Thymus vulgaris which is also known as Common Thyme is an evergreen herbaceous plant. It is an herb and a shrub and is woody. It is native to southern Europe and can grow up to a height of 15-20cm or 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft). It has culinary uses. Its culinary uses are in flavoring and garnishing of sauces, stews, stuffing’s, meats, poultry and salads because of its aroma flavor. It was believed that the tea made out of its leaves prevents nightmares and enabled a person to see nymphs and fairies.
It is a stimulant and an antispasmodic and its inhalation can relieve melancholy and epilepsy. Its essential oil has thymol which is an antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is used as an expectorant and for loosening phlegm to cough up and relieve the respiratory tract. It relieves diarrhea and fever too and is an antiseptic agent for fungal infections like athlete’s foot. It is used to treat dry coughs, whooping coughs and used as a sedative too. It is known to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas. It treats laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhea and enuresis in children and externally it is used for treating tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis, digestive disorders, sore throats and fevers. In short it acts as an Anathematic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Aromatherapy; Carminative; Deodorant; Diaphoretic; Disinfectant, Expectorant, Sedative, Tonic, Disinfectant; Essential; Fungicide; Ground cover; Potpourri and a Repellent.
It grows in zone 7 and is not tender to frost. The flowers bloom from June to August. These plants are hermaphrodites and Bees, flies, Lepidoptera pollinate the plant and other wildlife is attracted to it. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. It needs well-drained soil but can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant needs neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It needs full sun. It requires dry or moist soil.
It is used as a ground cover and for cultivating beds. Its edible parts are leaves which are used for teas and oils. It is used both fresh and dried and it can retain its flavor for a long time. The leaves are known to have water, Fat, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Minerals like Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Zinc and vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6 and Niacin.
Growing conditions of Thymus Vulgaris
• Sow the Seed in a cold frame in spring.
• Seed can also be sown in a greenhouse in autumn.
• Sow the seed on the surface barely covering it.
• Germination is not regular.
• Once the seedlings are large enough, transfer them into individual pots or to a greenhouse for first winter.
• Transplant them in late spring or early summer in permanent spots after the danger of frost ends.
• Division of the plants should be done in spring or autumn.
• Larger divisions are supposed to be planted into their permanent positions.
• Transplant them outside in the summer or the following spring.
Care for Thymus Vulgaris
• It grows in zone 7 and is not tender to frost.
• Do not overwater and make the soil soggy.
• Thyme is hardy to about -15°c.