Supporting our families’ health through the winter is easy with herbal medicine. If your kids are getting tired of elderberry syrup or you’re ready to experiment with something new- give this recipe a try!
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is broad-spectrum antimicrobial plant with notable research showing effectiveness against candida, antibiotic resistant bacteria, drug-resistant viruses, and molds [1,3,4,5]. Thyme is also a powerful antispasmodic effective for soothing coughs like those associated with bronchitis and whooping cough. As a warm and drying plant it is helpful in reducing congestion. It’s numerous effects on respiratory health make it a perfect winter-time remedy.
The research has focused on the volatile oil content of the plant. These constituents evaporate when heated and dried, so in order to capture this medicine effectively we need to take a few extra steps in preparation. Since the volatile oil content is highest when the plant is fresh it is best to purchase fresh thyme from your local grocery store rather than the dried bulk herb. However, if that is all you have access to, use it!
**Please note that while the research is examining effectiveness of the volatile oil against microbes, it is not evaluating safety of use in humans, and therefore does not equate to safe use. As herbalists, we value your healthy & safety, and respect the intelligent design of using whole plant medicines.
- Sugar is used for babies under the age of 2 as honey may contain botulism spores that could infect the child with a developing immune system.
- Add honey after the tea has cooled to preserve the vital enzymes within.
- Use a weaker preserving ratio of sweetener if you will be storing in the fridge or using immediately. Use a stronger ratio if you’d like to extend shelf life or not refrigerate.
4 packets of fresh thyme (3 oz)
2 cups cold water
1-2 cups sugar or raw local honey
Instructions: Place cold water in a medium pot on the stove. Chop fresh thyme loosely and add to pot with the lid only slightly cracked open (to preserve any volatile oil loss). Mark a toothpick, chopstick, or spoon for the level of water. Heat on medium-high until it is boiling, then reduce to a low rolling simmer. Allow to cook, checking the water level against your tool, until the water has been reduced by half. Turn off heat and allow any condensation on the lid to drip back into the water before straining through a fine mesh strainer into a glass measuring cup. Pour the liquid back into the emptied pot. At this point you may add sugar to dissolve into the warm tea or allow to cool a bit with the lid on before adding honey. Stir until well incorporated, bottle, and store appropriately!
Dosage for adults: 1-2 tablespoons every hour to every other hour during sickness, if you feel a cold coming on, or are coughing.
Dosage for kids: divide the kids weight by 150 and multiply by the adult dose, taken 2-4x/day. For example, a 50 lb child would take 1-2 teaspoons at a time (50 lbs / 150 = 0.33 .. 0.33 x 1 = 1/3 of tablespoon or 1 teaspoon).
- Sienkiewicz, Monika, et al. “The Antimicrobial Activity of Thyme Essential Oil Against Multidrug Resistant Clinical Bacterial Strains.” Microbial Drug Resistance, vol. 18, no. 2, 21 Nov. 2012, pp. 137–148., doi:10.1089/mdr.2011.0080.
- Eisenhut, Michael, and Jonathan Cohen. “The Toxicity of Essential Oils.” International Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol. 11, no. 4, July 2017, p. 365., doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2006.07.004.
- Swamy, Mallappa Kumara, et al. “Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action: An Updated Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2016, 20 Dec. 2016, pp. 1–21., doi:10.1155/2016/3012462.
- Wińska, Katarzyna et al. “Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents-Myth or Real Alternative?.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,11 2130. 5 Jun. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24112130
- Rajkowska, Katarzyna, et al. “The Effect of Thyme and Tea Tree Oils on Morphology and Metabolism of Candida Albicans.” Acta Biochimica Polonica, vol. 61, no. 2, 2014, doi:10.18388/abp.2014_1900.