I couldn't let winter pass without talking about one of my favorite respiratory herbs, thyme. This woody, Mediterranean, herb is commonly found in gardens and planter boxes across the world, and is one my most used allies during the winter months.
Thyme boasts a variety of medicinal actions - including strong antimicrobial, antispasmodic, carminative, and expectorant qualities. It has an affinity for the respiratory and digestive systems, and has been a favorite amongst herbalists for centuries.
In my own practice I find thyme to be deeply soothing to the respiratory system, and is my favorite herb to make an herbal steam out of when my lungs are congested or irritated in the winter months. It makes an excellent respiratory tea, that is not only soothing to the lungs but to the digestive system as well.
As a staple herb in the kitchen, it is easy to incorporate thyme into your meals all throughout the cold and flu season. It can be taken as a tea on its own, added to broths, soups, and stews, and makes a flavorful addition to many dishes including eggs, mushrooms, roasts and sautés.
Historically used by Greeks as a plant that inspired courage, it was made into cordials and was thought to bring invigoration and strength to those that used it.
Thyme can easily be grown in garden beds, planter boxes, and pots, this pollinator-friendly herb is a must have in any kitchen medicinal garden. Already planning for your spring planting? Consider this sweet tasty and useful medicinal as you sketch out your beds.
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Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 2003.
Mcintyre, Anne. Flower Power: Flower Remedies for Healing Body and Soul through Herbalism. Diane Pub Co, 2000.
Grieve, M. A Modern Herbal: the Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic, and Economic Properties, Cultivation, and Folklore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses: Complete Volume. Stone Basin Books, 2016.
Note: The information on this site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is for educational, historical, and research purposes, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this site should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified health care professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.