Anti-Cancer Foods: Thyme Uses & Benefits

Did you know that thyme was named after the Greek word “thumos,” which means “courage”? In Persia, it was initially grown approximately 3000 BC. The Greeks thought that thyme would ward off all evil spirits or curses, whereas the Egyptians saw it as a sign of good fortune and happiness.

Certain cultures believed that placing a thyme sprig under one’s pillow would facilitate dreams of true love.

What Is Thyme?

Thyme is a fragrant, evergreen perennial herb with small leaves that grow in clusters on thin stems. It is a member of the “Lamiaceae” mint family. Thymes are related to the genus Origanum, which includes oregano. Both of these plants are mainly native to the Mediterranean region.

Thymus vulgaris is the most frequent variety. One of the common misconceptions is that thyme and wild thyme are the same. However, these are two different plants. 

You can find thyme in many forms, from fresh to dry to essential oil.

What Are The Uses Of Thyme?

It has a wide range of medicinal, culinary, and ornamental uses. Thyme oil, leaves, and flowers can help treat various ailments and they can also add flavor to various foods. These include a sore throat, arthritis, stomachaches, and diarrhea.

Ancient Egyptians utilized thyme for embalming. Ancient Greeks believed it provided a source of courage, so they used it in their baths and burned it in their temples as incense.

This herb is typical in herbes de Provence and the bouquet garni.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Thyme?

Thyme is famous for its many beneficial therapeutic properties.

Thymol, which is an active antibacterial component in thyme, can help to defend against infections. According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, thymol may lessen bacterial resistance to common medicines like penicillin.

A Polish study tested thyme oil and lavender oil, and the researchers found that thyme oil has a better effect against resistant types of Enterococcus, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Escherichia bacteria.

Thyme can be made into a tincture by steeping it in alcohol for several days or weeks. A research study published in Molecules journal in 2010 found that thyme essential oil has an antimicrobial effect on P. acnes (the presumed acne-causing bacteria).

According to a study available on PubMed®, rats with elevated blood pressure had their heart rates dramatically reduced by an extract prepared using parts of Thymus linearis Benth. Additionally, it managed to reduce their cholesterol.

An older study published in 2006 found that thyme and ivy leave relieved acute bronchitis. The study also found that they were effective in reducing coughing and other symptoms.

Moreover, in an animal model, a 2018 study found that combining extracts from thyme and primula helped reduce swelling and mucus.

What Makes Thyme An Anticancer Food?

Different phytochemicals, especially terpenoids in thyme, have antioxidant properties and may shield cells from cancer.

Researchers in Turkey investigated the influence that wild thyme had on the activity of breast cancer, significantly how it impacted apoptosis and epigenetic events in cancerous breast cells. It concluded that this herb killed the breast cancer cells.

A study conducted in Lisbon (the capital city of Portugal) showed that mastic thyme extracts might protect against colon cancer.

Clove and thyme essential oils have been shown in an in vitro study from 2018 to suppress breast cancer cells. These findings were confirmed in another research published in the Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants.

According to the findings of another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, thyme may have an anticancer effect, and certain of its bioactive compounds might help treat human CCC (colorectal cancer cells).


Health benefits


Anticancer properties


Chef Shedric

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