Friday, April 16, 2010

Beat Coughs, Colds & Congestion with Thyme!

Colds and flus are a part of everyday life. They are usually caused by viruses, although if left untreated, bacteria can move in and cause infection as well. Colds and flus can be treated effectively with natural therapies that both kill the infecting organism and support the immune system. Lingering or recurrent infection is a signal of an immune system that is overwhelmed. Natural therapies are also helpful in these cases, to restore disease resistance. Thyme was traditionally used as a spice. It keeps food from going bad and reduces food borne illnesses because it has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Thyme also soothes the respiratory tract, reducing coughs and congestion. Thyme tea can be used as a drink or, either the herb or essential oil, can be used as a steam inhalation for the same purpose. Thyme oil is a topical antifungal for both the skin and scalp. It is usually used today for coughs, colds, asthma and fungal infections. Thyme can be purchased as a loose herb, spice or essential oil. The loose herb can be made into a tea for topical application or internal use. Thyme may be a part of teas for upper respiratory tract infections. The spice is often added to dishes for prevention of bacterial contamination. The essential oil of thyme is a highly concentrated substance. When using essential oils, especially in sensitive areas, be sure to test the oil first on a small area. If necessary, dilute the oil in carrier oil, such as olive, almond or any cooking oil. Thyme oil or herb can be used for steam inhalation. Essential oils are toxic when taken internally. Thyme may cause an allergic reaction when used topically or internally. Individuals with ulcers, intestinal inflammation or other gastrointestinal conditions or those with irritation in the urinary tract may not wish to use thyme.

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