Powerful Plants: Consider Thyme to Soothe Your Cough

a bundle of thyme on a set of bamboo napkins


Herbs can be powerful allies in our body’s efforts to maintain our health and to get us back to health when we need some support. For immune support and to calm the spasms that can happen with frequent coughing, we don’t have to look much further than our own kitchen.

Thyme is not only a culinary treat, it’s also helps fight infections. And because it can soothe the smooth muscle involved in spasms, it’s great for coughs. Thyme has compounds in it that fight both viruses and bacteria, and even fungus. It can be used in a variety of ways and in combination with other herbs. 

For a simple but powerful way to support the body during an infection, try a steam inhalation with the essential oil of thyme. 

Steam Inhalation Instructions

  • Boil a pot of water and remove from heat to cool a bit.
  • You can set the pot on a trivet or towel on the kitchen table.
  • Place 1-2 drops of thyme essential oil in the pot and immediately place your head over the pot.
  • Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. Keep your head at least 18 inches above the water. Be careful that it’s not too hot! If so, let it cool a bit longer.
  • Take several moderate to deep breaths, breathing at least part of the time through your nose.
  • Repeat as often as needed.

Contact your naturopathic doctor to ask about other essential oils that can be used in steam inhalations or contact the Bastyr University Clinic to make an appointment with a naturopathic team at (858)246-9730.