Herbs: Benefits of Thyme and Oregano

Thyme

When folks want to eat healthy, I tell them to add herbs to their dishes to avoid “boring” food. Herbs at the store can be expensive and take planning. You need fresh herbs usually the same day you make your dish. But why not grow them in a container or in the ground? You will have them when you need them.

Thyme and oregano are some of the simplest herbs to grow and use. Thyme and oregano are an evergreen that is aromatic and grows in SoCal year round. Making spaghetti sauce? Add thyme or oregano. Grilling chicken (or veggies, for the vegetarians)? Add thyme or oregano. Need a quick appetizer? Have thyme, oregano, and garlic infused olive oil with crusty bread. There really isn’t too much you can’t do with thyme and oregano. How about drying it for tea? It can be done, and have some health benefits, as well.

My oregano in a container

Here are their benefits: thyme and oregano are considered an antiseptic, astringent, carminative (relieves gas and bloating), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal. They contain flavonoids and tannins and other beneficial phytochemicals. Because of their benefits, thyme and oregano can be used for lung conditions (eg bronchitis, asthma, upper respiratory tract infections), gastrointestinal disorders [eg dyspepsia, colic, flatulence, diarrhea (especially children), urinary tract infections and inflammation], and decrease in spasmodic conditions related to lungs, urinary tract and colon.

Here is a recipe I received using thyme from the Green Wisdom Herbal Studies classes I have been attending.

Thyme Vinegar
Soothes sore throats, gum disease, coughs, and athlete’s foot

Fill a 16oz jar with fresh thyme or 1/3 cup of dried thyme. Cover with cider vinegar, place lid on mixture and let sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily. Strain.

For cough: use 1-2 teaspoons in water to taste. You may add honey.

For fungal infections of the foot: mix ½ cup thyme vinegar with ½ cup of water. Soak for 10 minutes. Dry without rinsing.

Because thyme and oregano are from the same plant family (Lamiaceae), they have similar properties. I do have both growing in my yard and use both regularly, especially, when a recipe calls for them…no more running to the store to buy them. Enjoy!

About Sharon M., MS RD

As a registered dietitian and a master gardener, I know the healing power of food. Nothing has given me more satisfaction than growing my own food. I have experience working in the public health field, including school districts. I have worked with pregnant moms, children, diabetics, and bariatric patients. I emphasis a plant-based, whole food diet. Yet, I appreciate the movement of eating sustainably, while hoping folks appreciate the bean as a source of protein. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld "Feeding is going well if both you and yor child are having a good time." -Ellyn Satter
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