Thyme was grown in monastery gardens in southern France, in Spain, and in Italy, during the Middle Ages for use as a cough remedy, digestive aid, and as a treatment for intestinal parasites.
Thymol is the most active ingredient in thyme and is known to have a therapeutic effect on the lungs. Ingesting or inhaling the oil helps to loosen phlegm and relax the muscles in the respiratory system.
In Germany, concoctions of thyme are frequently prescribed for coughs, including those resulting from whooping cough, bronchitis and emphysema. Thyme is used in herbal teas prepared for colds and flu. In addition, thyme has anti-fungal properties and can be used against athlete's foot.
To make a tea, use two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water and steep for ten minutes. Add sage to the tea if you have a nagging cough. Thyme is generally regarded as safe, but large doses may cause intestinal problems. If you experience intestinal symptoms, cut back on the amount you're using or discontinue use altogether.
A stronger tea is useful as a mouthwash or rinse to treat sore gums.