If you hold in your mind the image of an effortlessly chic Parisienne in her man's shirt and kitten heels, you may be relieved to learn that she, too, gets a runny nose and sore throat from time to time. When that happens, some women rush to their most trusted pharmacie (the French equivalent of a pharmacy, only much more charming) and get their fill of over-the-counter medication. Many more pull out their basket of herbal remedies and put themselves on an intensive thyme-infusion regimen.
Rich in phenols and antioxidants, thyme is seen as a remède miracle, a miracle cure for all sorts of ailments, and especially for respiratory infections, head colds, and flu-like symptoms. It is common grandmotherly wisdom in France, backed up by the actual antiseptic and antiviral properties of the herb.
Thyme grows wild everywhere in France, and many people keep a shrub in their garden or on their windowsill, the stems ready to be snipped for on-demand infusions or laid out in the sun to dry. You can also buy it, of course, and natural food stores will stock thyme that is organically grown, which I recommend you use. Keep it in an airtight container somewhere cool and dry, and use within a few months.
There are three ways to leverage the power of the thyme infusion, and they can be used in combination: