Winter thyme herbal steam inhalation
You often don't have to look any further than your pantry or garden to have access to beneficial plant medicine that can assist you when things are a bit off-kilter. What we know as "culinary herbs" are most commonly used nowadays to flavour meals, but what we shouldn't overlook, or forget, is that these common kitchen garden herbs also have a very, very long history of being used medicinally — and for good reason! One such herb is our hardy and faithful friend, thyme.
Thyme, which is part of the wonderfully aromatic mint family, is one of our trustiest plant allies during the winter months when coughs, colds, flus and viral bugs are running rampant. Thyme's high volatile oil content is super antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial, which means she'll knock those viral invaders right out of you when used as a herbal steam inhalation. Thyme is also an expectorant which means she'll help loosen and expel phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract and clear up your sinuses so you can actually breathe (hallelujah!).
Yes, thyme is here to help, and you don't even have to be sick to benefit from a thyme steam inhalation. If you work with, or are around people a lot, doing a thyme steam inhalation is a prudent way to nip any potential contagious bugs in the bud, so you beat the ills before they can even sink their teeth into you! For additional immunity support during winter, our loyal Thieves balm is a must when out and about to naturally sanitise and strengthen your body's defence.
Other reasons to love thyme steams? Well, her antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it a great skin-clearing and purifying cleanse if you are prone to outbreaks and skin congestion, and she is also a noted treatment for oral and gum health — so don your best toothy grin when breathing in and out her therapeutic steam.
How to do a thyme herbal steam inhalation
♥ Simply boil a kettle and pour water into a big bowl, or bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Take off the heat and let the water settle before throwing in a handful of fresh separated thyme sprigs, or a tablespoon of dried thyme.
♥ Feel free to add in other kitchen herbs that aid respiratory health (optional). These include fellow mint family members peppermint — whose menthol content is decongesting and antibacterial; rosemary — who is also highly antiseptic and will help clear the air passages, while soothing headaches and fever; and sage — another long-used herb for lung health, sore throats and coughs.
♥ Once the herbs are in, immediately place a lid on the pot so as not to let the precious healing volatile oils out, and set down at a table with a large towel, and tissues at the ready (you'll need these as the herbs work their mucus-expelling magic!).
♥ Take lid off and create a tent over your head and pot with the towel and now it's time to inhale! The steam, together with the high volatile oil content will make it hard to inhale at first but push through and do so as deeply as you can.
♥ At first it will be easiest to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, but as you proceed try inhaling and exhaling through your nose to concentrate on clearing up those sinuses!
♥ Keep at it for 10 minutes, taking small breaks if you need to blow your nose, until the steam has dissipated.
Bonus: Provided no mucus got into the steam water, you can further use this medicinal brew! Add the water to a bath or footbath, save some to use as a mouthwash for oral health, or skin-clearing face mist (for these options, store in the fridge and use within 5 days), or reheat some of the thyme water and mix with lemon and honey for a soothing tea for sore throats, coughs and clearing respiratory gunk.