Dr. Archer’s Simple Cold & Cough Tea

I’ve been prescribing this tea for my patients and I recently tested it on myself.  It works, and it works well! I’m tempted to give you a disclaimer for it being so…simple. There are a whole bunch of other amazing herbs I could have put in this tea, but I love the idea of a two herb tea. Easy for you, right?

In fact, it’s even easy enough for the Wendy’s Eating Husband, who’s currently feeling a little under the weather. I convinced him to make and consume a whole serving (1.5 cups). And he did! When I asked him if he liked it he said, “not bad”. Now if only he would have made two more servings today…

One serving of tea a day will not do your cold any kind of justice. Sure, it will help, but if you want that cold gone ASAP, you have to drink a lot of it in frequent doses. One way around drinking a lot of tea is making your tea more concentrated. Before naturopathic medical school, I used to think that 2 daily cups of echinacea tea from Trader Joe’s would get rid of my cold. Hah! I was totally under dosed.

One serving of this tea makes 1.5 cups, and you need to drink one serving three times a day, for the entire duration of your cold. Start drinking it as soon as you think you might be getting sick. If you’re already sick and wanting to take this, good news! It will still help, and it may even prevent your cold from turning into a nasty cough.

This recipe uses loose, dried herbs. In order to brew the tea, you will need a stainless steel tea strainer. I like the one I used in the photo. I use it every single day, and it’s available here.

When it comes to kids, a general dose is 1/2 cup of the brewed tea three times a day. According to weight, age, and the severity of the illness, the dose may vary (which means that I may not dose it like this if I see you in my office). Since the recipe brews 1.5 cups at a time, you can brew a day’s worth of tea for your kid all at once. Make sure the tea is not burning hot prior to serving it to your child. You knew that, right? You can also chill the tea and serve it cold, iced, in a sippy cup, or in a water bottle.

I particularly like this tea because it has your back when it comes to both viruses and bacteria. The licorice is anti-viral and the thyme is antimicrobial.

This tea can be used to:

  • shorten the duration of a cold
  • decrease the symptoms of a cold
  • prevent an upper head cold from progressing down into the lungs
  • relieve coughs
  • mitigate coughing spasms

Thyme tea by itself is like tasting vanilla extract off the teaspoon when you’re baking chocolate chip cookies. Brewing thyme leaves with licorice root is like you ate the chocolate chip cookie with the vanilla extract in it. Delicious. Okay, okay, so maybe drinking thyme & licorice root tea won’t be like eating a chocolate chip cookie. But you get it. The licorice root makes the thyme work in the tea.

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3 Responses

  1. Rose

    Sounds really great! Been drinking anise tea,does that have the same effect? Has that licorice taste and smell; I can’t get enough of it!


  2. Tiffany Acker

    Thank you for laying out the specifics here. Do you have any online retailers you buy herbs from? I’m wondering if thyme essential oil would be a fine substitute as well? I’ll have to consider drying the thyme from our garden next year to use year round.


    Dr. Archer Atkins

    Hi Tiffany!

    I like Mountain Rose Herbs for ordering bulk dry herbs online. However, there is a wonderful herb store in Capitol Hill (Seattle) where you can get bulk herbs. I bought some dried thyme leaves from Rainbow Natural Remedies (http://rainbownatural.com/), and it was the freshest thyme I have ever seen. Once we brought it home, I could smell the thyme throughout the entire room. That stuff was definitely high quality and potent. So you may want to check out that store!

    Also, I don’t recommend using thyme essential oil as a substitute for the dried thyme leaves, especially in a tea. :)


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