Thyme is the name used for several species of the genus Thymus. This genus contains about 350 different species that are aromatic herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs from the family Lamicaeae.
Those sub-shrubs are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and they can grow up to 40 centimeters tall. Most of the species have the same or very similar appearance; the leaves are evergreen and narrow, small and oval, arranged in opposite pairs. These leaves are usually aromatic; therefore, many species are very popular as culinary herbs.
The most popular specie is Thymus vulgaris, known as Thyme Green or French Thyme. These plants require well-drained soil and sunny location, and they have a high tolerance for drought and deep freezes.
These species were very famous herb among ancient civilization. Many of us already know that thyme was used for embalming, and that the Greeks used it as incense in the temples, due to the belief that it would awake the courage. Romans were the one who spread this aromatic plant through Europe, using it as a flavor to liqueurs.
The custom throughout Europe in middle Ages was to place thyme beneath the pillow for sleep without nightmares. Used during funerals and in coffins, thyme was believed to bring a safe passage into the next life.
Thymus citriodorus (Lemon Thyme or Citrus thyme) is evergreen sub-shrub that is cultivated as medical plants, culinary herbs and ornamental plants. Cultivars can have different citrus fruits, as well as different colour, thus one can find Lemon supreme, Orange thyme, Lime Thyme, Creeping Golden Lemon and Silver-Edged Lemon Thyme. Aroma essential oils made from these species are used in asthma, antiseptic and respiratory aromatherapy.
Characteristics of Lemon Thyme
Many of the compounds found in thyme are known to have ability to prevent certain diseases and to promote and enhance immune system.
Thyme is very high in the most important minerals that are essential for health. The leaves of thyme are excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. Due to these minerals, thyme is used as an antioxidant, and it helps control blood pressure and heart rate.
All of the most important vitamins are also present in thyme. Vitamin C, that helps the body create and develop resistance against infections and free radicals, vitamin A, that is essential for vision, skin, and healthy mucus membrane, and beta-carotene, that protects from lung cancer. Besides, there is also vitamin K and vitamin B-6, that is beneficial for neurotransmitters in the brain, thus, relieve from stress.
Fresh thyme herb has the highest level of antioxidants. It contains phenolic antioxidants like zea-xanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.
It is important to remember that thyme contains thymol, one of the important essential oils that have antiseptic and anti-fungal characteristics.
Overall, 100 grams of lemon thyme contains dietary fiber (38% of the daily recommended mount), vitamin B-6 (27%), vitamin C (266%), vitamin A (158%), iron (218%), magnesium (40%), calcium (40%), and manganese (45%).
Health Benefits of Lemon Thyme
Due to all the components, thyme was used as a remedy for respiratory tract for as long as its ability to help with the infections has been discovered. It can alleviate infections such as bronchitis, cough, laryngitis, tonsillitis, and whooping. Many use the thyme tea when confronted with these conditions.
Standard way to make an infusion is to pour a cup of boiling water over the material to be infused, leave it for 5 minutes, strain it, and drink it. One can use fresh plant, dried thyme, and seeds or bark.
Because thyme is stimulant and has diuretic properties, it can also help with upset stomach, chronic gastritis, bloating, flatulence, and curing indigestion. Lemon thyme in fact helps relax the muscles of gastronomical tract. Thyme is also used as a remedy for menstrual cramps.
In aromatherapy, it reduces stress and fatigue. Drinking thyme tea is very good for the stimulation of the nervous system. Thyme tea is used to treat depression, nightmares, insomnia, melancholy, and exhaustion. It can also help soothe headaches. On the other hand, thyme is used as herb that can improve memory and concentration.
Having antifungal properties, it reliefs from scabies and lice infestation. It also has the power to get rid of the itching. For this problem, one should boil an ounce of dried thyme and rinse the itchy skin with it. Thyme tincture can remove blemishes and clear acnes. Thyme leaves or thyme oil acts as an antiseptic mouthwash.
Rinsing the mouth with either oil or a decoction from thyme leaves, one can prepare a remedy for gingivitis, mouth sores, gum inflammation, and bad breath.
For strong and dandruff-free hair, thyme is a powerful ally. Boil a pint of water and add four tablespoons of thyme. Leave the mixture for 20 minutes, and use it as a final rinse on your hair after washing. That way one can control, reduce, and finally remove dandruff. For strong hair, massage with thyme oil is very beneficial. It stimulates circulation and promotes hair growth.
Overall, lemon thyme is great for boosting lymphatic and immunity system.
Lemon thyme essential oil has been used as a remedy since ancient times. It can help with concentration and memory, it can combat depression and anxiety, it can strengthen the nervous system, and, it can treat cold, asthma, sore throats and colds. Its warming effect can help with rheumatism, muscular aches, and pains and sports injuries.
Thyme essential oil has antiseptic, cardiac, diuretic, stimulant, tonic, anti-rheumatic, and antispasmodic properties.
Possible Side Effects
There are no particular evidence that lemon thyme can cause any serious side effects, however, excessive use of this herb can cause nausea and excessive perspiration. It is not recommended for pregnant women.
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Schnaubelt, K. (2011). The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy. Healing Arts Press.
Stahl-Biskup, E. & Saez, F. (2002). Thyme: The Genus Thymus (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles). CRC Press
Wood, M. (1997).The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines. North Atlantic Books.
Worwood, V.A. (1991). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health – Beauty – a Safe Home Environment. New World Library
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