Thyme is a small herb belonging to the mint family of plants, and has a rich history of use spanning over hundreds of years. For example, people in the Middle Ages placed thyme under their pillows to inhibit nightmares. The ancient Romans, on the other hand, sprinkled it in cheese and alcohol for added flavor.1
Aside from its therapeutic uses, thyme is also used in cooking. Fresh or dried, its leaves and flowers are mixed into casseroles, soups, stews and sautéed vegetables to add a sprightly flavor. Another popular way of using thyme is as a tea, a drink that’s enjoyed by many people.
What Is Thyme Tea?
If you’re looking to add thyme into your daily diet, turning it into tea is a good place to start. Thyme tea is a drink made by brewing the leaves of the plant. To make it, water is boiled and then simmered. The leaves are added afterward and then steeped for five minutes before drinking.2 This method is generally used if you have your own stock of dried leaves. If it’s not possible to grow your own leaves at home, purchasing tea bags is a viable alternative.
The Potential Benefits of Drinking Thyme Tea
Drinking thyme tea regularly can be beneficial to your health thanks to its abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Published research has shown that the plant may help:
• Fight bacteria: Scientists have found that the essential oils found in thyme have potent antibacterial properties. In particular, it has been found to be effective against E. coli,3 a bacterial strain responsible for various diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea.4
• Manage inflammation: Thymol, an active compound in thyme, may help manage inflammation by suppressing certain inflammatory pathways. In particular, it may be promising against peritonitis,5 which is the inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that covers the organs within your abdominal area.6
• Reduce risk of cancer: A study published in Natural Product Communications indicates that thyme extracts exhibit cytotoxicity against colon cancers.7 In another study, thyme has shown to have beneficial effects against breast cancer.8
• Control blood pressure: In a study that tested mice, thyme helped lower blood pressure. This finding suggests that the Mediterranean diet, where thyme is widely used, can promote healthy blood pressure levels in humans.9
Nutrition Facts and Caffeine Content of Thyme Tea
Thyme leaves do not possess any caffeine; hence, the drink is considered caffeine-free. It is also rich in various vitamins, minerals and essential oils that may promote your health. Here’s an overview of the important compounds found in a teaspoon (0.8 grams) of thyme:10
|Amt. Per |
|% Daily |
|Total lipid (fat)||0.1 g||0%|
|Vitamin A1.3IU||Vitamin C||38 mg|
How to Grow, Make and Store Thyme Tea at Home
Making great thyme tea starts with the plant itself. Thyme is easy to grow, and using high-quality leaves harvested from your own backyard will ensure that you get the best taste while avoiding potential toxins that come from commercially made tea.
Start by planting thyme in an area with plenty of sun exposure and well-draining, dry and gritty soil.11 If you plant a root, the resulting harvest can multiply very quickly so make sure it doesn’t overgrow other plants in your garden. Seeds are also a viable way of planting thyme. If you live in northern planting zones that are particularly harsh on plants, cover your thyme plants with evergreen boughs to help them return in the spring.12
Harvesting thyme is simple, especially when you follow these instructions:
- When the plants begin to bloom, simply cut the top half off the branches and hang them in a dark, dry place. You may also place them on baking sheets and into the oven or a food dehydrator to speed up the process.
- Once the flowers become dry, strip the leaves off and store them in a dark corner until they’re ready to be used.
After you have your own stock of dried thyme leaves, simply follow this procedure to make the tea:13
Simple Thyme Tea Recipe
• 2 teaspoons of dried thyme leaves
• 2 to 4 cups of filtered water
• raw honey (optional)
1. Pour 2 to 4 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Place 2 teaspoons of dried leaves into every cup of water added.
3. Pour the boiling water into a teapot and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Enjoy the drink afterward, but limit your consumption to 2 to 4 cups only throughout the day.
5. You may add a dash of raw honey for more flavor.
Side Effects of Thyme Tea To Be Aware Of
Preparations of thyme in most forms are considered safe to consume. However, beware that you may develop allergic reactions to this plant. You may also develop contact dermatitis when using herbal poultices that contain thyme.14 Pregnant women should not consume thyme as well, as it has shown to exhibit abortifacient activity. Safety for breastfeeding women is not established, as there’s currently no scientific evidence regarding this area.15
Find the Time to Drink Thyme Tea
Is thyme tea right for you? If you’re willing to take the plunge, drinking it may benefit your health because thyme tea has been shown to help fight oxidative stress, promote cognitive function and boost your immune system. Just be sure that you do not drink it if you’re currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
If possible, I recommend growing your own thyme because this approach helps you avoid toxins found in commercially grown products. If you’re going to purchase tea bags instead, be very cautious on where you buy them. Only source any type of tea from reputable companies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Thyme Tea
Q: Can thyme tea induce labor?
A: Currently, there’s no sufficient evidence to suggest that thyme tea can induce labor, but pregnant women have used it to treat other ailments such as bloating and stomachaches.16 However, since thyme has an abortifacient quality, it is best to find other safer alternatives to stimulate labor.
Q: What is thyme tea good for?
A: Thyme tea may help increase your manage inflammation, kill bacteria and manage blood pressure levels.
Q: Where can I buy thyme tea?
A: Thyme tea can be purchased online, but make sure to review the product you’re purchasing and confirm if it uses high-quality ingredients. You can also grow your own thyme at home, harvest the leaves and brew your own tea.