The Mediterranean weather provides one of the best conditions for the growth of herbs, in Greece. These beneficial plants have been known for centuries and used 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 are found flourishing 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 to include in any diet.
Wild Malotira from Crete
A native of Crete, Wild Malotira (Sideritis Syriaca) is a very popular medicinal tea mostly known as Cretan Mountain Tea 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 is also known to be able to preserve the natural color of the hair, preventing whitening. A tea made out of this herb drank on regular basis, helps keep the digestive system working.
Marjoram (Origanum Majorana) is an annual perennial herb that has been cultivated 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, it pairs well with meat, salads, cheese, and bread.
Sideritis Scardica is commonly known as Olympus Tea, Greek Mountain Tea or Shepherd’s Tea. In Greek “Sideritis” can be literally translated as “he who is or has the iron”.
The plant was known to ancient Greeks. 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 is sometimes enhanced with cinnamon and honey.
Traditionally it is used to aid digestion, stimulate the circulatory system and help 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.
Dittany of Crete or Hop Marjoram (Dictamnus Origanum) 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 and it is widely used 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, Mountain Mint or Pennyroyal has been drunk in teas for centuries as it was considered a natural aphrodisiac.
In folk medicine, it is believed that it stimulates the nervous system and the heart, it is also useful against asthma, the respiratory system and to clean the lungs.
Pennyroyal tea is also used to treat colic, heartburn, dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome.
Summer Savory or Greek Throubi is a perennial plant of the Mediterranean usually used in cooking. Ancient Greeks also used to make flavored wine with this herb.
During the Middle Ages, this herb was used to heal sore throats, coughs, and toothaches.
In modern herbal medicine, throubi is mainly used for its healing properties of the digestive system. It also stimulates the appetite and helps in the treatment of diarrhea, bowel spasms, pain from colic, and nausea.
It can also be applied externally as an antiseptic on wounds and insect bites, offering immediate relief.
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 considered as a strong remedy against heavy sweating and drank hot it can detoxify the body.
Furthermore, yarrow is a natural remedy for lowering the blood pressure and improving blood circulation.
Yarrow is also believed to help against any kind of internal bleeding.
Cistus or Rock Rose (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.
Rock rose has been extensively used for its medical properties such as high anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrhea action. 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 is used to heal skin issues, new or old scars, and wounds.
Tsoukonida or Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica) was one of the most important medicinal plants used in Ancient Greece and Rome.
Nettle has numerous health benefits and it is used by modern medicine due to its content of vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, and B5) and minerals, such as calcium, iron, folic acid, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Nettle helps keep away menstrual cramps and improves kidney function. It has also been found to have anticonvulsant properties in cases of rheumatism or sciatica.
Red Oregano (Origanum Vulgare) is a perennial plant commonly called Pontian Tea, as it grows in the Kilkis prefecture (Northern Greece), which is mostly inhabited by Pontian Greeks.
Pontian Tea grows also in Montenegro. Its characteristic is that once dried it loses its entire aroma.
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, anti-spasmodic, helping in the function of the gallbladder.
It can be drunk for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation conditions.