- For adding flavor and taste to dishes
- For medicinal uses
- Dried and used as an additive for food
- In the form of essential oils for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes
- As ingredients in many cosmetic products such as soaps and shampoos
- For ornamental purposes when it comes to gardens and indoor pots
And one such herb which has come to be associated with plenty of marvelous dishes and even for its medicinal properties, is the thyme. The common variety of this herb is known as Thymus vulgaris. Interestingly, this herb belongs to the mint family but is very different from the usual minty fragrance. It has got many species such as:
- Lemon thymes
- Wooly thyme
- Wild thyme
- Creeping thyme and
- Caraway thyme to name a few
Almost each of these species differs by way of what they are used for and how they look. For instance, the common thyme is often used only as a culinary herb. Whereas, Thymus praecox, also known as mother of thyme, is used as an ornamental plant.
How to grow thyme
The one thing that the thyme plant will need is a hot and sunny climate. They also do well if the soil is pretty gritty all dry. You can choose to grow them either via seeds or saplings. You can also choose the known cultivars of thyme. Some species of thyme are self propagating. For instance, if you choose to go with the Bush thymes then you need not worry too much about looking out for new plants time and again.
You can grow this plant either in your garden directly or put them in small containers or flower pots. But do be sure that you place the pot somewhere where there is a lot of sunlight because then you will see the thyme plant growing really well. You could plant the thyme indoors and plant them out after the last Frost has passed. You should ensure that the soil is really well drained.
Taking care of the thyme plant
Apart from plenty of sunshine, this plant also needs just a bit of light pruning. This pruning can be done once it has crossed one year. If you are trying to grow the plant in really bushy form, then you must make sure that you keep snipping the tops of the stem. The pruning and the snipping is also essential to prevent the plants from getting woody.
Harvesting and using thyme
Once the blossoms start showing, then all you need to do is cut the tops of the plants and hang them to dry. This is in case you want to use the dry herbs. You can also use fresh herb. Normally, thyme is ready to be harvested sometime in the middle of the summer. Once your cuttings are completely dry, you can add them directly to the culinary dish that you are preparing.
Thyme also has medicinal properties. Essential oil made from this herb is said to be good as an antiseptic and can be used to treat various skin infections also.