November 5

Your Respiratory System’s Best Herbal Friend: Thyme


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is quite possibly your respiratory system’s best herbal friend. It is an herbal antibiotic especially equipped to tackle respiratory infections. Thyme’s potency defies antibiotic resistance, is easy to grow in your garden for a renewable supply, is covers a range

Thyme has a rather long list of actions (get ready for a lot of “anti” words). Thyme is antibacterial, antiviral, antihistamine, anti-inflammmatory, antispasmodic, expectorant, nervine, and antitussive, What does all thisFlowering_thyme mean? It helps clear the lungs easily, but without violent coughing. In fact, it calms nagging coughs. Unlike antibiotics, thyme works on your infection regardless if it is a bacterial or viral. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, and may help you get some much needed rest.

Herbalist Maria Treben recommended thyme any time pneumonia was a concern, as a remedy for complaints of multiple sclerosis, neuralgia, epilepsy, bathing with thyme to calm a restless child, and a treatment for asthma. Maud Grieve cites thyme as a remedy for whooping cough, an assertion shared by Nicholas Culpeper. Culpeper goes on to say that thyme is a lung strengthener, purges the body of phlegm, and is excellent for shortness of breath. To make a thyme syrup for children under 1 year, use either simple syrup made from sugar or maple syrup. Save honey syrups for children over 1 year due to risk of botulism.

Culpeper also cites thyme as an herb to use when a woman is having difficulty in labor, and one needs to safely speed things along, as well as assisting to expel the afterbirth. Conversely, this also means that thyme in therapeutic doses is not recommended during pregnancy. Consumption of thyme in food, such as adding thyme to season chicken soup, does not pose a risk during pregnancy. Do not use thyme essential oil during pregnancy. 

Oil of Thyme, or thyme essential oil, contains concentrated amounts of the plant’s chemical constituents thymol and carvacrol. Studies into thyme essential oil to possess anti-staphylococcal virulence properties, showing thymol and carvacrol have the ability to cause “…leakage of cellular material and an altered cell surface suggest that gross damage to a cell’s cytoplasmic membrane, which results in a disruption in protein secretion…” Oil of thyme used to be added to bandages to prevent wounds from becoming infected.


Thyme is also antiseptic, so you can use it to disinfect your space and stop the spread of germs.Other uses of thyme include mouthwash formulas, insect repellent, as a digestive aid, and in wound care.

In my own recipes, thyme features prominently in formulas for bronchitis, cough syrups, pneumonia, and sinus infections.

Thyme can be administered in a standard infusion. tincture, steam inhalation, infused oil, essential oil, bath, herbal pillow, herbal vinegar, mouthwash, and syrups.


antifungal, antispaosmodic, antiviral, asthma, bronchitis, expectorant, herbal antibiotic, nervine, pneumonia, thyme, whooping cough

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