Tonight it was quite cold for San Diego and I walked to my friend’s house and then we went out again, so when we came back in I made an Ayurveda winter tea.  We put on a small kettle and I placed in the tea pot:

Fresh Ginger Slices, 5

Cloves 4

Cassia Twig 1 inch, broken

Ginger Powder, 1 tsp

Cinnamon Powder ½ tsp

Cumin ¾ tsp

Thyme ½ tsp

Black Peppercorn 5

and then poured in about 2 cups of water just off the boil.

Now Thyme is an excellent herb for winter for the lungs, it has a little bit of a diaphoretic quality, is antibacterial, and warming. It stimulates Agni in the gut and lungs. Its surprisingly good with tea.

I allowed the spices to steep for ten minutes, strained, and used again a second time.

Each time I added: Raw Honey, 1 tsp

About the wild thyme of Crete, the following is said

“Disinfectant especially for the broncho-pulmonary system, expectorant; strengthens the immune system, purifying. Bactericidal activity (typhus, meningococci, diphteric bacteria, staphylococci). “

More information on the wild herbs of Crete



In Crete there is an herb that smells somewhat like Thyme, called Dittany, Dictami, Diktamos, which is combined with sage, mint, and lemon balm for a year round beverage great claims are made for. Fundamentally it is a balanced preventive tea combining warming, cooling, and mild blood moving.

In any event, the idea for the Thyme came from that, and also that one sees, sometimes, Thyme or Eucalyptus honey.


Honey in Ayurveda

Honey should never be cooked. In Ayurveda it is considered that honey leads the prana of the other medicines to their targeted tissues, however, when its cooked it is considered to be as a poison. Add honey at the end to the warm water that the tea is steeping in.

Honey in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda is moistening to the lungs and helps to relieve cough and protect delicate bronchial and pulmonary mucosa from the ravages of dryness and heat. It soothes sore throats and has anti-bacterial value as well. Honey has other medicinal benefits, too.


This tea came out quite well and was both warming, delicious, and refreshing.


In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine  these kinds of spicy warm teas are excellent


  • in cold weather or cold wet weather
  • when you have a cold or are fighting one off
  • if you are prone to colds and cough
  • in flu and cold season as a preventive for most people unless they have a heat disorder
  • large boned slow moving cold or damp, doughy types
  • weaker cold thin types if no problems with dryness
  • cold damp Kapha dominant  body mind types
  • people who produce lots of watery, white or looser phlegm


Caution: Be careful with spicy hot teas if you have a dry cough. In that case I would add some heated goat’s milk.


Let me know what you think.


copyright eyton j. shalom, m.s., l.ac., san diego, ca jan 2013 all rights reserved use with permission

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