This thyme-like Iranian plant is an effective alternative medicine for coughs
03/18/2021 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

The thyme-like plant known as Shirazi thyme (Zataria multiflora) is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family and is native to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Also called Avishan-e-Shirazi in Iran, this flowering plant is considered a valuable medicinal herb. Shirazi thyme is traditionally used as an antiseptic, carminative (relieves flatulence), stimulant, diaphoretic (induces sweating), diuretic, anesthetic, anti-spasmodic and analgesic.

Because of its widespread use in Traditional Iranian Medicine, multiple studies have investigated the biological properties of Shirazi thyme. Some of its reported activities include antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic and nociceptive properties. Researchers believe these beneficial effects can be attributed to Shirazi thyme's active components, like the oxygenated monoterpenes, thymol and carvacrol. Both of these compounds are known as antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.

In a recent review, researchers from Iran focused on a different property of Shirazi thyme. They noted that the plant is widely used to treat acute cough in their country, but the mechanisms underlying its therapeutic effects are poorly understood. Hence, the researchers gathered and reviewed published studies about the use of Shirazi thyme as a natural cough medicine.

Their shared their findings in an article published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Shirazi thyme is an effective natural cough remedy

Cough is a defensive reflux mechanism that facilitates the removal of foreign objects and secretions from the bronchi (main passageway into the lungs) and bronchioles (smaller passageways located closer to lung tissue). As a popular natural remedy for cough in Iran, the researchers wanted to explore the potency of Shirazi thyme and understand its mechanisms of action.


Hence, for their study, the researchers compiled information about the use of Shirazi thyme as a cough medicine from all accessible resources and books. They  reported finding five clinical studies that evaluated the efficacy of Shirazi thyme essential oil and extract when used alone or in combination with either Althaea officinalis (marsh mallow) or Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) essential oil. These cough remedies came in various forms, i.e., syrup, oral drop and soft capsule.

The researchers also noted that the five studies compared the efficacy of Shirazi thyme-based treatments with that of a placebo or conventional drugs, such as the mucolytic, bromhexine, and the cough suppressants, dextromethorphan and clobutinol.

All five studies reported that Shirazi thyme can effectively relieve acute cough in pediatric and adult patients without causing any adverse effects. These findings suggest that the efficacy of Shirazi thyme as a cough medicine can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, relaxant and immune-enhancing properties.

The researchers recommend conducting more clinical trials to explore the effectiveness of Shirazi thyme, especially when combined with other natural cough medicines, such as ivy leaf extract or primrose root extract. (Related: DIY cough syrups for different kinds of coughs.)

Other natural remedies for cough

Despite the role of coughs in ridding the body of irritants and infections, persistent coughing can be frustrating and may affect your daily activities. Fortunately, the world is full of inexpensive yet effective natural remedies that can chase annoying coughs away. Here are some excellent examples of them: (h/t to

  • Honey tea
  • Ginger
  • Hydration
  • Steam
  • Marshmallow root
  • Salt-water gargle
  • Bromelain enzyme from pineapples
  • Thyme
  • Dietary changes (i.e., avoid foods that can easily trigger acid influx)
  • Slippery elm
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
  • Probiotics

Despite not being as well-known as its other mint relatives, Shirazi thyme is a useful medicinal plant that can relieve cough on its own. But when combined with other powerful herbs, Shirazi thyme transforms into an even more potent natural medicine that can be used to relieve pain and spasms, fight microbial infections and reduce inflammation. You can learn more about potent remedies like Shirazi thyme at

Sources include: 1

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