(Last Updated on : 09/07/2011)
Thyme leaves are popular for their strong flavour. It belongs to the family named Labiatae. The botanical name of thyme is Thymus vulgaris Linn (Thyme) and
Thymus serpyllum Linn (Wild Thyme). In India thyme is known in various names depending upon the particular language. In Hindi language
it is called Banajwain, In Punjabi language
it is Marizha, Masho and Rangsbur and in Urdu language
it is known as Hasha.
Dried leaves and flowering tops of both the species are known as Thyme, though commercially the cultivated variety that is the first variety is important and globally popular. It is not traditionally popular spice in India, but gaining popularity during recent past due to impact of globalization.
The dried leaves are curled, of brownish green colour, usually not longer than 6 to 7 mm and marketed in whole or ground form. The flavour is aromatic, warm and pungent.
Composition Of Thyme Leaves
Iron:0.14 mg/100 gram
Vitamin A (carotene):175 I.U./100 gram
Vitamin B1:51 mg/100 gram
Vitamin B2:0.4 mg/100 gram
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):12 mg/100 gram
Niacin:4.9 mg/100 gram.
Calorific value: 340 calories/100 grams.
Crushed thyme on steam distillation yields about 2.5% volatile oil, which is a colourless to yellowish-reddish liquid with a pleasant odour characteristic of the herb and a sharp taste.
The chief constituent of the oil is thymol (about45%). In the pure state, thymol consists of colourless, translucent crystals possessing aromatic thyme like odour and a pungent taste. Thymol is in great demand in India and a lot of thymol is being imported. Even globally thyme has in great demand. The wild thyme yields 0.5% essential oil, as compared to 2.5% in cultivated thyme, which contains phenol etc. The herb is used to season tomato soups, clam chowder and juice, fish and meat dishes and poultry dressings. It is also used in liver sausage, pork sausage, headcheese, cottage cheese and cream cheese.
Uses of Thyme Leaves
The oil of thyme is also popularly used for flavouring purposes. It is preferred in food industry than the spice itself because the oil can be appropriately dosed. The oil is well recognized for its medicinal properties. It is employed in preparations for treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough
. The oil of wild thyme is applied to tooth ache. In Punjab
, the herb of wild thyme is given in weak vision, complaints of stomach and liver, suppression of urine and menstruation.
Te herb has a lot of medicinal virtues. It has capacity to thin phlegm and blood, thus acts as expectorant and reduces serum cholesterol. It is good for cough, stomach troubles and a lot of other qualities. In Europe, it was traditionally used as part of home remedy. Thus, it can be used for manufacture of herbal medicinal preparations. In a gist the benefits of thyme are bas follows...
* It has warmed clove like flavour.
* It over powers on masks other herbs if thyme is used liberally
* It helps in digestion of fat -a must for a mutton and pork.
* Thyme tea is excellent for cough and cold.
* It helps to digest all foods.
*It Induce appetite.
* `Thymol ` has antiseptic properties. It is used in ointments, bath, toothpaste and mouth washes
* Effective in Mucous membranes in lungs and stomach.