Broad Leaf Thyme(Coleus amboinicus, synonym Plectranthus amboinicus benth) also known as Cuban Oregano, Spanish Oregano, Spanish thyme, Poor man’s pork, Indian Borage, Country borage, Pudina, French thyme, Indian mint, Mexican mint, Soup mint, is a sprawling large herb that is fleshy and highly aromatic with an agreeable and refreshing oregano-like flavor. It is native to Southern and Eastern Africa, from South Africa to Angola and Mozambique, and north to Kenya and Tanzania, where it grows in woodland or coastal bush, on rocky slopes and loamy or sandy flats at low elevations.
It is a shrub with a tendency for climbing or creeping. It is a medicinal plant used widely in traditional medicine and also around the world. It is a succulent, aromatic, perennial herb belonging to the mint Lamiaceae family. The leaves of the plant are often eaten raw or used as flavoring agents, or incorporated as ingredients in the preparation of traditional food.
The main chemical compounds found in the essential oil of Coleus amboinicus are carvacrol (28.65%), thymol (21.66%), α-humulene (9.67%), undecanal (8.29%), γ terpinene (7.76%), p-cymene (6.46%), caryophyllene oxide (5.85%), α-terpineol (3.28%), and β-selinene (2.01%). Another analysis obtained thymol (41.3%), carvacrol (13.25%), 1,8-cineole (5.45%), eugenol (4.40%), caryophyllene (4.20%), terpinolene (3.75%), α-pinene (3.20%), β-pinene (2.50%), methyl eugenol (2.10%), and β-phellandrene (1.90%). The variations can be attributed to the methodology used in the extraction process, seasonal variations, soil type, climate, genetic and geographical variations of the plant.
While it is primarily used as a culinary herb to add flavor to dishes, it also has several medicinal uses.
Here Are 10 Medicinal Health Benefits Of Broad Leaf Thyme
1. Cures Respiratory Issues
If you are suffering from a cold, a sore throat, congestion, a stuffy nose, or painful sinuses, you can chew on the leaves of broadleaf thyme or brew tea from the leaves. The compounds contained in the herb act as a powerful expectorant to remove mucus and phlegm from your respiratory tracts and clear out your sinuses. This can also help to boost your immune system by avoiding bacteria or other pathogens from lodging and developing in your tracts. It is also used for a range of other problems such as infections, rheumatism and flatulence-ulcerations, scorpion bite, skin allergy, wounds, and diarrhea, with emphasis on the leaves being used as a hepatic-protective and to promote liver health. Broadleaf thyme is sudorific, meaning that it motivates sweating, which also helps to clear out toxins through the skin and speed the recovery process.
2. It’s used as a natural pain reliever
Some of the organic compounds and minerals found in this herb have been revealed to be mildly sedative in nature, so this herbal remedy, mostly in tea form, is often offered to people with high chronic pain, anxiety, or chronic stress to encourage relaxation, peace of mind, and healthy, restful sleep. The content of omega-6 fatty acids present in the leaf of broad-leaf thyme is supposed to reduce arthritis. Additionally, athletes are also recommended to consume this leaf to prevent osteoporosis. Women will be glad to read that this plant reduces menstrual pains, delivery pains, and headaches. In India and some parts of Indonesia, the herb is given to lactating mothers to increase the milk flow. It is also reported to relieve kidney troubles, treat vaginal discharges, and is drunk after childbirth. In India, its leaves are rubbed onto the eyes to alleviate conjunctivitis
3. It is Used for Skincare and to treat Skin Ailments
The herb is used as a folk remedy for burns and bites, internally as a carminative and anti-asthma, and applied externally as an insect repellant. It is also used medicinally in Brazil for the treatment of skin ulcerations caused by Leishmania braziliensis. Juice of the leaves is used to treat skin allergies in India. From bug bites and stings to eczema and psoriasis, Indian borage possesses anti-inflammatory compounds that can rapidly reduce redness and swelling, while also eliminating itchiness and irritation.
4. It has Anti-cancer Potential
Research has discovered that the stem of this plant was rich in antioxidants and has the capability to scavenge free radicals. The extract of this plant helped inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and also, has displayed the potential for antiplatelet accumulation ability.
5. It is used to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Since ancient times, broadleaf thyme was used traditionally to settle upset stomachs and relieve irritable bowel syndrome by regulating digestion and soothing stomach inflammation. Brewing tea from the leaves of Indian borage is the most effective way to take advantage of this health benefit.
6. It is used to Improve Kidney Health
Broadleaf thyme acts as a quite effective diuretic, which means that it can clean the body of toxins by stimulating urination. This also reduces the amount of excess salt, fat, and water in the body, keeping the kidneys and lymphatic system functioning smoothly.
7. It Could help Improve vision
Broadleaf thyme is also used to improve one’s sight. The plant consists of vitamin A which can reduce oxidative stress in the eyes and prevent macular degeneration.
8. Digestive Aid:
It has been used to aid digestion and relieve digestive discomfort such as bloating, indigestion, and flatulence. It may also help stimulate appetite.
9. It is used as a poultice
Due to its Anti-inflammatory Properties, Cuban oregano has been used topically as a poultice or in oils to help reduce inflammation and soothe skin irritations like insect bites, scorpion bites and rashes to help prevent swelling and inflammation.
10. It is widely used in folk medicine to treat conditions like colds, asthma, constipation, headache, cough, fever, and skin diseases. Also, it has been found to be effective against respiratory, cardiovascular, oral, skin, digestive, and urinary diseases.
Culinary Uses Of Broad Leaf Thyme
- Aromatic leaves are used as a food additive or spice, flavoring meat, soups, fish, and local beer.
- Leaves are strongly flavored and used for the stuffing of meat and poultry, beef, lamb, and game.
- Herb is used as a substitute for oregano to mask the strong odors and flavors of fish, mutton, and goat.
- Herb is used as a substitute for oregano in the food trade and food labeled “oregano-flavor” may well contain this herb.
- Dried leaves are used to prepare marinade, stuffing or it can also be used as a potherb.
- It adds punch to your dishes and can be used in condiments for sour soup and stews.
- It can be eaten raw with bread and butter, fried in batter, or flavored for wine, beer, salads, and tea.
- Leaves can be chopped, made into flour balls, and fried in oil.
It’s worth noting that while Cuban oregano has a long history of traditional use, scientific research on its medicinal properties is limited. As with any herbal remedy, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist before using Cuban oregano for medicinal purposes, particularly if you have any existing health conditions or are taking medications.