Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


4 Comments

9 Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme is more than just a tasty garden herb. This medicinal plant has been shown to help combat inflammation, acne, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. Here’s how thyme can reduce your pain and benefit your health.

1. Antibacterial

Medicinal Chemistry published a study that found essential oil from common garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) exhibited very strong activity against clinical bacterial strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas.

Thyme oil also worked against antibiotic resistant strains that were tested. This is especially promising news considering the current increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The antibacterial action of thyme also makes it useful for oral care. Try mixing one drop of thyme oil in a cup of warm water and using it as a mouthwash.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is an enzyme that plays a key role in the body’s inflammatory response. A Nara Women’s University study found that thyme essential oil reduced COX-2 levels by almost 75 percent.

Interestingly, when researchers isolated a pure extract of carvacrol, a compound in thyme oil, this extract reduced COX-2 levels by more than 80 percent.

Thyme’s anti-inflammatory action can also help with localized pain. You can mix a few drops of thyme oil into a basic massage oil and rub it into an area where you’re experiencing pain, such as muscle aches, headaches, or skin inflammation.

3. Supports Brain Health

In one study, rats given a thyme supplement had antioxidant levels in their brains that were equivalent to antioxidant levels of much younger mice. Also, the level of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fats, were significantly higher compared to mice that had not received the thyme supplement.

Studies have indicated that high levels of omega-3 will help protect cognitive function and mental health as we age.

4. Acne Treatment

A Leeds University study found that a thyme tincture was more effective in killing the bacterium that causes acne than common chemical-based creams, such as benzoyl peroxide.

The thyme tincture was made by steeping thyme leaves in alcohol. This extracts the vital compounds from the plant. Naturally Healthy Skin has a good recipe for a thyme acne gel you can make at home.

Health Benefits of Thyme

5. Anticancer

Thyme extracts are shown to cause cell death in both breast and colon cancer cells.

Two studies found that wild thyme (Thymus serphyllum) extract killed breast cancer cells, and mastic thyme (Thymus mastichina) extract was effective against colon cancer cells.

6. Reduces Respiratory Symptoms

A fluid extract of thyme and ivy leaves was shown to significantly reduce coughing and other symptoms of acute bronchitis compared to a placebo.

Drinking thyme tea may help when you have a sore throat or a cough. You can also try adding 2 drops of thyme oil to a container of hot water for steam inhalation.

7. Lowers Blood Pressure

In separate studies, extracts from wild thyme (Thymus serphyllum) and Himalayan thyme (Thymus linearis Benth.) were found to reduce blood pressure in rats. Both studies indicated that thyme extract may protect against hypertension.

8. Fungicide

A 2007 study looked at the effect of thyme essential oil as a disinfectant against household molds. They concluded that thyme oil is an effective fungicide against many different types of fungi and molds.

You can add a few drops of thyme oil to water or your favorite household cleanser to help clean up any fungal problems in your home.

Thyme can also kill fungi within your body. For instance, Candida albicans is the fungus that causes both vaginal and mouth yeast infections in humans. Italian researchers found that thyme essential oil greatly enhanced intracellular killing of Candida albicans.

9. Bug Repellant

Thymol, a compound in thyme, is an ingredient in many different pesticides. It’s been shown to effectively repel mosquitos, which can help prevent mosquito-borne disease.

To use as a repellant, mix 4 drops of thyme oil per teaspoon of olive oil and apply to your skin or clothing. You can also mix 5 drops for every 2 ounces of water and use as a spray.

How to Eat More Thyme

Many of these studies looked at thyme essential oil. Speak to your doctor, naturopath or herbalist before you start to consume thyme oil internally. Essential oils are potent compounds that should be taken under the advice of a professional.

Incorporating more fresh or dried thyme into your diet is a gentler way to get all the benefits from this wonderful herb.

By: Zoe Blarowski      June 22, 2016


Leave a comment

9 Reasons to Love Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut—fermented cabbage—isn’t just for hot dogs anymore. In addition to its deliciously tart taste, exciting research showcases the many health benefits of eating sauerkraut (with live cultures) on a regular basis. Here are some of the best reasons to love sauerkraut:

1. Anti-Fungal Properties: What if I told you that sauerkraut contains beneficial bacteria that are miniature anti-fungal manufacturing facilities? It sounds more like science fiction than science fact but it is true. Some of the probiotics in sauerkraut produce compounds to kill some species of Candida fungi, which are frequently involved in vaginal or intestinal infections. Published in the Journal de Mycologie Medicale, scientists found that the probiotics actually produced anti-fungal compounds to kill Candida—a common cause of vaginal or intestinal infections.

2. Boosts Athletic Performance: According to research published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, scientists found numerous sports-performance benefits of eating probiotic-rich foods, including reducing allergic conditions and enhancing recovery from fatigue, as well as improving immune function.

3. Helps Heal the Heart: Naturally-fermented foods like sauerkraut have been shown to boost levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the heart against cellular damage from free radicals.

4. Anti-Cancer Benefits: Scientists at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, found that regularly eating fermented cabbage can help to regulate estrogen levels. Excess levels of estrogen have been linked with the development of estrogen-dependent breast cancers.

sauerkraut

5. Regulates Hormones: Because sauerkraut can help reduce excessive levels of estrogen, it may be helpful with the treatment of many other hormonally-linked health concerns, including: menstrual difficulties and mood imbalances.

6. Prevents of Food Poisoning: Research shows that probiotics found in sauerkraut demonstrate antibacterial activity against harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and Shigella. Salmonella can cause food poisoning. Shigella are similar bacteria that also cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

7. Anti-Viral Properties: Sauerkraut frequently contains the beneficial bacteria L. plantarum which has been found to have anti-viral effects. This makes sauerkraut a potential functional food in the treatment of colds, flu and chronic fatigue syndrome.

8. Gives Your Gut a Boost: With so many beneficial bacteria found in sauerkraut, enjoying it on a regular basis is a great way to boost the health of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

9. Great Taste and Versatility: Sauerkraut is delicious on its own, on top of your favorite vegan or turkey hot dog, on a black bean burger, or as a side dish to accompany just about any type of meal.

Unfortunately, most commercially-sold sauerkraut doesn’t contain any beneficial probiotics. Many commercial sauerkraut manufacturers have taken shortcuts in the making of sauerkraut to increase their profits. Instead of waiting for natural fermentation to occur, many instead employ an artificial pickling-type process using white vinegar which doesn’t contain any probiotics.

Those companies that stay true to natural processes still frequently pasteurize their sauerkraut so it can remain on grocery store shelves for longer periods. This pasteurization or heating process during bottling kills any live cultures that are needed for the health benefits of sauerkraut. Choose only sauerkraut with live cultures found in the refrigerator section of your health food or grocery store. Better yet, it is easy to make your own at home.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook     February 24, 2016     Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.