Thyme is indigenous to the Mediterranean. This plant has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Thyme tastes delicately green with a faint clove aftertaste.
Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant. Thyme also contains flavonoids including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin that have potent antioxidant activity.
Dried thyme is an excellent source of vitamin K, providing 17.1 mcg or 21% of daily values per tablespoon. It is also a good source of iron and manganese.
Although more than 100 varieties of thyme exist, garden thyme is what is most commonly used for cooking purposes. Thyme is integral to French cuisine and is widely used in Creole and Cajun cooking. Thyme adds depth of flavor to soups, stews and casseroles an almost any dish containing meat. Thyme is commonly used in clam chowder. This herb is often used in marinades and in stuffings.
The oil of thyme is used in mouthwashes to treat inflammation of the mouth and throat infections. It is a common component of cough drops.