Herb: Wild Thyme

Latin name: Thymus praecox arcticus

Synonyms: Thymus arcticus, Thymus britannicus, Thymus carniolicus, Thymus drucei, Thymus neglectus, Thymus pycnotrichus

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Wild Thyme:

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative and tonic. 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.

Description of the plant:


5 cm
(2 inches)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Chalk downs, dry grassland, heaths, dunes, screes and amongst rocks.

Edible parts of Wild Thyme:

Leaves - raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. Retains its flavour well in long slow cooking. 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. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves or dried flowers.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery, soaps, medicinally etc. It has fungicidal properties. The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing.

Propagation of Wild Thyme:

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. Division in spring or autumn. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Chalk downs, dry grassland, heaths, dunes, screes and amongst rocks.

Known hazards of Thymus praecox arcticus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.