Thyme is definitely a must have herb during the cold & flu season. It is also an amazing kid’s herb. Like many of the culinary herbs, it is often overlooked but possesses deep healing capabilities. When my kids are sick or I am feeling sick, thyme is usually the first herb I think of. It is gentle and safe enough for little ones, but powerful enough to get the job done. And often times, you already have it in your spice drawer.
Thyme contains high amounts of volatile oils that are highly antimicrobial and help to fight infection. It is especially helpful for respiratory infections, coughs & sore throats. During respiratory infections, the oils can help relax the respiratory passageways, loosen phlegm and settle a spasmodic cough. This can be accomplished both by breathing in the aromatic oils and drinking a tea.
One of my favorite things to do with thyme is to put it in the crock pot and place it overnight in a sick child’s bedroom. Fill a medium sized crock pot with water and add 1 ounce of dried thyme leaves. Place the crock pot uncovered in a safe place in the child’s room and leave it on low all night long. Keep the door closed, allowing the room to completely fill with the aromatic thyme. This allows them to breathe in a gentle thyme steam all night long which fights the infection, helps them to relax and breathe easier and get a more peaceful night’s sleep.
You can also use the essential oil of thyme in the bath or shower when your kids are sick. When adding essential oils to the bath, first dilute them in a carrier oil, like olive oil. This will incorporate the oil into the bath better, preventing skin irritations from the concentrated essential oil. Add 3 drops of thyme essential oil to 1 tbsp of olive oil, mix well and pour into the bath. If your child has a really spasmodic, croupy cough and they need immediate relief, try a steam shower. Take them into the bathroom, close the door and turn the shower on really hot in order to fill the room with steam. Sit in a comfy spot with your child (outside of the shower, but in the bathroom). Drop 5 drops of thyme essential oil into the steaming shower. Help your child to take calm deep breaths.
To prepare a yummy thyme tea, mix equal parts of Thyme, Peppermint & Elder Berry. Use between 1 tsp-1 tbsp of combined herb to 1 cup of water. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Add a generous amount of honey, which is also so great for coughs and respiratory irritations. Drink frequently throughout the day.
The next time your family gets sick, you may only have to go as far as your spice drawer for a gentle and effective remedy!