Onion, Garlic & Thyme Honey (10 min)

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I hope this post finds you well, safe and navigating these unprecedented times with as much ease as possible. With a pandemic as our new shared reality, it’s easy to recognize the importance of everyone, not just those with privilege or formal instruction, having access to wellness remedies year round.

I’m sharing one today that is an onion, garlic and thyme honey.  This recipe has three important antiviral and antimicrobial powerhouse plants that you may already use regularly in your kitchen.  With the exception of honey, all of these can be grown in a home garden and all are relatively affordable if purchased.  (Scroll to the bottom to jump into the recipe; Read below to learn about benefits of each ingredient.) 

Natural Healers

Thyme (thymus vulgaris).  Packed with Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A, thyme has natural antibacterial, antiviral and expectorant properties that can ward off (or expedite healing for) flu and other illnesses. It’s a good source of copper, iron and manganese. It combats infection and improves immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells, encourages the discharge of mucous, has antispasmodic properties, and relieves inflammation. Thyme is also an aromatic herb with a unique combination of phytochemicals that make it ideal for protecting lungs and the entire respiratory system [1].

Garlic (Allium sativum) is considered one of mother nature’s best medicines and has been used medicinally by humans for over 7,000 years. [2] Sulfurous compounds give garlic its healing abilities. The pest-resistant properties of allicin, the property that garlic becomes when it is chopped or crushed, acts as a defense mechanism that protects plants from pests.  Interestingly, allicin continues to work when consumed by the human body [3]. This makes garlic a natural defender against harmful organisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungus. Garlic supports cardiovascular function [4], can mitigate the effects of fatty liver disease [5], is antimicrobial, and provides antioxidants [6]. Because garlic is known to reduce the severity of cold and flu-like illnesses, it makes sense why garlic could be a logical choice to have as an ally for viruses in the corona family. [7]

Onion (Allium cepa L.) is in the same plant family as garlic and leeks and is one of the world’s oldest cultivated plants [8].  Studies suggest onions offer immunity benefits because of their many antioxidants, including flavonoids like quercetin and anthocyanins [9].  Regular consumption of onion is associated with lower cancer risks [10], heart health benefits [11], healthy bone density [12], prevention and management of diabetes [13], less inflammation associated with arthritis and asthma [14], and with protection and faster recovery from respiratory infections [15]. Onions also have natural antibacterial properties, making them beneficial for fighting infections.

Honey is a delicious natural sweetener that has many benefits to our health, including helping reduce allergy symptoms [16].  Raw honey contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols as well as the disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin [17].  Raw honey even helps promote sleep by stimulating the release of tryptophan in the brain, which converts to serotonin and is ultimately converted to melatonin [18].  This is really fascinating to me because according to our family practitioner’s recent newsletter, “there is new information coming out that melatonin reduces the main inflammasome induced by the SARS-V virus.  Although not directly linked to this mutation of the COVID-19 disease yet, adding even small amounts of melatonin may be helpful in reducing severity of infection.” [19][20][21]  Most importantly to me, raw honey has been found to be as effective as many over the counter cough syrups to reduce mucus and coughs. [22]


Onion, Garlic, Thyme Honey:

-Chop an onion and up to an entire bulb of garlic (I tend to use only 4-5 cloves).*

-Harvest, wash and towel-dry a handful of thyme.

-Fill a pint size jar (or more if needed) with the ingredients.*  

-Pour honey over the ingredients and let sit overnight.  I had to use a butter knife to create space for the honey to reach the bottom of the jar. Try to stir the ingredients a bit to allow the air bubbles to escape.

*Note, be cautious with the amount of garlic you use if using a container smaller than a pint.  If there is not enough honey to dilute the garlic, it can be too strong and the garlic juice can burn going down. I prefer to only use 4-5 single garlic clove as noted above and have never had this issue.

The next day, the honey will have extracted goodness from the onion, garlic and thyme and thinned out into a syrup consistency.  

Strain the syrup from the onion, garlic and thyme into a clean jar. This is now ready to take by the teaspoon.


Pandemic Times
There is so much information going around right now regarding ways to support our immune systems and how to help family members should they become unwell. Some are hard to find supplements or tinctures; some are complicated protocols. I find those are the most likely to be abandoned when things get intense at my house. For me, the remedies I find myself relying on most are the simplest ones that are made from medicinal foods and are easy to implement. This onion, garlic thyme honey is one of those good ones.

I can take a teaspoon of this every day for immune support, and additionally if I start feeling badly, I can up it to a teaspoon every hour if I want.  Because it’s food, I have little to fear about the side effects of a remedy like this (unless I decided to do something crazy like drink the entire jar in one sitting.  I’m guessing that would not go well.).

For me it adds some comfort knowing I have something readily accessible for myself and my family’s immune systems in this wild season we all find ourselves in.  Of course, I am not a doctor, so definitely check with yours if you have concerns about adding a recipe like this to your life.  Here’s to all of us trying to stay well, but being prepared to support ourselves during the times we are not.


If you’d like support creating your own rituals, yardsteading and nature connection practices, check out The Handmade Life!  There I offer nature-based coaching sessions, share herbal traditions, handcrafted goods, DIY workshops and herbal consultations.


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