Tea Time: Thyme to Drink Your Tea

Thyme, botanically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a perennial garden herb that has been employed since ancient times for medicinal and culinary uses. The World’s Healthiest Foods notes that thyme has traditionally been associated with courage, with medieval women giving sprigs of thyme to knights going into battle; it has also been used as a herbal remedy for a host of ailments. Thyme tea, rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols, and flavonoids, is a healthy beverage choice.

Antioxidant Properties

A cup of thyme tea has a lot more to offer than its pleasant taste; thymol, one of the volatile oils of thyme, is a potent antioxidant. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, thymol may help to increase omega-3 fatty acids, or healthy fats, in brain cells. In a clinical study conducted by K.A. Youdim and colleagues and published on April 19, 1999, an issue of “Biochemical and Biophysical Research,” researchers found that thyme oil helped to protect against age-related changes in the brain cells of rats. Studies are ongoing to determine whether thyme can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to thymol, thyme tea contains the antioxidant flavonoids apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymosin.

Soothes Coughs
The next time you have a cold or a cough, try a cup of thyme tea. The University of Maryland Medical Center says it can help treat bronchitis and relieve coughs and states that thyme has been approved for this use by the German Commission E, which evaluates safety and efficacy of herbal preparations in Germany. Drugs.com, a website which offers peer-reviewed information to consumers, concurs, saying that extracts from thyme have shown relaxant and bronchodilatory effects.

Relieves Indigestion

Thyme tea is often recommended by herbal healers to promote good digestion and relieve gas and bloating. According to “Aromatherapy for Professionals,” by herbalists Shirley and Len Price, the volatile oils in thyme give it carminative –or gas-reducing– properties, while its phenols allow it to work as an antispasmodic, helping to relieve intestinal cramping.

Provides Essential Minerals

WHEN YOU THINK OF A FOOD RICH IN IRON, THYME IS PROBABLY NOT THE FIRST THING TO COME TO MIND. BUT 2 TBSPS. OF DRIED THYME –ABOUT THE AMOUNT USED IN A CUP OF THYME TEA– DELIVERS 3.56MG, OR 19.8 PERCENT OF THE RECOMMENDED DAILY VALUE OF IRON, CAUSING THE WORLD’S HEALTHIEST FOODS TO LIST IT AS AN EXCELLENT SOURCE. THYME TEA IS ALSO AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF VITAMIN K, VITAL TO NORMAL BLOOD CLOTTING, WITH 2 TSPS. SUPPLYING 48.01MCG, OR 60 PERCENT OF THE DV. THYME TEA IS ALSO A VERY GOOD SOURCE OF MANGANESE, SUPPLYING 12 PERCENT OF THE DV, AND CALCIUM, PROVIDING 5.4 OF THE DV IN 2 TSP.

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One comment

  • There seems to be more herbs that work in tea than there are plants that would not work. I know most of the plants in the landscape, but it is fun to see that some of the native sages and weeds are also useful. We have not planted thyme in many years, but there is some that remains from ancient landscapes. It moved out into the forest (without getting far enough to be invasive), and moves back into the landscaped area in spots. One is rather lemony. The other more vigorous one has a heartier flavor. I do not know what either one is.

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