[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
Thyme honey is a sweet substance, characterized by a very particular aroma, a unique taste and a beautiful color and incomparable purity. It comes from thyme, an aromatic plant well known in Mediterranean and Provençal flora and cuisine, but also for its therapeutic properties. The plant has flowers that attract bees. Just like the plant, honey is also aromatic and also has a multitude of virtues. Very popular, it is renowned for its antiseptic and healing effects which are associated with many other benefits for the body. It helps relieve many infections and is often recommended for the prevention of infectious, respiratory and digestive pathologies.
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
What is thyme?
Thyme is a plant that belongs to the botanical family Lamiaceae. This perennial subshrub of a low height of 10 to 40 cm, with woody stems, erect or ascending and very strongly branched, is particularly fragrant. These stems form a very tight little bush. The plant is grown in gardens or fields as an aromatic or medicinal plant. Lanceolate oval in shape, the leaves are very small; they are very aromatic. The pinkish or almost white flowers, 4 to 6 mm long, appear during the summer period. Rarely isolated, they are grouped in spikes, inserted in twos or threes at the level of the axils of the upper leaves of the stems. The taproots form a dense clump.
Used in cooking, thyme is characterized by an aromatic profile and an exceptional smell. It is also rich in essential oil, the main components of which are thymol and carvacrol, aromatic compounds. Thyme, the best known species of which is common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), is a honey plant which produces honey highly prized for its flavor and aroma as well as its therapeutic properties.
We remember that thyme is an aromatic and medicinal plant which is also of beekeeping interest.
What is thyme honey and how is it obtained?
Thyme honey is a sweet natural substance produced by honey bees from the nectar of thyme flowers that the bees collect, transform and combine with specific materials that they secrete.
Thyme is, therefore, a honey plant which secretes nectar from which the bee makes its honey. Nectar is a sweet liquid found in thyme flowers. It is harvested by bees, in particular workers who have an oral apparatus that allows them to extract this sweet liquid. They forage on flowers in search of food for the hive housing a colony of bees. When the bees, loaded with nectar which is stored in their crop (honey stomach), reach the hive, they return this sweet liquid to the other bees in the form of fine droplets. To do this, forager bees regurgitate the nectar and push the tip of their tongue towards the mouths of the bees they want to feed. This mouth-to-mouth eating pattern is called trophallaxis. We can also ask ourselves the question: given that honey is sweet, does it make you gain weight? Well I deal with this question in my article dedicated to honey.
Bees regurgitate the nectar several times and mix it with their saliva. Bee saliva contains enzymes that transform sucrose, the sugar contained in nectar characterized by a high water content. The mixture obtained is still too liquid. To do this, the bees ventilate the cells so that approximately 15 to 20% water remains, after 2 to 3 days. At this stage, the honey is ripe, the bees close the cell with a wax cover. The honey is, therefore, stored in the cells which are capped. The beekeeper, having verified that the bees have stored sufficient honey, comes to harvest this sweet substance, by placing honeycombs.
Also, to obtain thyme honey, the hives are placed near this plant species, during its flowering, and the harvest takes place at the end of the honey flow.
What are the particularities of organic labeled thyme honey?
Certified organic thyme honey is a honey that comes from plants from organic farming with European AB (Organic Agriculture) certification. A certification that guarantees you quality, organic thyme honey. To receive this organic or organic beekeeping certification, the beekeeper must follow specifications concerning the organic production method and must be controlled by a certification body.
Thus, the beekeeper must respect numerous rules concerning, among other things:
- The location of the beekeeping stock or foraging area: the hive must be at least 3 km away from urban centers, highways, industrial zones, landfills, waste incinerators, etc. The charter for organic beekeeping requires that apiaries be positioned in areas free from proven sources of pollution.
- Installation of hives: hives must be installed in areas of spontaneous flora or surrounded by organic or wild crops over a radius of 3 km.
- The construction of hives: they must be built with untreated materials, without synthetic paints or varnishes. Just like hives, supers must be made of materials that present no risk of contamination for the bees.
- Harvesting methods: harvesting organic thyme honey must be carried out without the use of chemical repellents.
- Honey extraction methods: they must be entirely natural. Thus, organic thyme honey is a honey whose extraction has been carried out cold and without heating. It is a honey which is extracted at room temperature and which does not undergo any manipulation likely to alter the flavor and virtues of this sweet substance.
Organic thyme honey is therefore a honey that does not contain any chemicals. It is pure honey, resulting from a natural extraction process.
What are the characteristics of thyme honey?
