I Love Thyme!
I started adding thyme into my cooking about 15 years ago, and I immediately fell in love with it. It has such a wonderful flavor and aroma, and it tastes good in just about anything! Plus, there are so many amazing health benefits that go along with adding thyme to your diet.
I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like without thyme, but fortunately, I don’t have to! Here is my tribute to one of my favorite herbs.
Thyme in History
The Ancient Egyptians used thyme as an embalming agent to preserve their dead pharaohs.
The Ancient Greeks used thyme for its aromatic properties, burning it in temples in acts of fragrant worship. Thyme was also used in this culture as a symbol of courage – an idea that spread throughout Europe and continued well into medieval times.
In the 1500s, people began using thyme as an antiseptic mouthwash and skin application, kind of like our modern-day Listerine and Neosporin.
This natural medicine super power is due to the presence of certain volatile oils in the herb’s leaves. Carvacolo, borneol, geraniol, and thymol in thyme are responsible for curing coughs, chest congestion, and even bronchitis.
These volatile oils can even help prevent stomach upset and food poisoning because they work as antimicrobial agents against several types of bacteria and fungi, including staphalococcus aureus, bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Shigella sonnei.
Want to keep your body and mind young? Thyme can help you do that!
The volatile oil that gives thyme its name, thymol, has been shown to increase the amount of DHA in brain, kidney, and heart cells in rats. DHA is an Omega 3 fatty acid that is responsible for keeping cells young.
You might want to start eating more thyme right now, though. Researchers found it was important to introduce thyme to the rats early – before the aging process was very advanced. The aging process could not be reversed by thyme – only slowed down a little.
Thyme Against Heart Disease
Thyme has a number of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.
These flavonoids, along with thyme’s high concentrations of manganese, iron, Vitamin K, calcium, and fiber make the herb a great tool in heart disease prevention.
They help the body maintain a healthy circulatory system. Luteolin, in particular, has been shown to reduce the damage done to the heart during heart attacks – at least in rat studies.
Where Can You Add More Thyme?
As I mentioned before, I love adding thyme to mashed potatoes. The herb is also delicious in omelets and quiche – any egg dish, really. And it tastes absolutely amazing baked into a fresh loaf of bread!
I’ve used it in just about everything from spaghetti sauce to chicken noodle soup. It’s a really healthy, versatile herb.
One dish I haven’t yet tried adding thyme to is chili. I’ve read a lot about how kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans taste better with thyme. I’m going to have to try adding thyme in the next time I make chili or black beans and rice!
Fresh thyme has a better flavor than dried thyme, but I almost always use dried in my cooking – just because it’s easier to get and easier to cook with. Whenever you are adding thyme, though – whether you use dried or fresh – you need to wait and put it in at the very end of the cooking time to protect the flavor.
Lots of Thyme to Choose From
The thyme I use most often in my cooking is French thyme, also known as Thymus vulgaris. There are, however, at least 60 different thyme varieties, including lemon, orange, and silver thyme.
Out of Thyme?
I always have thyme in my spice cabinet. It’s the one spice I will not let run out in this house.
And, since my husband is doing most of the cooking at the moment (bless him!), when he asks what he should use to spice up rice/pasta/whatever he happens to be cooking at the moment, I always answer: “Thyme!”