Aromatics for Chest Infections, Part Two

Lovely thyme flowers in the summer

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Thyme is useful in the treatment of bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma, and is anti bacterial, expectorant and anti tussive. It can be used to treat sinus infections, inflammations of the respiratory tract, asthma and influenza – I use a single drop in a steam inhalation alongside other essential oils for infected chesty coughs. Thyme warms the lungs, and is handy in the treatment of diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, coughs of most types and to relieve wheezing. It opens the sinuses and eases many of the symptoms of colds and flu, such as chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat and physical aches and pains. As with the two plants listed above, the plant can be used for cold, damp, constricted conditions.   It makes a pretty tasty tea with plenty of honey!

In addition to diseases of the respiratory tract, thyme can also be used to treat panic, nightmares and headaches, indicating a similar nervine inclination to the other two aromatic herbs mentioned. The plant can be used in much the same way as Sage, to enhance immunity, promote digestion, decongest the liver, raise blood pressure and restore the nerves and adrenals, and to stimulate the body’s immunity and help it to fight off infection.

I’ve used thyme as a great steam for the lungs (as already mentioned, try one drop of thyme with benzoin, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils), and would certainly put both it and hyssop in a chest balm of plantain infused oil for coughs and colds – here is a recipe for just such a balm.

Plantain & Thyme Chest Balm


Plantain infused oil (which I will cover again in another blog post soon)


Eucalyptus essential oil

Thyme essential oil

Benzoin essential oil or resinoid


Put 100mls of infused oil into a double boiler with 10g of beeswax pellets and warm it through slowly until the wax dissolves. Stir it briefly then add ten drops each of the essential oils, stir briefly and pour it into jars. Apply a good layer to the chest, throat, around the sinuses and on the soles of the feet in the case of the nasty, congested sorts of colds that are doing the rounds at the moment. You could also pour some of the balm onto some fabric – a large square of muslin or part of an old tea towel – to make a plaister, which can be applied to the chest, bandaged in place with cling film over the top and then a hot water bottle placed over the top to really help the oils soak into the skin. The lovely thing about plaisters is they can take a lot longer to soak in and you can rest while they do so, plus if you make the plaister in advance and wrap it in cling film, the medicine is ready whenever you need it.

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