Greek Tastes: Ten Greek herbs that will help improve your health

 

The Mediterranean weather provides one of the best conditions for the growth of herbs, in Greece. Locals have known these beneficial plants for centuries, using them both in cooking for their flavors; as well as in medicine, for their healing properties. The Greek territory provides an ideal environment for herbs, which flourish on mountain slopes and green fields. Although the list of local herbs is endless, we have picked some of the lesser-known ones and included them on this list. These are some of the most powerful Greek herbs, ten Greek herbs that will help improve your health.

 

Wild Malotira from Crete

Malotira, herb from Crete, Greece
Malotira, Crete.

A native of Crete, Wild Malotira (Sideritis Syriaca) is a very popular medicinal tea. Many know it as Cretan Mountain Tea and it is famous for its long list of beneficial properties. It is, at the same time, a detoxifier, anti-anemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, disinfectant, bacteriostatic, stimulant, and diuretic herb.

Its essential oil is a very potent microbicidal and at the same time recognized for its ability to enhance bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

Malotira preserves the natural color of the hair, preventing whitening.

Drinking a cup of tea from this herb drank on a regular basis, helps keep the digestive system working.

 

Marjoram

Marjoram
Marjoram

Origanum Majorana) is an annual perennial herb that the Greeks cultivate since ancient times.

Marjoram has plenty of therapeutic properties and is a natural tranquilizer as well.

The steam produced by the hot infusion of this herb is very helpful for the human respiratory system, and its essential oil aids to reduce dental pain.

Such a useful plant could not be absent from the Greek cuisine.

In dishes, marjoram pairs well with meat, salads, cheese, and bread.

 

Olympus Tea

Greek Mountain Tea.
Greek Mountain Tea.

Sideritis Scardica is commonly known as Greek Mountain Tea or Shepherd’s Tea. In Greek “Sideritis” means “he who is or has the iron”.

Ancient Greeks knew this plant very well. In fact, in ancient times Sideritis was a generic reference for plants capable of healing wounds caused by iron weapons during battles.

This popular drink has a very pleasant taste which people sometimes enhance using cinnamon and honey.

Traditionally it aids digestion, stimulates the circulatory system and helps the body deal with colds and coughs. Modern science actually backs up that the tea helps in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Mountain tea contains considerable amounts of flavonoids, antioxidant, tannins, iron, cobalt, zinc, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and volatile oils.

 

Cretan Dittany

Dittany of Crete
Dittany of Crete

Hop Marjoram (Dictamnus Origanum or Dittany of Crete) is a tender perennial plant known for its healing, therapeutic and aromatic characteristics.

It only grows wild on the mountainsides and gorges of the Greek island of Crete where locals normally use it for food flavoring and medicinal purposes.

Dittany of Crete has always been highly prized, Hippocrates considered dittany of Crete useful for stomach aches and the digestive system.

 

Fliskouni

Fliskouni
Fliskouni, also known as Mountain Mint.

Also known as Mountain Mint or Pennyroyal, it’s centuries that local drink this herb in teas since they have always considered it a natural aphrodisiac.

In folk medicine, people believe that Fliskouni stimulates the nervous system, being also useful against asthma, the respiratory system and to clean the lungs.

Many people also use Pennyroyal tea to treat heartburn, dyspepsia, and irritable bowel syndrome.

 

Summer Savory

Summer Savory.
Summer Savory.

Greek Throubi (or Savory) is a perennial plant of the Mediterranean usually used in cooking. Ancient Greeks also used to make flavored wine with this herb.

Modern herbal medicine uses throubi mainly for the healing properties of the digestive system.

It also stimulates the appetite and helps in the treatment of pain from colic, and nausea.

People also apply it externally as an antiseptic on wounds and insect bites, offering immediate relief.

 

Yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)
Achillea Millefolium.

Achillea or Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) is a plant that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America with properties known since ancient times.

Yarrow has a variety of beneficial effects on people’s health’s disorders.

It is a strong remedy against heavy sweating and drank hot it can detoxify the body.

Furthermore, yarrow is a natural remedy for lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation.
Yarrow also helps against any kind of internal bleeding.

 

Rockrose

Rock Rose (White).
Rockrose (White).

Cistus or Rockrose (Cistus Creticus) Cistus is a low shrub that grows wild in many parts of Greece, but mainly in Crete and Cyprus.

This plant has attracted the scientific community’s interest due to all of its amazing properties.

Rockrose has been extensively used for its high anti-inflammatory properties.  It also acts as an antispasmodic and expectorant.

This herb controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects, as well. It protects the heart four times better than red wine and it is a powerful antioxidant.

It heals skin issues, new or old scars, and wounds.

 

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nette.
Stinging Nette.

Tsoukonida or Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica) was one of the most important medicinal plants in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Nettle has numerous health benefits and modern medicine uses it due to its content of vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, and B5) and minerals. It contains calcium, iron, folic acid, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Nettle helps improve kidney function.

It also has anticonvulsant properties in cases of rheumatism or sciatica.

 

Red Oregano

Red Oregano.
Red Oregano.

Origanum Vulgare (also red oregano) is a perennial plant. Another name of this variety of oregano is Pontian Tea, because it grows in the Kilkis prefecture (Northern Greece), which is mostly inhabited by Pontian Greeks. Pontian Tea grows also in Montenegro.

A special characteristic of Pontian tea is that all its aroma disappears once the herb is dry.

However, when it comes into contact with hot water it produces a stunning fragrance, with a great taste, unlike the common oregano.

This kind of oregano shares many of the same benefits as common oregano.

The leaves are strongly antiseptic and anti-spasmodic.

 

This article was also published by the author, Gabi Ancarola, on Greek Reporter on January 23rd, 2018. Read more about Greek tastes

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