help us stay healthy in several ways.

Bug banisher

Studies demonstrate thyme’s antimicrobial strength. It can work its effects against pathogens such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Not surprisingly, research indicates it can help prevent food poisoning. And bacteria aren’t thyme’s only victims. The herb can also eradicate fungi such as Candida albicans.

Anti-inflammatory

Several animal and in vitro studies reveal thyme’s chief flavonoids, naringenin and apigenin, wage war against inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body. Since many of humankind’s chronic ailments are caused by inflammation, scientists believe this effect may make thyme a foe of a variety of  conditions, including heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Anticancer

The good news continues—extracts of thyme have been shown to cause cell death in both breast and colon cancer cells. And, in rat studies, its potent flavonoid naringenin helped to reduce the size of brain tumours.

Neuroprotective

Thyme is noggin-friendly in other ways too. Animal research suggests the herb has an antidepressant effect and may help improve cognitive function.

Clearly, incorporating the herb into your diet with some time-honoured recipes is an expedient idea.

Recipes

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