Thyme Growing in Jordan

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern herb grown primarily for a spice blend of the same name. There are a few different herbs that are referred to as Za’atar, though they are more commonly identified as Syrian oregano (Oreganum syricum) and pink or thyme-leaved savory (Satureja thrymba).

The plant whose common name is Za’atar and the one believed to be the “true Za’atar” is botanically known as Thymbra spicata. This member of the mint family also goes by the name donkey hyssop and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for over 1,000 years.


Za’atar is a leafy green herb that looks very much like oregano when the plant first begins to grow; its fuzzy, spear-shaped leaves growing in clustered pairs along woody stems. As the plant grows and the stems develop, the leaves grow longer and thinner, more blade-like.

Za’atar can grow up to three feet tall and develops spiked clusters at the top of its stems that bloom with pinkish-purple flowers.

Za’atar is fragrant, and has an aroma similar to oregano. The primary compound in Za’atar leaves is carvacrol, which is the main component in oil of oregano. The taste is mild, but it also has a bit of spice.


Why Jordan

In Jordan, women bring their own Za’atar blend with them to the town baker who will make flat bread, or manouchet za'atar, using the family’s own blend of spices. The chewy bread is coated with olive oil and a heavy spread of the herb blend and then baked. Herb blends from around the Middle East are very different, depending on the region and the local herbs used in the blends. Most za’atar herb blends outside of the Middle Eastern region are not made with true Za’atar, but with thyme or oregano. In Jordan, oil is extracted from the Za’atar leaves and is for medicinal purposes.

  • Up till the year 1994, Jordan was importing fresh thyme from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.
  • In 1994, Jordan imported 431 tons of fresh thyme.
  • Until 2012, the cultivated agricultural area in Jordan expanded to reach four million acres, mostly concentrated in the Jordan Valley region
    • Plastic houses were added to improve the plantations levels, but so far Jordan has not reached the self-sufficiency of thyme due to the high and increasing demand to buy the highly and multi-beneficial thyme in its green form or as Za’atar.
    • The USAID Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative, a three-year project aims to introduce a model that integrates hydroponic farming and renewable energy generation for large commercial farms and small rural households. The main focus is:
      • Improving water efficiency in agriculture.
      • Enhance agricultural productivity through increasing both quantity and value
      • Replacing fossil fuels with cost-effective, environmentally-friendly green energy sources
    • Thyme, has over 400 subspecies.
    • In Jordan, USAID supports hydroponic grow houses helping farmers grow thyme under any conditions.
    • Agriculturally, Jordan is declared self-sufficient in only 5 products, namely in the production of:
      • Olive Oil.
      • Olives.
      • Tomatoes.
      • Eggs.
      • Fresh Milk.

    Why our Za’atar

    The Production Process
    • Purchasing the raw materials as per the formula below, will be stored as per item requirement, for example Thyme, Sumac and Sesame Seeds, as well as, finished products require Refrigerated Storage (Fridge Room), while the remaining raw materials and packaging materials require normal room conditions. All received quantities are registered in the computerized inventory system that will be customized to alert procurement department of set minimum quantities per item.
    • It is important to state at this stage that the raw materials such as thyme and sumac will be collected from Ladies at the Governorates namely Karak, Ajloun and Irbid by our driver and delivered to warehouse.


    Ingredient (Grams)

    Thyme plant









    • The raw materials are mixed and placed in stainless steel containers.
    • During the Mixing Stage, packaging packs are prepared by attaching labels to the plastic containers. In addition to labelling the Cartons with Product Name, Batch No., Quantity and expiry date.
    • 450g of mixed thyme, in plastic bags, are weighed over table balances.
    • These 450g bags will be sealed and vacuumed prior to placing the bag in the labeled container. Then the lid will be closed and the seal attached.
    • These ready packs will be placed in the cartons on the pallets, ready to be delivered to the Finished Product Warehouse (Finished product Fridge section), where they will be stored until quantity for delivery to AlDeasa Shops will be dispatched.
    • The quality assurance responsible staff will take samples from the batch before packaging and after packaging for:
      • Testing against benchmarked standards.
      • Keeping as a reference, until expiry date, in case of complaints.
      • Ensuring compliance with the Jordanian specifications of the Ministry of Industry and Trade for local market and export purposes.
      • Ensuring the hygiene levels throughout the production process.


