Thyme for a cure

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.

Thyme Tea
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?



  1. July 4, 2011 / 7:28 pm

    Well I woke up this morning with the mother of all sore throats – do you think it will work??

  2. July 4, 2011 / 9:05 pm

    This sounds really useful – I'll keep it in mind for my next unhealthy day. As for secret kitchen cures, I must point out that the rumours about me and the Cooking Sherry are greatly exaggerated. I'm sure that Sherry would agree with me.

  3. July 4, 2011 / 9:37 pm

    I get quite into wierd herbal teas, even when I'm not ill, it sounds like it would be nice to drink, just for fun! Maybe with a dash of lemon? And whisky?

  4. July 4, 2011 / 11:58 pm

    oh yes, thyme tea! i had one of those horrible throaty-cough-y things earlier this year, and it worked wonders. thanks for the reminder!

    i like pomegranate honey as a cure all: sink the seeds (and a bit of the skin) from one pomegranate in some good honey. leave for a week, then try in teaspoonsful in warm water. tops for a sore throat.

    class bores…hope someone has a good cure for those…

  5. July 5, 2011 / 12:09 am

    crushed fennel seeds and sliced ginger for a funny tummy x sorry about your dad lucy x

  6. July 5, 2011 / 12:17 am

    Oh wow, thyme sounds lovely. Much nicer than some I've seen (garlic + honey + lemon + ginger?! Yes to the last three but ergh…)

  7. July 5, 2011 / 6:03 am

    Thyme Tea sounds blissfully soothing! I once got told putting whole garlic cloves in your socks before bed would help a cold. I foolishly tried it and it totally didn't work. Go figure!

  8. July 5, 2011 / 7:45 am

    what I meant to say was… you've spelt 'time' wrong but in my not hilarious, over arrogant, not at all funny way, I got my sarcasm wrong… doh!

    feel better x

  9. July 5, 2011 / 4:43 pm

    Excellent tip – shall remember this for when the winter hits us again (shouldn't be too far away now!)
    Don't suppose there is a herbal cure for sunburn … yes, I am hanging my head in shame! the sun snuck up on me though!

  10. July 6, 2011 / 9:37 am

    I never knew this about thyme – thanks for sharing! I've been fighting off the shadow of a cold lately so maybe this will be just the trick to make it go away for good. Hope you're feeling a bit better 🙂

  11. July 7, 2011 / 12:47 pm

    Happy Birthday for yesterday! So many July 6th babies 🙂
    P.s We've just got onto Olive leaf extract to fight colds. It's been amazing so far!

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