Herbal Cold Remedies Using Thyme

As a powerful disinfectant, thyme is among the most effective herbal cold remedies. Mix up some thyme syrup or thyme honey for a natural, cost-effective, and delicious herbal cold remedy.

  • “Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs” shows how to grow and use 33 herbs, complete with tips on introducing an herb patch to your backyard garden and easy-to-follow recipes for brewing restorative teas, blending soothing salves, and making tinctures, oils, syrups, and pills.
    Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing
  • Thyme honey is one of the better-tasting herbal cold remedies.
    Image Courtesy Storey Publishing

Effective, safe, and inexpensive, medicinal herbs are simple to grow, and they can be used to naturally fortify your body against common upsets and ailments. In Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs (Storey Publishing, 2012), Gladstar explains how to grow and use 33 of her favorite herbs to make 124 medicinal recipes, including restorative teas, salves, syrups, and pills. In this excerpt from chapter 3, Gladstar gives tips for growing and using thyme — a powerful disinfectant — to make thyme syrup and thyme honey to fight colds and coughs.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs.

Oddly, diminutive, fragrant thyme is beloved by gardeners and bees alike and has a long and respected medicinal past but is neglected by many contemporary herbalists. I think it’s one of our best medicines. It’s one of my favorite herbal cold remedies; I’ve often used it to make a delicious and effective cough syrup.

Dr. Paul Lee, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, did a number of studies on thyme and found that it has a major strengthening effect on the thymus gland, thereby enhancing immune function. Lee became widely known for his thyme salve and his famous “thymus thump”: he’d apply generous amounts of his homemade salve over his thymus gland and then, Tarzan fashion, thump his upper chest, where the thymus gland is located. As bizarre as this may sound, the “thymus thump” has been proved to stimulate thymus gland activity, perhaps much in the same way that knowledgeable gardeners know to stimulate plant growth by shaking their pots or brushing the tops of their plants to simulate stress.

Growing Thyme

Thyme is a hardy perennial that seems to thrive in most climates, though it prefers well-drained, alkaline soil and a sunny location. Seeds can be sown directly in the soil in the late spring or indoors in flats for an earlier start. There are many varieties of thyme, some that grow upright and others that are creepers.

For medicinal purposes, choose common garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and/or lemon thyme (T. citriodorus), my favorite thyme for tea. As the plant matures, it becomes woody and benefits from heavy trimming in the early spring, before new growth commences. Trimming will keep your thyme happy. Just talking about more thyme makes me happy.

1/12/2015 9:22:58 AM

I once made up thyme tea to help cure a sheep with wooden tongue

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