Thyme has an ancient past and historic reputation as a healing and protective herb. During the Roman era it was believed that consuming thyme before a meal could protect you from poisoning, and it was often associated with strength, bravery, and courage in battle.

With a history so rich, it is no wonder thyme is a staple herb in kitchens and homes across the globe. With a flavorful, minty aroma, and an abundance of healing properties, you’ll be wanting to add thyme to everything.

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1. Relieves Stress and Promotes Relaxation 

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Thyme has been used as an anxiety-reducing herb for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, Europeans would place thyme under their pillows to promote a peaceful night’s sleep while warding off bad dreams. Its scent alone promotes relaxation, but the real reason it eases mental tension is more scientific.

Thyme contains vitamin B6, a nutrient believed to combat stress. B6, also known as pyridoxine, aids the body in constructing neurotransmitters like serotonin. Normal serotonin levels in the brain are thought to help you cope with depression, anxiety, and stress.

By consuming thyme regularly, you’re promoting the construction of stress-relieving serotonin levels. For a fun and delicious way to reduce stress, try these Rosemary and Thyme Blueberry Popsicles, or these Luxurious Lemon and Thyme Cream Tartlets.

2. Improves Respiratory Issues 

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Thyme has traditionally been used as an herb to heal the lungs because they possess the phytochemical, saponins. These saponins work to clear congestion from lungs by acting as a reflex-stimulating expectorant, similar to that of cough medicine. Thyme also relaxes the muscle airways like bronchodilators, by binding to receptors. This is an exceptional herb for the healing of respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis.

In times of respiratory distress, try brewing hot water and fresh thyme to create a therapeutic tea, or try this Healing Mineral Broth with thyme.

3. Treats Dandruff 

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In recent studies, the antiseptic quality of thyme, especially concentrated thyme essential oil, was tested against strands of bacteria and proven quite successful at fending off these bacterium. This means that when it comes to hair treatment, thyme quells dirt and bacterial build up on the scalp, and reduces dandruff in the process. It is often a common additive to anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners.

For natural dandruff removal, try adding a few drops of thyme essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner to invigorate your scalp!

4. Aids with Digestion

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When consumed as a tea, thyme has been shown to relieve gas and suppress bloating, while also reducing intestinal cramping. Because of the volatile oils present in thyme, a carminative property is taken on in the digestive system to expel gas. This same property also works as an antispasmodic to stop cramping.

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For a digestive elixir, try this Chia Ginger Fresca with a sprig of thyme.

5. Boosts Immunity

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Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful immune-boosting antioxidant. The consumption of this herb works to support cellular functioning in the innate and adaptive immune system. The presence of vitamin C also protects the epithelial barrier from infections, and environmental forms of oxidative stress that could lead illness.

To stave away the common cold or flu, try this Rice Noodle Salad with Pineapple Thyme Dressing.

6. Excellent Source of Iron

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Iron is responsible for red blood cell formation and is an important component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin expels oxygen from your lungs and directs it through your entire body. If you do not get enough iron in your diet, it could lead to anemia and also hinder the functioning of your brain and immune system.

Thankfully, thyme is an excellent source of iron, with 34% of your recommended Daily Value with just 5 grams.

For your daily dose of iron try this Lemon and Thyme Cake with Lemon Curd, or this Gnocchi with Thyme Vinaigrette and Cashew Cream.

7. Reduces Risk for Heart Disease 

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Having a diet high in vitamin K can prevent cardiovascular disease by stopping coronary artery calcification from occurring. Calcification occurs when calcium accumulates in layers of the vessel wall. Recent studies have shown vitamin K to inhibit this calcification from occurring and causing atherosclerosis, or heart attacks.

Thyme is an herb extremely high in vitamin K, with just 24 micrograms in one teaspoon. That’s about 25% of your recommended daily value of vitamin K in just one tiny serving!

For a meal rich in vitamin K try these Creamy Scalloped Potatoes with Thyme, or this Lemon and Thyme Baba Ghanoush.

8. Amazing for Healthy Gums and Teeth 

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Due to the antiseptic qualities of thyme and thyme oil, it is also quite powerful at combatting bad breath caused by oral pathogens. For this reason, it is often an ingredient in mouthwashes to prevent gum diseases and fight bacteria.

To discover the power of healing herbs like 7 Fabulous Herbs for Your Health, we recommend downloading this Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead Image Source: Isaac Wedin/Flickr