What is the difference between oregano and thyme

What is the difference between oregano and thyme

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Finding the difference between oregano and thyme is immediately difficult: often plants are confused with each other due to the similarity in appearance. Each of the herbs belongs to the Lamb family, has a number of properties and its own field of application.

Oregano and thyme: are they the same thing or not?

In dried form, it is very difficult to distinguish them without certain skills and knowledge. In cooking, herbs are interchangeable, as their taste and aroma are almost the same.

Important! You should not buy a drug if it contains the wrong plant. The chemical composition of herbs is different.

The synonymous name for thyme is thyme. It is known as a spice or spice. Oregano can be found in culinary reference books under a different "name" - oregano. It is used for making pizzas and soups.

What is the Difference Between Thyme and Oregano

If the herb is harvested as a spice, both can be used. The difference between thyme and oregano is fundamentally important for those people who need plants for medicinal purposes.

What thyme and oregano look like

The stem of oregano is practically not branched, pubescent, with medium-sized leaf plates. They are located in pairs, opposite each other, have pointed tips.

The inflorescences of oregano are in the form of a panicle with tubular buds, pink and purple in color.

The height of the oregano bush does not exceed 0.5-0.8 m

Thyme has a creeping stem, which makes it difficult to harvest. Plant height up to 35 cm. The stem is covered with numerous small leaves, attached in a checkerboard pattern. They are hard and pointed to the touch. Their petioles are short, practically indistinguishable upon examination.

In thyme, the buds are collected in a brush, whose color can vary from white to light purple and pinkish shades.

Taste and aroma

Dried thyme and oregano are difficult to distinguish. Both have a sweetish, rich aroma with a hint of woody bitterness. The plants are similar in taste, so culinary specialists use them in their dishes as interchangeable products. But it should be borne in mind that thyme has a camphor shade, while oregano is more tart.

Chemical composition

And if thyme and oregano are similar in the photo, then their chemical composition has great differences.

Until the 20th century, little was known about the beneficial properties, but later scientists were able to study the plant and its components:

  • B vitamins;
  • vitamin C;
  • tocopherol;
  • manganese;
  • potassium;
  • iron;
  • zinc;
  • calcium;
  • selenium;
  • phosphorus;
  • sodium.

Contained in thyme and essential oil rich in thymol and carvacrol. The first of them is a strong antiseptic with a bactericidal effect. The second substance is capable of effectively destroying microorganisms that disrupt the functioning of the intestines, as well as fight inflammatory processes.

The flavonoids and tannins present in thyme are an excellent hemostatic agent. The presence of oleanolic acid provides the body with protection from viruses. Possesses thyme and tonic effect to support muscle mass, improve the work of the endocrine system. This property is provided by ursolic acid, which is part of thyme.

Thyme is unpretentious when grown, it can be harvested from June to August

Oregano is rich in flavonoids and phenolic acids. Herb oil has a pleasant aroma and bactericidal properties. Oregano contains the following minerals and vitamins:

  • vitamin C;
  • beta carotene;
  • iodine;
  • phosphorus;
  • thiamine;
  • sodium;
  • niacin;
  • potassium;
  • iron.

Oregano is popularly known as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic and urinary remedy.

Growing places

The homeland of oregano is considered to be Southwest Asia and North Africa. But the culture grows well from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. Herbs are cultivated in France and the USA.

Oregano is found everywhere: on the edges, slopes and glades and in forests, it is unpretentious, but does not like clay and acidic soils

Thyme can be found in southern Europe, the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The plant prefers forests and rocky slopes.

Which is healthier: oregano or thyme

The value of herbs must be judged in relation to the purpose of their use. The healing properties of thyme are:

  1. Expansion of the bronchi and destruction of microbes, which allows you to fight diseases of the respiratory system. A feature of the herb is that it has a bactericidal effect even in cases where antibiotic resistance has appeared.
  2. Expectorant effect due to increased secretion of bronchial glands and sputum dilution. Thyme is used by dentists and for inhalation as an enveloping agent.
  3. Dermatological diseases: helps in the treatment of furunculosis, acne. Thyme infusions can be used to cleanse purulent wounds and ulcers.
  4. With gastritis and other intestinal pathologies, the broth improves digestion and increases appetite.
  5. Analgesic effect for neuralgia, migraines and radiculitis.
  6. Calming effect in case of nervous strain. For insomnia and stress, it is recommended to purchase a pillow with thyme.

