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 tea, a drink that's actually 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 first then simmered. The leaves are added afterwards 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
Lower Oxidative Stress
The antioxidants found in thyme tea may help prevent the onset of various diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, shingles and vertigo. This benefit is generally attributed to the presence of thymol, luteolin and other compounds found in thyme.
Ease Respiratory Issues
Thyme tea contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help provide relief from respiratory issues such as coughing and congestion.
Promote Healthy Weight
Drinking thyme tea may help reduce your appetite, thereby allowing you to cut down on your caloric consumption. The compounds in this drink may also improve metabolism, which may help burn fat in the long run.
Improve Cognitive Function
Research suggests that drinking thyme tea may help improve memory and focus, as well as slowing down beta amyloid deposition in the brain. Thymol has also been found to help increase omega-3 levels in the brain, which may sharpen brain function further.
Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Certain compounds in thyme tea have anti-spasmodic effects, which may help eliminate the pain and discomfort caused by menstruation.
Boost Your Immune System
Thyme tea is rich in vitamin C and various antioxidants that may help enhance your immune system. In particular, vitamin C can help stimulate the production of white blood cells that fight off viruses.
Nutrition Facts and Caffeine Content of Thyme Tea
According to Livestrong, thyme tea is "rich in volatile oils, minerals, beneficial phenols and flavonoids,” which makes it a healthy beverage.4 Thyme leaves do not possess any caffeine, hence the drink is caffeine-free as well.5
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 comes from commercially made tea.
Start by making sure that plant thyme in an area with plenty of sun exposure and well-draining, dry and gritty soil.6 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.7
Harvesting thyme is simple: 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.
- Pour 2 to 4 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Place 2 teaspoons of dried leaves into every cup of water added.
- Pour the boiling water into a teapot and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Enjoy the drink afterwards, but limit your consumption to 2 to 4 cups only throughout the day.
- You may add a dash of raw honey for more flavor.
Side Effects of Thyme Tea To Be Aware Of
As with any tea, there's a chance that thyme tea may cause potential side effects. Some possible problems that may occur include:9
- Nausea: Consuming too much thyme tea may cause dizziness, headaches, stomach pains and vomiting.
- Allergies: There's a risk you may develop allergies such as shortness of breath, skin rash, chest pain or other serious symptoms. Stop taking thyme tea immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.
- Pregnancy risk: Most experts believe that drinking thyme tea may be harmful for pregnant women as it may stimulate menstruation, resulting in a possible miscarriage early in the pregnancy. Similarly, breastfeeding mothers should not drink this tea as well.
- Heart problems: Drinking thyme tea may further exacerbate the symptoms of those who have heart problems.
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: There is some evidence that indicates drinking thyme tea can induce labor. In light of this information, pregnant women, as well as breastfeeding mothers, should avoid consuming thyme tea.
Q: What is thyme tea good for?
A: Thyme tea may help increase your antioxidant profile, boost your immune system and manage your weight.
Q: Where can I buy thyme tea?
A: Thyme tea can be conveniently purchased online. 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.