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The Magical World of Greek Herbs

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In some areas, Greek soils are as rich as they can be, and lately agricultural life has been regaining its former status with more people turning to the land to both make ends meet and find more natural ailments for dozens of health problems.

Nature can give people most of what they need. Food and remedies, comfort and work. With some 6,000 different plant and herb species across the country, Greece’s flora is one of the most exquisite in the world due to the warm climate, rich soil, mountains and surrounding sea.

Experienced botany and agronomy professor Nickolaos Samaridis from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki gave an interview to ANAMPA news service recently, underlining the importance of Greek herbs and plants as well as how they’ve survived from the ancient times of Homer to today.

The names of herbs, their qualities and use have been passed on from generation to generation as a legacy that blended with mythology, traditions and home recipes or remedies.

Almost every place in Greece is known for some particular herbs that are “magical,” to those less familiar with the healing qualities of the plants and their fruits. “The country is like heaven on earth, especially in the islands of south and central Greece,” noted Samaridis adding that this is the result of the favorable weather and soil conditions.

The island of Crete hosts 33% of the Greek registered flora species, equal to the United Kingdom’s full registered herbs list. Samaridis explained that major geopolitical upheavals that occurred million of years ago contributed to transferring flora species from Asia and Africa to Greece.

Herbs in Greece could cover the nutritional needs of the country’s population up to 80% and strengthen their immune system in natural ways, while the remaining 20% can be covered by imported herbs from abroad.

Each season of the year has its own herbs. In winter time, as the human body needs to fight off the cold and humidity, dozens of herbs can protect the immune system from various infections. Aromatic herbs, such as mountain tea, Sideritis spp, tilia, sage and thyme, are some of the most common to find in Greek homes during winter.

The agronomist also invited young people to explore once again the Greek soils and search for an alternative way out of the economic crisis. Besides aromatic herbs that are ubiquitous in Greece and bring high prices when cultivated, young people could turn to the cultivation of wild bushes and wild plants in general. “We’ve got both the technology and knowledge to support such new cultivations,” underlined Samaridis.

When asked if modern Greeks know about herbs and their qualities, Samaridis answered that people living in Crete and other islands, Hepirus, Macedonia and Thrace have a deeper knowledge of the herbs and their possible uses.

Samaridis’ blog provides information on each herb and how it can be used to fully benefit from it, as well as on the most preferable herbs across the country. Visit dr-samaridisnick.blogspot.gr

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