A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to bean, egg and vegetable dishes. Both fresh and dried thyme is available in your local supermarket throughout the year.
Thyme leaves are curled, elliptically shaped and very small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide. The upper leaf is green-grey in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color. Along with fresh sprigs of parsley and bay leaves, thyme is included in the French combination of herbs called bouquet garni used to season stock, stews and soups.
Thyme has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Only recently, however, have researchers pinpointed some of the components in thyme that bring about its healing effects. The volatile oil components of thyme are now known to include carvacolo, borneol, geraniol, but most importantly, thymol.
Thyme also contains a variety of flavonoids, including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin. These flavonoids increase thyme's antioxidant capacity, and combined with its status as a good source of manganese, give thyme a high standing on the list of anti-oxidant foods.
The volatile oil components of thyme have also been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a host of different bacteria and fungi. Staphalococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Shigella sonnei are a few of the species against which thyme has been shown to have antibacterial activity.
The range of other health-supportive nutrients found in thyme is also impressive. This food emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of vitamin A, and a good source of iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber.
A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is an herb we should all take time to investigate and enjoy. And with about sixty different varieties including French (common) thyme, lemon thyme, orange thyme and silver thyme, this herb is sure to add some spice to your life.
Thyme leaves are curled, elliptically shaped and very small, measuring about one-eighth of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide. The upper leaf is green-grey in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color.
French thyme is known scientifically as Thymus vulgaris.
Thyme has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties. The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve their deceased pharaohs.
In ancient Greece, thyme was widely used for its aromatic qualities, being burned as incense in sacred temples. Thyme was also a symbol of courage and admiration with the phrase "the smell of thyme" being a saying that reflected praise unto its subject. Thyme's association with bravery continued throughout medieval times when it was a ritual for women to give their knights a scarf that had a sprig of thyme placed over an embroidered bee. Since the 16th century, thyme oil has been used for its antiseptic properties, both as mouthwash and a topical application.
Thyme is native to areas such as Asia, southern Europe and the Mediterranean region and is also cultivated in North America.
Whenever possible, choose fresh thyme over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. The leaves of fresh thyme should look fresh and be a vibrant green-gray in color. They should be free from dark spots or yellowing.
Even through dried herbs and spices like thyme are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing dried thyme, try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.
Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Dried thyme should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
Thyme, either in its fresh or dried form, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavor.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.
Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is a very good source of vitamin A (in the form of provitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients) as well as a good source of iron, manganese, copper and fiber.
GI: very low
|vitamin C||7.68 mg||10||38.0||excellent|
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%
(Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
|GI: very low|
|BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES|
|Fat - total||0.08 g||0|
|Dietary Fiber||0.67 g||2|
|MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL|
|Total Sugars||-- g|
|Soluble Fiber||-- g|
|Insoluble Fiber||-- g|
|Other Carbohydrates||-- g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.00 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.03 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.02 g|
|Trans Fat||0.00 g|
|Calories from Fat||0.73|
|Calories from Saturated Fat||0.20|
|Calories from Trans Fat||0.00|
|Vitamin B1||0.00 mg||0|
|Vitamin B2||0.02 mg||2|
|Vitamin B3||0.09 mg||1|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)||0.18 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.02 mg||1|
|Vitamin B12||0.00 mcg||0|
|Folate (DFE)||2.16 mcg|
|Folate (food)||2.16 mcg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.02 mg||0|
|Vitamin C||7.68 mg||10|
|Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)|
|Vitamin A International Units (IU)||228.05 IU|
|Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)||11.40 mcg (RAE)||1|
|Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||22.80 mcg (RE)|
|Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||0.00 mcg (RE)|
|Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||22.80 mcg (RE)|
|Beta-Carotene Equivalents||136.83 mcg|
|Lutein and Zeaxanthin||-- mcg|
|Vitamin D International Units (IU)||0.00 IU||0|
|Vitamin D mcg||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)||-- mg (ATE)||--|
|Vitamin E International Units (IU)||-- IU|
|Vitamin E mg||-- mg|
|Vitamin K||-- mcg||--|
|INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||0.02 g||1|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||0.00 g|
|14:1 Myristoleic||0.00 g|
|15:1 Pentadecenoic||0.00 g|
|16:1 Palmitol||0.00 g|
|17:1 Heptadecenoic||0.00 g|
|18:1 Oleic||0.00 g|
|20:1 Eicosenoic||0.00 g|
|22:1 Erucic||0.00 g|
|24:1 Nervonic||0.00 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids|
|18:2 Linoleic||0.00 g|
|18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)||-- g|
|18:3 Linolenic||0.02 g|
|18:4 Stearidonic||0.00 g|
|20:3 Eicosatrienoic||0.00 g|
|20:4 Arachidonic||0.00 g|
|20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)||0.00 g|
|22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)||0.00 g|
|22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)||0.00 g|
|Saturated Fatty Acids|
|4:0 Butyric||0.00 g|
|6:0 Caproic||0.00 g|
|8:0 Caprylic||0.00 g|
|10:0 Capric||0.00 g|
|12:0 Lauric||0.00 g|
|14:0 Myristic||0.00 g|
|15:0 Pentadecanoic||0.00 g|
|16:0 Palmitic||0.01 g|
|17:0 Margaric||0.00 g|
|18:0 Stearic||0.00 g|
|20:0 Arachidic||0.00 g|
|22:0 Behenate||0.00 g|
|24:0 Lignoceric||0.00 g|
|INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS|
|Aspartic Acid||-- g|
|Glutamic Acid||-- g|
|Organic Acids (Total)||-- g|
|Acetic Acid||-- g|
|Citric Acid||-- g|
|Lactic Acid||-- g|
|Malic Acid||-- g|
|Sugar Alcohols (Total)||-- g|
|Artificial Sweeteners (Total)||-- mg|
Note:The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.