Nutrition and Health

Want to be called a smart person? Have a look on this herb!

I still remember when I was at school in our break time, we used to stand in a very long raw waiting for our turn to get the one and only breakfast option they had at the cafeteria, which was (Manakeesh bil Zaatar) which is the Arabic name for a pastry with olive oil and a thyme mixture topping, it used to be tasty, sour, and filling, I still can remember the lovely taste I used to enjoy with my friends, leaving our hands full of oil and Zaatar (thyme).

We didn’t used to have any access to any kind of junk food that time (fortunately), and Manakeesh bil Zaatar used to recharge our brains with lots of energy required to absorb the tons of information taught to us in the next coming classes.

Zaatar is widely used in the middle eastern food, it is used in main dishes, salads and pastries, whether powder or raw. And the term Zaatar is also the name of the thyme mixture used to make Manakeesh, it consists of powdered thyme, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and some lemon juice.

This combination is usually mixed with olive oil, and used to make sandwiches or pastries in the middle east.


Thyme and your brain

Are you feeling down? You’re not feeling OK? Have a thyme tea with some meditation, and you’ll feel relaxed, thyme contains Apigenin, a compound that improves the connection between brain cells, which fights depression, Alzhiemer disease, Parkinsons’ disease, and improves memory and learning, it simply makes you smarter and more able to use your brain efficiently, and moreover, Apegenin reduces anxiety and makes you feel more relaxed, and promotes sleep.

 Thyme and your body

  • If your pretty face has been attacked by acne; you should give thyme a try! thyme has an antibacterial properties that might fight acne, and it’s high in antioxidants which gives your skin the freshness that you’re looking for. Apply some thyme extract on acne with a cotton bud carefully after washing your face and hands very well.
  • Because thyme is a rich source of Carvacrol, it helps defeat microbes causing sore throat, this compound attacks the microbes directly and can improve your health faster than other medications, so next time you have a sore throat, add some thyme oil to your food, or simply drink thyme tea with honey, it makes you feel better.


  • I hate to cough, it wakes me up at night breathless, and I feel like my lungs are going to get out of me! One of the most beneficial remedies to fight cough is thyme oil, it’s powerful in controlling cough, that’s why you find thyme oil as an essential component in cough medication.


  • If low blood pressure leaves you mentally and physically exhausted, like what happens to me in extremely hot weather, try to have thyme tea, it increases your blood circulation, improves your blood pressure level, fights fatigue and laziness.


  • If you have hypertension, thyme extract also plays an important role in lowering your blood pressure, and lowering your blood cholesterol as well.


  • Recent studies have shown that thyme extract has a great effect in fighting cancer, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and blood cancer, it acts directly on the cancer cells themselves due to the presence of Thymol, which kills cancer cells, in the same time, thyme helps you get rid of stress and improves your immunity system, which is also essential in fighting cancer.


  • Thyme improves digestion and treat colic, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gases, and soothes the digestive tract.


Manakeesh bil Zaatar Recipe

If you’d like to start your day with a delicious breakfast option with tons of the above mentioned benefits, follow my recipe below for a super Manakeesh bil Zaatar (again a pastry with a mouthwatering blend of olive oil and thyme mixture on the top).


For the dough:

2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup lukewarm water

1 Tbsp active dry yeast

3 Tbsp olive oil

For the topping:

¼ cup olive oil

5 Tbsp Zaatar mixture, or you can make your own Zaatar mixture:

2 Tbsp dried thyme leaves

1 Tbsp sumac

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 Tbsp lemon juice



Preparation method:

  • To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a big bowl.
  • Make a well in the center, and then add water and olive oil and mix well until a dough forms
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic.
  • Cover the bowl with a cling film and place it in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  • To make the topping; combine Zaatar mixture and olive oil together and mix with a spoon. (If you don’t have a ready Zaatar mixture combine all Zaatar mixture ingredients together and then add olive oil and stir well).
  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Take the dough out of the bowl, and on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for another 2 minutes
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal balls. 
  • Flatten each ball of dough with a rolling pin into a circle ½ inch thick and about 6-7 inch in diameter (you can also make them mini pastries, it’s up to you!).
  • Cover the dough circles and make them rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough circles onto an oiled baking tray.
  • Spread the oil and Zaatar mix on the top of each dough circle.
  • Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack for 12 minutes, or until the dough is a soft bread.
  • Serve hot with a cup of tea with mint.

That’s what happened when I saw thyme in my dream

I thought that thyme has a direct relationship with learning and intelligence only in reality, in the science of biology and food, but what I was amazed about is what happened to me when I saw thyme in one of my dreams, I was preparing for high school and searching for a good school to join that time, one night, I had a dream that I was looking for something in my bedroom, and I opened a big drawer, and found it full of dark green thyme! I woke up wondering what was the interpretation of that dream! 2 days later, I went for an interview at one of the best schools in the city, and when they saw my last year grades, they offered me a scholarship!! I was so happy, and my parents were very proud of me, and at that moment I remembered my thyme dream, and knew what it meant!

