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Thymus vulgaris - L.
Common Name Common Thyme, Garden thyme, Wild Thyme
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards A comment has been made in one report on medicinal uses that the plant should be used with caution[21]. No explanation was given. It quite possibly refers to overuse of the essential oil. All essential oils, since they are so concentrated, can be harmful in large doses[K]. Avoid if inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Internal use contraindicated especially in pregnancy. Caution if sensitive to grasses [301]. Dilute oil in carrier oil before topical use.
Habitats Dry slopes, rocks and maquis. Always found on clay or limestone soils[89].
Range S. Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Bloom Color: Lavender. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded.

Thymus vulgaris Common Thyme, Garden thyme, Wild Thyme

Thymus vulgaris Common Thyme, Garden thyme, Wild Thyme
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Thymus vulgaris is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Origanum thymus Kuntze. Thymus collinus Salisb. [Illegitimate] .

 Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves and flowering tops - raw in salads, used as a garnish or added as a flavouring to cooked foods, going especially well with mushrooms and courgettes[2, 4, 21, 46, 183, 238]. It is an essential ingredient of the herb mix 'bouquet garni'[238]. It retains its flavour well in long slow cooking[200]. The leaves can be used either fresh or dried[183]. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly[200]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. An aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[21, 183]. Pungent and spicy[183].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 276 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 7.8%
  • Protein: 9.1g; Fat: 7.4g; Carbohydrate: 63.9g; Fibre: 18.6g; Ash: 11.7g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 1890mg; Phosphorus: 201mg; Iron: 123.6mg; Magnesium: 220mg; Sodium: 55mg; Potassium: 814mg; Zinc: 6.2mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 3800mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.51mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.4mg; Niacin: 4.94mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Aromatherapy;  Carminative;  Deodorant;  Diaphoretic;  Disinfectant;  
Expectorant;  Sedative;  Tonic.

Common thyme has a very long history of folk use for a wide range of ailments[218]. It is very rich in essential oils and these are the active ingredients responsible for most of the medicinal properties[218]. In particular, thyme is valued for its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it is an excellent tonic and is used in treating respiratory diseases and a variety of other ailments[254]. The flowering tops are anthelmintic, strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative and tonic[4, 7, 21, 200, 218]. The plant is used internally in the treatment of dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea and enuresis in children[238]. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and fungal infections[238]. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use[238]. Thyme has an antioxidant effect, thus regular use of this herb improves the health and longevity of individual body cells and therefore prolongs the life of the body[254, K]. The essential oil is strongly antiseptic[4]. The whole herb is used in the treatment of digestive disorders, sore throats, fevers etc[4]. The essential oil is one of the most important oils used in aromatherapy[7, 210]. Its keyword is 'Bacterial'[210]. It is used especially in cases of exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory tract infections, skin and scalp complaints etc[238]. The oil can cause allergic reactions and irritation to the skin and mucous membranes[238].
Other Uses
Deodorant;  Disinfectant;  Essential;  Fungicide;  Pot-pourri;  Repellent.

An essential oil from the leaves is frequently used in perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, medicinally etc[11, 21, 57, 89, 238]. It has fungicidal properties[171] and is also used to prevent mildew[218]. The leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri[238]. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position[201]. Plants are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[208]. The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing[4] whilst the growing plant is said to repel cabbage root fly[18, 20].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position[4, 7, 11, 27, 37]. Succeeds in dry soils, poor soils and tolerates drought once it is established[190]. Plants can be grown on old walls. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils[238]. Thyme is hardy to about -15°c[200], though it is even hardier when grown on old walls are in well-drained poor light soils[4]. Thyme is commonly grown in the herb garden, there are many named varieties[182]. It is also harvested commercially for its essential oil[218]. The leaves are very aromatic[190]. It is sometimes grown as an annual from seed when used for culinary purposes[200]. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees[4, 7, 200]. Thyme is a good companion for most plants[20, 54], it is said to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas[18, 20]. This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other[200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed can keep for three years in normal storage[4]. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame[200]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Layering.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Thymus caespititiusCretan Thyme22
Thymus camphoratusCamphor Thyme02
Thymus capitatusHeaded Savory, Thymus22
Thymus cilicicusCilician Thyme12
Thymus herba-baronaCaraway Thyme32
Thymus hirtus 22
Thymus mastichinaMastic Thyme22
Thymus pannonicusEurasian thyme22
Thymus praecoxMother of thyme, Creeping thyme, Woolly Thyme22
Thymus praecox arcticusWild Thyme32
Thymus pseudolanuginosusWoolly Thyme22
Thymus pulegioidesBroad-Leaved Thyme, lemon thyme22
Thymus quinquecostatus 22
Thymus serpyllumWild Thyme43
Thymus x citriodorusLemon Thyme, Creeping Lemon Thyme, Lemon-Scented Thyme42
Thymus zygis 22
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Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
mona a. mohsen Wed Nov 9 2005
it's so helpful....thanks
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