Thyme Uses and Benefits to Your Health You Need

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Thyme Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Thyme uses go far back in history, but today, it’s mostly known as a culinary herb. Discover how this humble herb not only makes your food taste better, but it also improves your health. Learn about thyme uses and benefits that you need to know about now!

Thyme Uses in History

Ancient Historical Uses

Thymus vulgaris is the Latin name for thyme. The uses of Thyme in history goes back to ancient Egyptians, who used it in their mummification process. Apparently, they equated scent with holiness and purity. They also used thyme as a pain reliever. However, the thyme they used might have been a wilder version than the one we currently use. The currently used thyme originates from a wild version that grew in the mountains of Spain and other Mediterranean countries, as well as northern Africa and Asia Minor. It is said that the name either came from a Greek word that meant fumigate or the Greek word thumus, which meant courage. They did use it as a sort of incense to clear the air, but their thyme uses included it as a source of invigoration. They certainly used it as a fumigator as referenced by Virgil in one of his books and Pliny tells us that the incense “puts to flight all venomous creatures.”
Others have said thyme was associated with grace and elegance and that if someone said you smelled of thyme it was considered a compliment. They didn’t really use it as a culinary herb, although the Romans used it to flavor cheese. The Romans also ate sprigs of it just before a meal to protect themselves from poison and for this reason, it became a favorite among emperors.

Thyme Uses in the Middle Ages

The idea that thyme invoked courage lived on into the middle ages as the ladies embroidered into their scarves a bee hovering over a sprig of thyme and gave them to their favored knights. And the traditional Roman belief that it warded off poison and could also counteract poison persisted. When the Black Death struck in the late 1340s, millions of people turned to thyme for relief and protection. They incorporated the herb into many of their herbal concoctions to ward off the disease.
Listen in on the podcast to hear thyme uses in Victorian times and more!

Growing Thyme

Thyme is a small, somewhat woody plant, usually growing only to about 8 inches tall, occasionally growing to a foot tall. It has small green-gray leaves, small purplish flowers, and is very fragrant. Because of its size, it is ideally suited for an indoor herb garden. It likes a dry, light soil, not a super moist soil. Too moist soil is a great way to kill it. It also likes to grow alongside lavender. They are “friends,” if you will. It is a perennial, so take winter precautions to protect the plants from frost.

Modern Research

Thyme has antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, and carminative qualities. You can use the whole herb or the essential oil. Thyme uses include whooping cough, sore throat and congestion, colic, fever, gout, sciatica, leprosy, mouthwash, and to kill parasites. At times, it has been made into an ointment to get rid of swellings and warts and as herbal tobacco useful for digestion, headache, and sleepiness. Can be used as a preservative and to ward off insects. Hear about modern research about potential additional thyme uses, including MRSA, on the podcast!


Avoid large doses in early pregnancy and if you are on doxorubicin, an anti-tumor agent, be careful about thyme. It may interact with the drug.

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