If you’ve ever pinched a sprig of fresh thyme in your fingers, you won’t easily forget the woody, earthy fragrance. Thyme grows wild in Ireland but is also a popular cultivated herb and a must-have in any herb garden. It is well-known as a common seasoning for cooking, but the pungent fragrance will also hint at its powerful medicinal properties.
There are over 350 species of thyme, all thought to be edible, but each possessing its own unique flavour profile. While one may taste of subtle mint or citrus, another may be peppery or be both sweet and savoury at the same time. Thyme belongs to the mint family and shares its ability to add zest and deepen the flavour of cooking without overpowering other ingredients.
Thyme also has a wide range of medicinal benefits, supporting vision as well as heart, bone, skin, immune and respiratory health. It boasts an impressive list of vitamins & minerals including potassium, calcium iron, selenium, vitamin B complex, K, C and folic acid and also powerful phytonutrients and possessing antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
This evergreen herb grows mostly year-round in Ireland, but we especially think about thyme at this time of year. In our Lughnasa garden, the thyme covered mounds symbolise harvest baskets and the spiral beds host an abundance of healing and culinary herbs.
As autumn draws in and colds and flus begin to circulate, thyme & honey tea may be very helpful with raspy and bothersome coughs.
Thyme & Honey Tea for Coughs and Colds
- 1 tsp of fresh or dried thyme (in a loose tea infuser)
- 1 cup of freshly boiled water
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp local raw honey
Use the thyme to make tea as you normally would, allowing it to steep for 5 or more minutes. Next, add the juice from half a lemon. As a last step when the water has cooled a bit, so not to lose the raw benefits, add the teaspoon of honey. Sip slowly, breathe deeply!
Thyme is generally considered safe for culinary consumption, however, all herbs have medicinal properties. They should be used with caution in larger amounts and with oversight of a health practitioner.