May 8, 2012

Herb & Spice Fact of the Day

Having nightmares? Place a little thyme under your pillow for a restful night! Thyme has been used for healing, good health, and cleansing. The ancient Egyptians used thyme in the mummification process. The ancient Greeks sprinkled thyme in their baths and used it on bandages to prevent infection. The ancient Romans used thyme in the treatment of depression. Thyme was also placed in coffins to ensure passage to the next world. Needless to say, thyme is packed with numerous health benefiting phytonutrients (plant derived compounds), minerals and vitamins that have made it so popular since ancient times. 

The essential oil, Thymol, is the main ingredients in thyme and it has been shown to have antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Other volatile oils in thyme include carvacolo, borneol and geraniol. It also contains flavonoids and Phenolic antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin. Fresh thyme has one of the highest antioxidant levels among culinary herbs. 

Thyme also is a rich source of B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C and folic acid (Vitamin B9). There are more than a 100 varieties of thyme and each one has a slightly distinct taste. In general, thyme has a slightly pungent, spicy, clove-like flavor. It has a strong flavor, so a little bit goes a long way.

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