The herbal remedies have been a favorite in the Orient for long as they are known to have awesome medicinal properties and culinary value. They not only help in alleviating symptoms of the common ailments but also help in adding flavor to the regular dishes.
Organic living and they grow herbs
Many people in Pakistan are inspired by the notion of organic living and they grow herbs in their garden. Fauzia Hashmi grows many herbal plants in her garden and some of her favorite summer herbs are lemon balm, mint, menthol, stevia, and basil.
In winter months, Hashmi loves to cultivate oregano, chives, rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram. Raw herbs also have a great demand internationally hence, many people also grow them for business.
Thyme is not only a spice often used in Mediterranean cuisine, but also a medicinal plant. Especially for coughs, thyme is a popular remedy. Potted thyme is also available in the supermarket.
Even though it is often said that the plants only grow as an annual, this is not true. With good care, the plant can live up to four years. But there is one thing you have to pay attention to: Thyme is a half shrub. That means that it lignifies. No new shoots grow from the lignified lower part of the plant. That is why it is so important that you prune thyme regularly so that it does not continue to lignify.
Pruning thyme: Here’s how to do it.
Thyme should be cut and not plucked
The best time for pruning is in spring – as soon as you can be sure that there will be no more frost. Here’s how it works:
With good pruning shears you can start pruning back the shrub. You can be generous in your efforts. Don’t worry, you can cut the thyme back a third of the way. However, two to three centimetres of young and green shoots must be left standing to allow the shrub to grow back well.
Be careful not to cut the woody parts of the thyme bush.
They are located in the lower part of the plant and are already brownish. Even if cutting is intended to prevent the spread of the lignification, the lignified lower parts are important. If you cut the half-shrub completely down to these areas, the thyme may not sprout at all.
Fertilize with compost?
After the cut, the thyme needs a lot of nutrients. You can fertilize it with compost.
Since thyme is sensitive after cutting, you should also protect it from the cold. Brushwood or bark mulch can help.
When the thyme flowers strongly in summer, you can cut the flowers back a little. This will also help the plant grow better.
If you have cut your thyme correctly, you can use the leaves and twigs for seasoning. However, to avoid damaging the plant, you should not simply pluck it but cut it with sharp scissors.
Hashmi enjoys cooking international cuisines at home and feels that
fresh herbs play an important role in upping the flavour of such dishes.
Once she started growing these plants, she became avidly interested in
their medicinal properties. She shares that certain herbs help in
reducing health problems. “Chamomile and lemon balm help reduce anxiety,
and rosemary enhances brain activity. They comprise anti-inflammatory
and healing properties,” she says.
She notes that in the wake of increase in stressors and health
problems, such as hypertension, anxiety, ulcers and headaches, the use
of herbal remedies has amplified. “This is because herbs have an answer
to many of these everyday problems,” she comments.
This article has been written by Saadia Qamar on: http://tribune.com.pk/