Wild thyme is known by a few common names, such as mother of thyme, or creeping Thyme. Wild thyme is native to most of Europe and North Africa. It is a low subshrub growing to 2 cm tall with creeping stems up to 10 cm long, with oval evergreen leaves 3-8 mm long. It has strongly scented flowers that are 4-6 mm long and produced in clusters. This hardy plant tolerates some traffic and produces a lightly lemon aroma. It’s a great and easy to care for herb to add to your garden!
Thyme can be used fresh or dried. The fresh or dried leaves and the flowering tops are used in soups, stews, with vegetables, marinades, stuffings etc. Thyme provides a warm tangy flavor. The leaves can also be used in potpourris, and to repel insects such as moths. The essential oil of thyme is also added to soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, perfumes, and antiseptic ointments. Also, it is used in aromatherapy to relieve pain and elevate the mood. Thyme baths have been used to help relieve aches and joint pains.
Thyme is rich in an essential oil that is rich in thymol. It is a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant. Thyme has expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties, making it useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis, whooping cough, and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. All the members of the mint family, including thyme, possess terpenoids which are recognized for their cancer preventive properties. Rosmarinic and ursolic acids are major terpenoids in thyme that possess anti-cancer properties.A tea can be made by adding one teaspoon of crushed thyme in half cup of boiling water, letting it steep for 10 mins and then straining. The tea can be drunk 3 to 4 times a day for the treatment of coughs.
How to Grow Wild Thyme
Wild thyme is perennial plant and it is hardy in zones 4 to 8. It requires requires full sun to partial shade. Prefers moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.6 to 7.5. Thyme tolerates poor soil and drought. Surface sow or barely cover seed with soil. Keep soil moist but never soggy. For best germination results grow indoors in sterilized soil; black earth/peat moss mixture. Transplant outside after risk of frost.