Thyme is a super food for your brain and your body in reality and in dreams, make it an addition to your salads and sandwiches, have it as a thyme tea when you decide to relax and have your own space, make it as your holiday breakfast and surprise your family with delicious pastries out of oven, enjoy thyme!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you soon. let me know what you think about the post. Also share via the buttons below to spread the word.


20 thoughts on “Want to be called a smart person? Have a look on this herb!

  1. Wow! It’s so nice to know about all of the medicinal properties of thyme! I’m starting to grow some in my garden and will definitely be using it to make Manakeesh bil Zaatar. What kind of flour to you suggest getting if you’re looking for a healthier kind? Does gluten-free dough work well as a substitute? Thank you for posting on this beautiful website.

    1. Hello Ciara,

      I’m so glad that you liked my article and my website 🙂

      If you’re looking for a healthier version of flour, then whole wheat flour is a good option, and regarding the gluten-free dough, you can use gluten-free flour, but because this flour lacks gluten which gives the dough its structure, it should be substituted with Xanthan gum or Guar gum, 1/4 tsp per 1 cup of gluten-free flour.

      Hope that was useful and don’t hesitate to ask more questions 🙂

  2. I came to the Middle East 7 years ago and I still remember the very first time I ate zaatar sandwich. I was like, “What’s this?” It’s black and salty and while eating the crumbs keep falling off so I had to clean up the floor after that. But I kind’a liked it. In fact I eat it alternately with cheese labna.

    I did not know it has these many health benefits, and especially it can make you smarter. Wow! I mean, who doesn’t want to get smart? Thanks for the recipe but because of my hectic schedule, I’d rather order it from the nearest restaurant.

    1. Thank you Alice for your lovely comment, yes Zaatar, labneh, and cheese are very famous in the middle east, we eat them almost everyday, and they are very nutritious as well.
      I’m glad that you like my post, and hope you would have time to try the recipe one day.


  3. I’ve never heard of Zaatar, but it sounds fantastic. I like the recipe you left – it sounds delicious and a great way to start the day! Thank you for this post. 🙂

  4. I never knew thyme had such powerful properties especially in curing and alleviating symptoms of anxiety! As someone who suffers from it i will have to give it a try. Definitely going to check out that zaatar recipe too!

    1. Thank you Kourtney for your comment, I’m glad that I added something new to your info.
      Yes try the recipe once and you’ll never regret it.

  5. So, here I am searching for natural ways to fight acne (for my teenage son), and I found your post. Now all I can think about is your Manakeesh bil Zaatar recipe. I can’t wait to try this at home! I didn’t realize how many positive effects Thyme can have, it truly sounds like a super food. Thyme can help with hypertension, sore throat, so many uses. One question for you, we live in the desert, do you have any tips on growing Thyme? I am not sure how well it will grow here. Thank you for sharing this article, it’s awesome.

    1. Hello Steve,
      Thank you for the super lovely comment.
      Regarding planting thyme, I have a small garden around my house, and I’m planting thyme in a normal soil, it grows easily, it doesn’t need specific circumstances to be grown, you can even plant it in a pot in a balcony or you can place the pot in any sunny outdoor area at your home, like a window for example, it grows fast, and all what it needs is water like other plants.
      Hope that was helpful 🙂

  6. Nice! I didn’t know that thyme had such great properties to it. I could use the recharge of my brain with my two kids running about! I also have high blood pressure and the occasional depression bouts that this might help with. Thank you for the information and I will be sure to try the recipe!

    1. Hello William,

      Thanks for your comment,
      You can find Thyme at grocery stores, but not sure about the thyme mixture, it’s available in groceries where they sell food of the middle east, and yes it can be a great topping for a pizza, and you can use it in preparing pizza sauce.

  7. Hello Rawan,

    Thyme must be a magical herb, with so many positive effects. I didn’t know all this about thyme. I must start to drink thyme tea and use thyme oil. So good to know that it has an antibacterial effect as well as a calming effect which is so good for our mood and our heart. We all have to start to add thyme to our diet, then many of todays diseases would be diminished.

    Would it be possible to keep thyme in the freezer. Or does it damage the antioxidants? How about the dried version, are the antioxidants still effective?

    Thank you for sharing your dream, it surely confirms that thyme is magical!


    1. Hello again sweet Pernilla,

      Thanks for your nice comment.
      Regarding freezing thyme, I usually use fresh thyme from my garden, I wash it, dry it, then rub it little bit with olive oil, then freeze it, this method will protect its benefits and green color.
      And yes dried thyme loses some benefits, for example lets say 1 Tbsp of thyme contains 20{e880f633cb09a43a3b9f095babf678cefaa1f712b7ef507afa79b72fa2e6e551} of Vitamin A, while 1 Tbsp of DRIED thyme will provide between 5-10{e880f633cb09a43a3b9f095babf678cefaa1f712b7ef507afa79b72fa2e6e551} of vitamin A only, but still have those benefits, simply double the consumed amount and you’ll get the same benefits.

      1. Thank you so much Rawan, for your answer. That’s an excellent tip to rub the dried thyme with olive oil to protect ist benifits and green colour before freezing it.

        I’ll keep in mind to use thyme more often now.

        Like your website and your competent advices.


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