In lifts. At meetings. On buses. Everywhere I go right now people seem to be breaking out into spluttering coughing fits. Maybe it’s our apocalyptic air pollution levels, or just the tree pollen playing havoc, but it isn’t half annoying when you can’t even finish a sentence without trailing off into a choking fit.

Thankfully I’ve recently learnt of a cheap and easy thyme and honey cough syrup that soothes tickly coughs a treat. It’s also completely natural, which works for me as I’m 6 months pregnant (NB. I’m not a doctor, so if you’re concerned about herbal remedies, please check with your midwife).

The key ingredient, thyme, contains a substance called thymol, a natural antibacterial compound that’s been used for centuries to soothe respiratory conditions. If you live in south London you’ll know, you can pick up a bunch of thyme for less than a quid from just about any market stall (it’s a key herb in Caribbean cooking), just be sure to wash it thoroughly first before use. With the addition of organic honey to sweeten and soothe, and a tablespoon of lemon juice to act as a natural preservative, it really couldn’t get more virtuous.

But then we’re all about hugs, not drugs, at Ladyland HQ.



1 bunch of fresh (or dried if you can’t find fresh) thyme, washed thoroughly
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon of organic honey (if you’re not pregnant, raw honey is even better due to the active enzymes)
Juice of half a lemon



1. Wash your bunch of thyme under the tap and add to a heat-proof bowl or pan. Bring one cup of filtered water to a rolling simmer and pour over the thyme. Leave to steep until completely cooled, which should take around 15 minutes or so. Juice half a lemon while you’re waiting.


2. Once the steeped thyme liquid has cooled, pour it through a sieve or strainer into a clean jug, then decant into a sterilised glass jar. Stir in the honey and lemon and mix well.


3. Seal the jar and store in a cool place, or the fridge, where it should last for around 2-3 weeks. Then take a spoonful any time you feel a coughing fit coming on!


Photography and styling: Bella Binns