Thyme Tea: Benefits & How To Make It

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Who said thyme is only good for flavoring your meat? It also makes a flavorful tea. Thyme tea (or tisane) is one of the most popular herbal teas. Its earthy flavors also pack a punch of antioxidants that make it very beneficial for our health. Learn more about its benefits and how to make it.

What is Thyme Tea?

Scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, this herb is a common garden herb. It is quite easy to grow and is widely used in culinary applications due to its unique flavor and aroma. It has also been a part of medicinal traditions for thousands of years and has a number of potent active ingredients that make it a powerful herbal remedy. The active ingredient, thymol, is a powerful antioxidant, and the tea also boasts a few other unique compounds that give it such an impressive range of effects.

Watch Video: 7 Surprising Benefits Of Thyme Tea

7 Surprising Benefits Of Thyme Tea For Relieving Stress | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Thyme Tea

Thyme contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and antioxidants like thymol and carvacrol. These compounds are responsible for this tea’s health benefits.

Reducing Cough

Thyme has long been associated with coughs and it turns out that your granny may have been right about its superpowers. In a randomized controlled trial in Germany, volunteers with acute bronchitis saw significant relief when they took thyme-ivy combination for 11 days. Thyme tea can offer relief to your throat while helping in reducing cough.

Improving Digestion

If you are suffering from an upset stomach, nausea, constipation, bloating, or cramping, thyme tea may be the perfect remedy. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties and soothing nature, as well as antibacterial effects, can help get rid of stomach bugs and promote proper digestion, while also normalizing bowel movements. A review of different studies found that thymol and carvacrol in thyme can benefit our digestive system in numerous ways. It can improve liver function, protect against any damage, help treat intestinal infections, and reduce inflammations.

Antioxidant Properties

Thyme tea is rich in antioxidants with one study placing it among the top five most potent teas in its antibiotic content. Most of the available research on the antioxidant properties of thyme focuses on thyme oil, a more popular thyme derivative. The active ingredients in thyme have been linked to preventing or mitigating many diseases, including vertigo, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, hepatitis and shingles, and reducing overall oxidative stress in the body. This is due to the antioxidants found in thyme oil, including thymol, luteolin, and others. A 2017 study on thymol, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, elaborated its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunological, and anti-microbial properties.

You can learn more about it in our article on 21 Incredible Health Benefits of Thyme Essential Oil.

A white cup of thyme tea with sugar cubes and thyme herb on a wooden background

Thyme tea helps relieve stress. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Coughs

For respiratory issues, few herbal teas are better than this one, with both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it can help not only soothe coughs and congestion but also attack the underlying pathogen to help you get better faster.

Weight Loss

It is often known as the weight loss tea. This herbal remedy can suppress the appetite, yet still boost energy and deliver valuable nutrients, leading to less overeating and snacking between meals. An animal study found that thymol, one of the major constituents of thyme, prevents high fat diet-induced obesity. It was found to reduce fat accumulation, lower lipid action, improve insulin, and leptin sensitivity.

You can explore more options with our pick of 9 Best Teas for Weight Loss.

The compound thymol found in this tea can also optimize metabolism, which can help in fat burning and weight loss efforts.

Pregnancy

While it is not recommended that pregnant women drink thyme tea early in their pregnancy, for fear of possible miscarriages due to stimulated menstruation, some traditional medicine approaches use this tea to induce labor. However, using herbal teas during pregnancy should be discussed with your individual doctor, based on your specific case.

Health benefits of thyme tea infographic

You can make your own batch the tea at home with nothing more than lemon, honey, and a handful of thyme.

Menstrual Cramps

Thyme tea is very effective at eliminating menstrual cramps due to the anti-spasmodic effects of certain active compounds. This tea can also help eliminate the pain and discomfort of menstruation, and even improve other side effects, such as mood swings.

Immune System

The high vitamin C content and antioxidants found in thyme tea make it an ideal boost to the immune system, helping to relieve cold and flu symptoms quickly. Vitamin C can stimulate the production of white blood cells, while powerful antioxidants like thymol and apigenin help relieve oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals produced by the body. The natural antibacterial and antiseptic nature of this tea will also help eliminate infections and pathogens.

Cognition

Early research shows that thyme tea can help improve memory and focus and slow down beta-amyloid deposition in the brain. A Brazilian study found that apigenin, a compound found in thyme, improved the connection between brain cells. It boosted hormones which can delay the onset of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression.

Heart Health

Studies have indicated that thyme may benefit our heart, especially for people who suffer from hypertension. According to an animal study published in the Journal of Hypertension, rosmarinic acid, a compound present in thyme extract induced normalization of blood pressure. It could hence be used as an antihypertensive. Drinking a cup of thyme tea may help people with high blood pressure.

Side Effects of Thyme Tea

According to the FDA, thyme is generally considered safe for use. If you are taking thyme supplements, keep in mind that herbal supplements do not go through the same FDA scrutiny as prescription drugs. Some side-effects of thyme tea that you should be aware of are:

  • Migraine: If you suffer from persistent migraine, we recommend that you take a doctor’s advice. Carvacrol and thymol have been listed as migraine-triggering compounds, according to one study. However, these effects are more pronounced in essential oils and diluted in tea.
  • Nausea: Drinking too much thyme tea can result in nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and stomach pains.
  • Allergies: As with any other type of herb, some people will have allergic reactions to thyme, particularly if a person is also allergic to other plants within the Lamiaceae family, including rosemary, mint, and oregano.
  • Pregnancy: While the FDA deems thyme as generally safe, this designation is for using thyme as a spice and not as tea. Hence, it is best to talk to a trained and certified herbalist or a doctor before taking thyme tea during pregnancy.

How to Make Thyme Tea?

You can make your own batch of thyme tea at home with nothing more than lemon, honey and a handful of thyme. If you have grown your own thyme in your home garden, you will need to dry it before preparing thyme tea. Cut the stalks and wash them thoroughly, dry them, and then tie them in a small bundle and hang them upside down. The thyme will take about 2 weeks to completely dry. At that point, it will be easy to remove the dry thyme leaves; you can crush them into a fine tea powder, or leave them whole to be used in your brew.

A white cup of thyme tea with sugar cubes and thyme herb on a wooden background

Rejuvenating Thyme Tea Recipe

Apart from relieving your cough and cold, thyme tea packs many other benefits. Now you can easily make a batch at home with our recipe. 
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Course: Tea
Cuisine: American
Keyword: thyme tea
Appliance: Teapot, Kettle
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Paromita Datta

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 cups water filtered
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 slice lemon

Instructions

  • Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.
  •  Add the dried thyme leaves and cover the pot.
  • Allow the mixture to steep for roughly 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.
  • Strain the tea into a cup, add the honey and lemon slice (if desired) and enjoy!
    A cup of bael tea, teapot, and slices of dried bael fruit

Enjoy your thyme tea and tell us about your experience. If you have another recipe, share it with us in the comments below.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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