Thyme honey is of floral origin. It comes from the nectar of the thyme flower which is collected and transformed by bees to produce a very specific honey. It is a mono-floral honey which is produced from the nectar of a single type of flower, notably that of the thyme flower. It is characterized by:
- A taste: this pronounced and delicate taste is a mixture of the sweetness of honey and the subtle taste of thyme. This assertive taste of incomparable sweetness is distinguished by a remarkable length in the mouth. This fragrant taste is better when the honey comes from an organic beekeeping stock.
- A color: the color of thyme honey is orange, slightly amber, and lightens when it crystallizes.
- A scent and a flavor: with an intense, pronounced and unique aromatic scent, thyme honey is characterized by a delicate and sweet flavor, fragrant and pleasant.
- A texture: its texture is liquid at the start of harvest or at the time of extraction, then creamy and smooth when the honey solidifies naturally.
What are the properties of thyme honey?
With a water content, thyme honey is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts. Thyme honey draws its properties from the various components.
The components include a high concentration of antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids. These components are characterized by antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that promote premature aging of the skin and also contribute to the development of various pathologies and conditions, including degenerative pathologies, cardiac pathologies, various forms of cancer, cellulite, cataracts and asthma. Thanks to this strong antioxidant power, thyme honey protects cells from aging and against the harmful effects of free radicals.
The phenol and thymol contained in thyme honey are powerful antiseptics which prove effective against infectious pathologies. These components help destroy pathogenic germs in the skin and mucous membranes and accelerate the healing phase. Thyme honey consists of carvacrol, linalool, thuyanol, alpha terpineol, geraniol or paracymene. These molecules also give it antiseptic properties.
Amino acids, in this case thymol and carvacrol, are characterized by antibacterial activities. They are involved in the regeneration and healing of the epidermis. The action of this compound damages the cell membrane of bacteria and blocks their proliferation. The acidic pH and low humidity level of thyme honey also prevents the growth of bacteria.
Action at the level of metabolic reactions
Thyme honey contains vitamins A, C, D and K which are involved in a multitude of metabolic reactions in the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant. Vitamin C, essential for immune defenses, provides tone and protects against cellular aging. Vitamin D, which boosts our immune defenses, is essential for the functioning of the body, while playing an essential role in the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus by the bones. Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting.
Thyme honey’s high quercetin content is associated with antiallergic properties. Quercetin is a flavonoid that reduces allergic reactions and symptoms of spring allergies by preventing the release of histamine from basophils and mast cells. It stabilizes the membranes of mast cells which are responsible for the release of histamine, a substance which promotes the appearance of itching, sneezing or swelling in an allergic region.
Thyme honey is characterized by antifungal properties which inhibit the proliferation of fungi. The thymol contained in thyme honey has an antifungal activity which helps treat infections caused by fungi. Thymol combined with carvacrol reinforces the antifungal effectiveness of thyme honey.
Thyme honey provides digestive comfort and improves digestion. It promotes digestion and is effective in cases of difficult digestion. Furthermore, it contributes to improving the health of the digestive system, while helping to treat various digestive and intestinal problems. It is a digestive stimulant and a regulator of digestive metabolism.
Thyme honey has anti-inflammatory properties. This anti-inflammatory activity is linked to the action of flavonoids such as quercetin which helps reduce pain and swelling, by inhibiting the release of histamine and other mediators of inflammation (prostaglandins and leukotrienes ). Thyme honey is therefore effective in preventing chronic inflammation.
Thyme honey contains vitamins that tone the body. These toning properties stimulate the human body with an energizing effect that combats fatigue and facilitates physical recovery.
Thyme honey has soothing properties that promote sleep. Through the activities of thymol, it also soothes the respiratory tract and various inflammatory pathologies.
What are the benefits of thyme honey?
At the level of the digestive system
Honey has medicinal properties that help stimulate the digestive system and prevent various gastrointestinal ailments, including gastritis, stomach ulcers, colic and colitis. It is an antispasmodic for the digestive tract. Thus, it facilitates digestion and calms nervous contractions of the stomach and intestines. Through its deworming activities, it helps eliminate intestinal worms. It has a bactericidal action on intestinal bacteria which are often the cause of diarrhea and dysentery.
In doing so, thyme honey allows you to have a healthy digestive system and relieve stomach aches. It contributes to digestive health by reducing harmful bacteria and promoting the development of probiotics or the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system. The benefits of thyme honey also help regulate intestinal transit.
