By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 8 January 2010)
Thyme, an herb historically associated with courage, offers a number of health benefits, including protecting against bacteria and fungi due to its beneficial antimicrobial volatile oils. Thyme is also high in antioxidants, so it may protect against cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other health problems, and it is rich in vitamin K, manganese, iron, and calcium.
Thyme has traditionally been used as a home remedy for cough, sore throat, and digestive upsets (gastritis, diarrhea, flatulence, etc.). However, there has not been sufficient research conducted to confirm (or refute) these health benefits.
Thyme is tasty in vinaigrette salad dressings and other uncooked foods, as well as pasta, bean, soup, and fish dishes. It is a key ingredient in Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence – groups of herbs used to flavour soups and stews – and a nice addition to roasted meats, poultry, and vegetables. It also works well in herb breads and cheese or buttermilk biscuits.
For a full list of healthy herbs and spices and the reference list for this information series, see the main High-Antioxidant Herbs and Spices page.