I thought I had enough to keep me awake at night, but for the last week I’ve been plagued by the sort of nagging cough that makes you want to decapitate yourself with a bread knife. (I’ve been waking up every morning feeling like I’ve been punched in the sinuses too, but that’s a different story.)
Years ago I did a night course in herbal medicine, which was fascinating and hilarious in equal measures, not least because of the oddball father and son duo who were among my fellow classmates. I think the son – perhaps in his 30s – had been in a spot of bother with the law for cultivating some herbal medicine of his own and the father had seen this as a way to legally channel his interest. The trouble was, the father asked the teacher so many inane questions (‘Where did you get your apron from? How much was it? Can I grow mint in my garden? How much will it cost? Where did you buy your plants from? Can I have one?’) that the rest of us didn’t have much of a look-in.
Anyway, one of the things we learned was that thyme is good for sore throats and coughs because it is an anti-spasmodic, antiseptic expectorant (in other words, it relaxes your throat, kills germs and helps you clear nasty gunge). Thyme tea, therefore, is just the ticket for an irritating cough. I wish I’d remembered it sooner.
Take a few sprigs of thyme from your garden (or cellophane packet) – you want about 2Tbsp of leaves per cup. Leave to steep in freshly boiled water for about five minutes Add a spoonful of honey to taste, though it’s quite pleasant to drink as is.
Do you have any secret kitchen cures for irritating ailments or class bores?