The most common and easiest way to use thyme is to brew tea in low concentrations for general strengthening of the body.

Despite the abundance of nutrients, thyme can harm humans. Since the plant has high biological activity, it is recommended to refuse its use in the following cases:

  • inflammatory processes in the liver and gallbladder;
  • stomach ulcer;
  • a tendency to diarrhea or bowel obstruction;
  • atrial fibrillation;
  • hypothyroidism;
  • bronchial asthma.

It is not recommended to give thyme tea to children under two years of age, as well as pregnant women without a doctor's prescription.

Despite the fact that the composition of oregano is less biologically active than that of thyme, it can be used in the following cases:

  • as an adjunct in the treatment of bronchitis and pneumonia;
  • with epilepsy, neuroses;
  • to reduce stomach cramps;
  • as an antihistamine;
  • to get rid of cellulite, eczema, boils;
  • with pathologies of the intestines, gums.

A decoction of oregano has a beneficial effect on women's health: it reduces pain during menstruation and during menopause, and normalizes the cycle.

The herb is of considerable importance for women in the postpartum period, the broth helps to normalize lactation, the rapid contraction of the uterus.

Important! Oregano contains phytohormones that reduce testosterone levels in the male body.

Oregano should be abandoned by people with a tendency to allergic diseases, stomach ulcers, during pregnancy.

Long-term use of oregano is dangerous for men's health, therefore it is recommended to drink the infusion as directed by a doctor.

There is a difference between thyme and oregano, not only in composition, but also in purpose of use. Oregano is considered to be a female herb, a male thyme. In minimal doses, as a spice, they can be eaten without restrictions, but plants should not be confused as a treatment.

Differences in the use of herbs

The area of ​​use of oregano and thyme is very wide. And, despite the similarities in taste and appearance, there are distinctive features of the use of herbs.

In cooking

It is generally accepted that thyme is, first of all, a medicinal plant. But it is also successfully used in cooking. It is customary to add it to fatty dishes with pork and lamb to improve digestion. The spice goes well with black pepper. In the Mediterranean, chopped thyme is sprinkled on vegetable and fish dishes.

Thyme should be added to soups 30 minutes before cooking, to main courses in the process, and to salads before serving

Oregano uses leaves and flowers in Europe and Asia as a spice. In France, oregano is added to pizza and mushroom dishes. It is an oregano and an obligatory component in mixtures for sausages, pâté. The spice is successfully used in sauces.

Oregano leaves are slightly "burned", have a bitter spicy aroma, so they can be added when pickling vegetables, in beer and kvass. Good pairing with oregano with black pepper, basil and marjoram.

Dishes with oregano added have a longer shelf life

In folk medicine

The most common use of herbs is tea or tea. Both plants are included in the soothing collection, otherwise their area of ​​application depends on the specific disease.

From thyme, it is possible to prepare ointments, alcoholic tinctures and healing oils. Oregano in folk medicine is more often used as a woman's drink. It is possible to make a decoction.

In home cosmetology

It is oregano that is known as a cosmetic product due to its high content of antioxidants. These substances strengthen the walls of blood vessels, have a regenerative effect, restore blood circulation, and eliminate signs of irritation.

You can use oregano in various ways: add as one of the components to masks, prepare decoctions and make ice cubes for rubbing your face.

Thyme is added to soothing baths, used as a prophylactic agent for acne. It is recommended to wipe combination and oily skin with broths. Thyme is prized in cosmetology for its anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictor and antibacterial properties. This allows you to reduce pores, stabilize the sebaceous glands.


The main difference between oregano and thyme is in the chemical composition of herbs. Thyme is more biologically active than oregano. For medicinal purposes, it is necessary to choose a specific herb. But both oregano and thyme can be used as spices.

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