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8 Household Uses for Thyme

Thyme has many uses, from the kitchen to natural health to home care. Discover its many great applications.

| May/June 2017

  • Thyme, mullein and horehound are effective herbs for treating colds.
    Photo by iStock/Manuel Adorf
  • Marinate feta cheese with olive oil, thyme and olives to make a delicious salad.
    Photo by iStock/Lauri Patterson
  • Honey and thyme can be used to make a great natural cough syrup.
    Photo by iStock/Floortje

Thyme is one of the most versatile herbs around. In the kitchen, it adds savory flavor to meats, soups and stews. Thanks to the potent natural antiseptic thymol, found in the plant’s leaves, this handy herb also lends itself to natural remedies for coughs and sore throats, household cleaners and more. Check out some of the ways you can use thyme around the house:

1. A Taste of the Mediterranean

For a quick Mediterranean-style recipe, try marinating feta cheese with olive oil, thyme, garlic and kalamata olives, then mix with fresh greens and homemade croutons for a delicious salad. Get the full recipe at

2. A New Take on Pesto

Thinking of branching out in your culinary repertoire? Thyme and rosemary star in a unique, easy-to-make pesto from Louisiana chef Horst Pfeifer, perfect as an accompaniment to lamb or chicken. Get the recipe at

3. Cough Syrup

According to the German Commission E (part of the German government’s counterpart to the FDA), thyme is an approved treatment for coughs, respiratory infections, bronchitis and whooping cough. Try this simple cough syrup to get the healing benefits of the herb. Boil 1 cup water, remove from heat, add thyme and let sit, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, and whisk in 1/2 cup honey until combined. The cough syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to two months.

4. Hair Rinse

The use of thyme and rosemary for soft, silky hair goes back centuries. This herbal rinse keeps hair feeling great, and promotes a clean, healthy scalp. Combine 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1/2 tablespoon dried) rosemary leaves and 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1/2 tablespoon dried) thyme leaves in a bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over the herbs. Steep until cool, and strain into a clean container. Use after shampoo in the shower as a leave-in rinse.

5. Skin Cleanser

Thyme’s natural antiseptic properties make it great for cleaning skin. Try this four-ingredient cleanser. Combine 1/4 cup pure honey, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme and 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap, and pour into a clean container. To use, massage a small amount into skin, rinse with warm water and pat dry.

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