Pale pink flowers bloom in early summer on evergreen perennial plants that grow 18 inches tall. Thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
Traditional Healing Uses: Thyme tea has been used to relieve symptoms of the digestive and respiratory systems: to treat colic, stomach cramps, flatulence, gastritis, diarrhea, appetite loss, coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough. As a gargle, thyme tea has been used for laryngitis, tonsillitis, sore throats, and mouth ulcers. Thyme tea or mashed thyme leaves have been applied to sores, ulcers, inflammations, infected wounds, and athlete’s foot.
Other uses: Thyme is also a versatile culinary seasoning, delicious with meat, poultry, beans, sausages, soups, stews, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and pickles. Bees make a strong, flavorful honey from the flowers. Thyme can be added to sachets or herbal baths, used as a moth repellant, or grown as a companion for potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants to repel cabbageworms and whiteflies.
Harvest: Cut plants close to the ground as flowering begins, and dry the whole plant. Strip leaves off branches when dried. A second, late summer cutting may be possible but may decrease plant hardiness.
Preparation: Pour 1 cup of boiling water on 2 teaspoons of dried herb and let steep for 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
Caution: Use in moderation. Thymol, thyme’s essential oil, is toxic and may irritate the skin; use poultices cautiously.