At the level of the respiratory system
The benefits of thyme honey are evident in the health of the respiratory system. This natural product improves respiratory health, is beneficial to the lungs and helps relieve symptoms related to the respiratory tract. The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties help treat lung infections by clearing mucus and soothing the airways. It is an expectorant that promotes the secretion of mucus, thus freeing the lungs and respiratory tract.
So, you can use thyme honey to treat coughs and bronchitis. The anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties contribute to the alleviation of asthma and cough symptoms resulting from allergies. Thus, thanks to the benefits of thyme honey, it is possible to relieve respiratory tract infections, colds or sore throats.
At the level of the immune system
Our immune system allows us to fight against diseases and pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites). Thyme honey is an excellent source that allows us to strengthen our immune system against inflammation. This source of antioxidants and vitamins stimulates the immune system and improves the capacity of natural defenses to fight infections or viruses. The benefits of honey contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system and the maintenance of resistance with active and strong defenses. Thus providing our body with natural protection.
The healing properties of thyme honey
Thyme honey is known for its healing properties. This is why it is used to speed up the healing process of wounds that affect patients. This excellent healing power is linked to the presence of phenols, in this case, thymol and carvacrol. This virtue is highly appreciated in the medical world where thyme honey is used by surgeons to promote the acceleration of the healing of deep, serious or superficial wounds. It is medicalized honey, processed in the laboratory which is applied in the form of a sterile compress, acting like a dressing. The benefits of applying thyme honey free of all impurities and bacteria help prevent wound infections.
Indeed, thyme honey is a powerful disinfectant with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties, which stimulate metabolism and thus accelerate cellular reconstruction, while optimizing healing. It reduces edema and inflammation of tissues. It heals wounds quickly and clearly, whether internal (canker sores, digestive ulcers) or external (wounds, burns, bedsores). Thus, uncontaminated thyme honey is very effective in healing very specific wounds.
The healing properties of thyme honey are associated with beneficial effects on venous ulcers as well as skin type ulcers. Thyme honey disinfects and accelerates wound healing. It reduces the pain and duration of ulcers located in the mouth.
The healing power of thyme honey is evident on infected wounds. It promotes rapid and clear healing with a significant reduction in germs, in particular bacteria. The antibacterial properties of thyme honey are indicated on infected wounds from diabetic lesions or surgical incisions.
Furthermore, thyme honey helps eradicate unpleasant or fetid odors coming from certain infected wounds. Thyme honey stimulates the body’s natural defenses. Thus, with its bactericidal action, it is effective in the presence of infected wounds which affect people who are victims of HIV/AIDS and have a weakened immune system.
The immediate application of thyme honey to burns promotes accelerated healing and reconstruction of the skin, while inducing rapid healing. This honey is very effective in the presence of superficial first degree burns; it improves healing time.
Bed sores or tissue necrosis can be treated with thyme honey which improves the appearance of the skin and opposes the proliferation of microbes. Thus, you have the possibility of using thyme honey characterized by antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in the treatment of bedsores, with a view to promoting cell proliferation and, gradually, rapid healing.
Where is thyme honey found?
Thyme honey is produced in several countries. It is available in many countries around the Mediterranean, particularly in North Africa and southern Europe. It is found in France and Spain.
In Morocco, several regions are renowned for the production of thyme honey, notably the Immouzer region (near Agadir, in the south of the country).
In Italy, thyme honey from the Iblei Mountains (in the south-eastern part of Sicily) is well known. The species of thyme found there is wild thyme. You can also find thyme honey of Italian origin in stores, in particular from Corsica and Sardinia.
Greece has several production areas, including Thyme honey from Mount Hymettus (in Attica, near Athens).
Thyme honey is also produced in New Zealand. The species that you can find there and which is, moreover, the floral source of this honey, is common thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
Where to buy thyme honey?
If you want to benefit from the benefits of thyme honey, you can buy it through various sales networks. It is advisable to buy organic thyme honey which is of excellent quality. It can be purchased from beekeepers. When you buy from producers, you can have information relating to the method of production and extraction of honey. Sometimes, the latter exhibit their production during markets or agricultural fairs to allow everyone to buy thyme honey. But, there are organic stores that allow you to purchase this natural product. During your various shopping trips, you can see it on the supermarket shelves. Grocery stores are also places where thyme honey is sold.
There are online sales networks. So, for those who love online shopping, they can easily buy thyme honey through websites. Beekeepers also have sites that allow them to sell their production and inform customers about the availability of thyme honey before purchasing it. You can find a selection of excellent quality thyme honey on other sites dedicated to the sale of thyme honey.