Thyme is an aromatic low growing perennial that can spread out and act like a ground cover. It is beautifully fragrant and in the spring it blooms pretty white or purplish flowers, depending on the variety.
Bees are very attracted to thyme flowers. Not lost on this beekeeper is that beekeepers are becoming more familiar with this herb. One of the active ingredients in thyme is the essential oil thymol which has shown to be a remarkably effective treatment against the varroa mite that has decimated many bee populations in recent years.
Like sage, rosemary and lavender,thyme is very easy to grow and cultivate in the garden. Common thyme has been a garden staple for centuries. Ancient Greeks even used it as incense. Thyme likes sun and well drained soil, but other than that, it requires little work, other than fertilizing and even then, it tends to do well if neglected.
Thyme comes in many varieties, from traditional to lemon thyme.
One of my favorite recipes with thyme is a thyme mushroom pasta, which is a favorite for fasting nights…
Healthy Benefits of Thyme
Powerful Disinfectant Thyme can be used internally or externally – as a wash – for infection. Thyme oil demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotic resistant strains of the following bacteria, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas genera.
Promotes Healing in Upper Respiratory Infections Thyme is antispasmodic and an expectorant. It calms coughs and helps clear mucous. In uncomplicated cases thyme has been used in healing drinks to treat upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, colds, and flu. It can be used as a rinse to treat sore throats and clear out mucous. The essential oil thymol is one of the ingredients in Vick’s Vapor Rub.
Rich in Antioxidants Studies show that thyme is a good source of antioxidants.
Anti fungal Thyme essential oil possesses a wide range spectrum of fungicidal activity. Studies have shown that thymol is potent against Candida, a common yeast implicated in many fungal infections including those of the toenail. Research suggests that thyme can be effective against household mold. Think organic natural cleaning products!
Bug Repellant Hard to imagine something that tastes so good on sautéed mushrooms can also double as an insect repellent, but it’s true. Thyme has shown to be undesirable to mosquitos…. move over citronella!
This tea is a celebration of thymes expectorant qualities as well as it’s excellent mucous clearing capabilities.
Tea Thyme For Colds
This employs a basic decoction method for making the tea. Making a decoction extracts all of the goodness from flowers or plant material. To extract all of the properties of the plants, you want to bring the water to a boil.
- 3 ounces thyme flowers or plant parts
- 10 ounces purified water
Add all ingredients to sauce pot. Stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let it continue to cool in pot for another 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and place in storage jar.
Refrigerate. Drink 1/2 cup one to three times a day. You may add raw honey, minimally. Also, you may squeeze fresh lemon into the brew for additional vitamin C which is vital during colds and flu as it escorts viruses out of the body.
Another method for storing the decoction is to make homemade ice cubes out of the decoction. This will allow to make a larger batch and store longer.
The following vapor tea is prepared so that the steamy vapors may be inhaled, not taken from a tea cup. This traditionally based herbal steam will open your sinuses as well as discourage bacterial and fungal growth.
When I was younger, my mom had me do a similar steam to help my sinuses.
Herbal Steam Treatment for Sinuses and Decongestion
One of the best methods to do this is place the tea in a crock pot, so that there is a continuous steam action and you need not be over the stove!
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 5-drops eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil (optional)
- 3 cups purified water
- 1 towel large enough to drape over your head.
Place all ingredients except essential oil, in large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Transfer to crockpot and place on highest setting. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Place crockpot on counter if you are going to stand or on a table if you are sitting. Add essential oil You may leave the crock pot on, or turn it off. If you do not have a crockpot, you will want to place your sauce pot on some towels so as not to ruin your table. Also be careful of the hot sides. .
Drape towel over your head and the saucepan. This allows the steam to be captured so that you may inhale it. Inhale the steam deeply and do this for about 5 to 10 minutes.
and last but not least, I have this around for my girls during cold and allergy season… mostly because I like the coconut oil on their skin rather than petroleum jelly.
Victoria’s Vapor Rub
- 5 TB coconut oil (where to buy)
- 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil (for children use Eucaylptus Radiata or Eucaplytus Citriodora) (where to buy)
- 12 drops each of essential oils: peppermint, lavender, and rosemary
Over low heat melt the coconut oil. Take off heat and let cool, it should still be clear. Add essential oils. Stir. Place in small jelly jar. You can refrgerate, but it is not necessary. All of the ingredients have antibacterial properties, including the coconut oil.
Rub on stuffy noses like regular VapoRub. Inhale!
There are endless ways to incorporate thyme into your cooking… Potatoes with lemon thyme, or for something completely different, try this Apple Omelette with Cheddar and Thyme, Pizza with Lemon Thyme and Basil, and last but not least… with enough thyme, even dessert can add a little twist. Check out this Blood Orange and Thyme Sorbet…
Gladstar, Rosemary (2012). Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use (p. 93). Storey Publishing, LLC.
Althea Press (2014). The Practical Herbal Medicine Handbook: Your Quick Reference Guide to Healing Herbs & Remedies (Kindle Location 2553). Althea Press.
Bratianu, Patricia; Schwontkowski, Dr. Donna (2014). How to Benefit from Everyday Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide to Homemade Natural Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments & Good Health (Kindle Location 1551). Simple Media Works.