Make Thyme Tea for freediving and boosting your immunity during Covid.
Disclaimer: Always see a healthcare provider before adding thyme tea/water into your diet especially if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication for blood clots, blood pressure and chronic heart issues. Those with an allergy to the Lamiaceae plant family, such as rosemary, oregano and mint should avoid consuming thyme. If you start to develop shortness of breath, skin rashes, chest pain, or other signs of an allergy stop consuming thyme immediately and seek medical treatment.
Freediving is an anaerobic exercise that causes your body to produce a lot of free radicals, which can make your feel tired after dives, cause cell damage and contribute to ageing. It’s important to eat, sleep and train right even on non-dive days. There’s a lot of ways to add vitamins and minerals into our diets each day, my favourite is Thyme! You can drink Thyme Tea or Thyme Infused water daily with minimal risks and it tastes great! With immune-boosting vitamins such as vitamin C, A & B this tea is also good for different types of respiratory issues which could affect your diving.
Thymus vulgaris is an herb in the Mint family, Lamiaceae. Thyme exhibits antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti carcinogenesis, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic activate. It’s excellent at supporting the immune and respiratory systems, preventing infections and fights free radicals. The main component of thyme is an essential oil, thymol which gives it antiseptic properties that kills fungi. It also helps in killing bacterial and viral infections which can also give some relief with a cold, cough, relieve congestion and soothe a sore throat. Thyme also has salicylate that may slow down blood clotting. It's best to avoid this herb 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery, please remember to consult with your healthcare provider.
Thyme is a Good Source of:
Manganese - contributes to many bodily functions, including the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrates. It also plays a role in bone formation and reducing inflammation.
Magnesium - plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting the immune system.
Zinc - helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Potassium - is a mineral and electrolyte. Aids with maintaining blood pressure, help reduce water retention, muscle contractions/cramps, digestion, heart rhythm, blood pH balance (acidity and alkalinity).
Calcium - to building bones and keeping them healthy.
Iron - to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, and the immune system. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen around the body. It may boost immunity, reduces fatigue and restores sleep.
1-teaspoon serving of fresh thyme offers 1.28 milligrams of vitamin C.
Importance of anti-inflammatories for Freediving.
As freedivers, we want to avoid irritating our ears, especially the Eustachian tubes. Seasonal allergies and colds can cause our tubes to get inflamed and clog with mucus. These issues are prevalent when the seasons change in Spring and Fall to Winter. Always listen to your body and find preventative ways to reduce inflammation in your body. Combine drinking thyme and practice dry equalization to assist with keeping your eustachian tubes clear of sticky blockages. Drinking thyme tea or infused water may help reduce sinus infections, upper respiratory tract infections and catarrh. I have experienced a reverse blockage on an accent while doing a course. It was painful and I wasn't able to dive for a few weeks after. Having to extend my trip to complete my course wasn't ideal but it was necessary as wouldn't have been able to complete it back home.
Reverse blockages happen on an accent when the tube gets too sticky and you're unable to equalize properly. I had a cold/flu 3 weeks before my course and it wasn't enough time to clear the excess mucus. At least, I didn't know how to flush my body of excess mucus.
Getting the right amount of sleep can be a challenge and can affect how our memory, immune and digestive system function.
Carvacrol in Thyme assists with calming the entire nervous system and pyridoxine, which is a water-soluble B6 vitamin helps melatonin production. Drinking thyme tea is a great alternative to chamomile tea as it doesn’t normally cause drowsiness.
'Sleep deprivation of 30 to 72 hours does not affect cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise of varying intensity or the aerobic and anaerobic performance capability of individuals. Muscle strength and electromechanical responses are also not affected.' - Sleep deprivation and the effect on exercise performance
I discovered Thyme tea because I looking for ways to boost my iron intake without the use of supplements; I try to ensure my diet is iron-rich in general. As freedivers, we want to me make sure we have a healthy production of hemoglobin so our body may metabolize oxygen efficiently. Iron doesn't make you produce more blood although altitude and prolong hypoxia training may. But that's a topic for another day. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin as it's the protein in red blood cells which carries oxygen.
Increasing potassium in your diet helps with reducing cramping while freediving and may prevent blackouts caused by potassium deficiency. In general, it's best to keep a well-rounded diet when diving and training for freediving.
How to prepare your tea.
Thyme Tea is easy to brew. You can use either dry, powder or fresh clippings.
I typically use 1 teaspoon of Dried Thyme for a cup of tea. Place herbs in a tea strainer and pour boiled water in your favourite and brew for 3-5 min.
Thyme powder is similar to matcha and can be made the same way. Place 1 teaspoon in a matcha shaker with hot water and shake. I use a matcha shaker from Davids Tea, just don’t forget to press the steam release button before opening the shaker.
You can buy a bunch from the grocery store. I find 1 bunch is good for 4 servings of tea. In a small pot, add enough water for your tea and fresh time. The more you add the more medicinal benefits you'll have. Boil for 8 minutes, strain and serve.
I'll use the whole bunch of fresh clippings in a 1litre glass vessel of water and place them in the fridge for at least 8-10hrs to infuse. You can also add fresh clementines or lemons to add more flavours into your water. Infused water is a great way to stay hydrated in the summer months but this also tastes refreshing for any other day. This mixture is good for 3-4 days. Once I drink the full litre I refill with water and may swap out the citrus fruits with fresher ones. Note that the medical properties deplete when it gets diluted again.
You can also use 2-4 tablespoon of dried thyme in 1litre of water in a teabag to make infused water which I found to be good for up to 3 days. You can cold-infuse your water with dried herbs in the fridge which takes 8-10hrs.
I try to drink this tea 3-4 times a week, especially on days when I feel congestion starts. It has helped me clear away the extra mucus and makes it more comfortable to fall asleep at night. I recommend making the tea version with the dried leaves as I find that works better.