Leaves, stems, flowers.
Akin to majority of the herbs, costmary was also valued for its remedial properties. Long back, the herb was used to treat an assortment of ailments, including diarrhea, "quotidien ague", liver problems and to cure cerebral disorders. Many herbal medicinal practitioners have also prescribed the herb to bring on delayed menstrual periods. As costmary is astringent, it was widely ingested as a tea or blended with sugar as a preserve.
Costmary is indigenous or native to southern Europe and western regions of Asia and is a hardy plant that is able to withstand the cold winters of Europe as well as the humid summers in Asia. Over the years, the herb has been naturalized and commercially grown in several parts of North America and Europe. Years ago, the costmary was a common herb as people extensively cultivated it in their gardens, but today it is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. Costmary thrives best when it is watered occasionally. It is also important to wet the soil profoundly with two to three glasses of water at intervals of two to three weeks. In addition, prior to harvesting and using the herb, one ought to be familiar with the balsamic period which refers to the phase when the active principles in the plant selected for harvesting are present in maximum quantity. Healthy growth of costmary may be ensured by cultivating the plants in such a place that receives a few hours of direct sunlight daily. It is important to note that costmary will grow well both under the sun as well as in partial shade, but it requires full sunlight for the herb to bear flowers. As costmary is perennial in nature, it is possible to grow the herb in your garden all through the year. Division of the plant at intervals of every two to three years enables the herb to grow more vigorously. It may be mentioned here that it is very difficult to propagate costmary from seeds. As discussed earlier, costmary can withstand extreme climatic conditions, especially cold weather. This is one of the reasons why the herb could be naturalized and is cultivated in several regions of North America as well as Europe. As the leaves of this herb are beneficial as nourishments and digestive use, cultivators may use insecticides and adopt anticryptogamic methods. However, it is essential that these should be used much before the harvesting season so that the toxins present in insecticides do not affect the health of the humans taking the herb or its products internally.