    1. Clear Respiratory Tracts: There are certain expectorant properties of thyme, particularly when it is brewed in a tea. Thyme can help to clear out the respiratory tracts, causing you to expectorate (cough) out phlegm and mucus, so this potent spice mix can be added to food when you’re feeling a cold coming on. The immune-boosting abilities of the herbs involved also help to ward off illnesses.
    2. Boost Cognition: There are strong traditional beliefs about the cognitive impact of za’atar, including its possibility of improving memory. People used to sleep with za’atar beneath their pillow, but in reality, it could be due to the circulation-boosting powers of za’atar, as well as the rich mineral content that can boost brain power and stimulate neural activity.
    3. Soothe Inflammation: You can make za’atar into a paste or a salve, much as you would to spread on bread, but instead put it on inflamed areas of the skin, such as bug bites and aching joints. When the spice is consumed, it can have a similar anti-inflammatory effect on other parts of the body, particularly if you suffer from arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory conditions in the stomach or respiratory system.
    1. Increase Energy: The high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids found in this spice mix make it a powerful energy booster that can get your metabolism moving. Furthermore, it can help you get more restful sleep, due to the magnesium found in the mix, helping you feel more energized and ready to face your day each morning.
    2. Improve Mood: Studies and traditional evidence have linked za’atar with improved mood and decreased rates of depression. This use has been popular for generations in the Middle East. The phenol that comes from thyme and oregano may have direct mood-boosting effects by impacting the hormones being released and regulated throughout the body. Carvacrol has been directly linked to increased energy and cognitive function as well.
    3. Strengthen Bones: One thing that these herbs all have in common is minerals, and between the high concentration of iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium, za’atar can have a major impact on bone mineral density. Adding this spice mix to your regular diet can help you ward off osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions as you age.
    4. Circulatory Effects: As mentioned earlier, za’atar can help improve circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body thanks to its impressive iron content. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which transports red blood cells throughout the body, ensuring that all organ systems get the oxygen they need.
    5. Immune System Aid: Certain organic compounds found within za’atar spice mix have anti-fungal, amti-microbial, and antiseptic properties, making this an all-around powerhouse for your immune system. This includes internal and external applications, keeping your gut, skin, respiratory, and nervous systems functioning at a high, healthy level.
    6. Heal the Skin: The anti-inflammatory properties of this spice mix can be very useful for improving the appearance of the skin, speeding wound healing, and even reducing the appearance of age spots and blemishes, thanks to the rich mixture of antioxidants found in za’atar. If you have any concerns about the health of your skin, be sure to get this Middle Eastern specialty into your diet!


    Did you know ?
    • Reliefs from stress
    • Is rich with antifungal and antioxidant properties
    • Aids in improving heart health
    • Boosts the immune system
    • Improves blood circulation
    • Is beneficial in improving vision
    • Aids in curing respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis and seasonal allergies
    • Coupled with olive oil, it is very useful to strengthen the memory, both short and long-terms
    • Easy to be absorbed by the body
    • Za’atar contains numerous minerals, including magnesium, aluminum and calcium, as well as phosphorus and sodium. The essential oils in Za’atar are similar to those of oregano and thyme, with the primary natural compound being carvacrol. The presence of carvacrol gives Za’atar natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.


    New Products

    • In order to meet and exceed customers’ needs, expectations and tastes, RH will, by the First Half of 2019, start to introduce new thyme products in 450g size cans and different flavors for different tastes, such as:
      1. Za’atar with black seed,
      2. Za’atar with flack seed,
      3. Duqqa,
    • The demand for Roasting House’s new products of Za’atar was expressed to us from the GCC, Region, USA and Europe.
    • Furthermore, these different flavors were personally requested by QAIA Duty-Free for the new plan for expansion.


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