Familiar to all of us as a culinary herb, thyme is an extremely useful herb to have around for your kitchen medicine cabinet. High in essential oils, it is strongly antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and even antibacterial so it can help kill germs both in our bodies and also when used as an antibacterial cleaner.

Thyme helps to loosen mucus and soothes inflamed mucous membranes making it invaluable for sore throats and coughs. It can also be used as a gargle to help support gum health and to heal mouth sores. It even has a great reputation for curing fungal foot infections when used either as a footbath or tied onto the affected area when fresh.

As a culinary herb thyme would have helped dishes to have a longer shelf life as well as helping in the digestion of fatty foods. There is evidence of its use as a medicinal herb as far back as Ancient Sumeria where it is mentioned on cuneiform tablets dated to 2750. It was pulverised with pears, figs, and water to use as a poultice. Ancient Egyptians used it to help emblam the dead and the Romans threw it on their floors to deter snakes and other pests as well as planting it around their hives.

Culinary recipes abound but you are unlikely to get a medicinal dose by just adding thyme to your cooking – although it will have some benefits.

This is possibly the most useful herb I have growing to make tea when any of us get a sore throat or a cold. I just put a couple of sprigs (fresh or dried) into a mug of water and let it steep for a good 15 minutes. We then drink it and gargle with any leftover tea once it is cold. It can be used for children but care as the thymol constituent is strong and shouldn’t be given to them long term.

It’s also one of my favourite herb jellies to eat with meats like lamb or cold ham. Additionally, sharing a great recipe that helps with your sore throat, cough, or cold.

Thyme Medicinal honey

Fresh thyme sprigs

Jar of runny honey (organic if possible)

Simply infuse the fresh thyme in the honey for at least a week before straining it out. Take a teaspoonful if you have a sore throat, cough, or cold. You can also add it to herbal teas to help increase their medicinal value when you are fighting a cold.

To make a really potent medicinal honey, you can layer up onions, garlic, and thyme altogether and leave for a week. It has a very strong taste as you can imagine but is really useful for fending off colds! Be warned that the taste is likely to be too much for children.