Herbs and spices of Crete
This is an herbal tea that, as the name suggests, takes the bad up. It grows in dry places without vegetation. It helps with digestion and lutes against colds. It is also diuretic.
OREGANO or RIGANI
The name of this herb comes from greek word : "OROS" wich means mountains, and "GANOS" which means joy. It flowers in May, June and July. Its flowers are white, with a peppery smell. This plant is particularly appreciated by bees. It is also used as seasoning in the kitchen, for rotis, fish, meats, cheese and salads. Dry oregano gives more flavour to food that fresh one. Cretan people use both version, depending of the dish. Oregano is an antiseptic, soothes the toothache and stomach. It is widely used in perfumery. It is a great source of fibre, iron, calcium, vitamins A,C and K.
THYME or THYMARI
There are more than 100 varieties of thyme, many of which are decorative. Thyme is best picked in the morning. It can be put to dry in a dry place, away from the sun. In ancient Greece, the poor ate a stimulating mix of thyme, honey and vinegar, as well as the elderly, to tone their brains. It was also used to soothe headaches and as an antidote for snake bites. The Romans burned thyme in their homes to scare off the scorpions. Alexander the Great used thyme in decoction, to avoid lice. It was also believed that one could cure melancholy if one slept every evening on a pillow filled with thyme. Thyme gargles have excellent results against gingivitis, sore throat and coughing. The two essential oils contained in thyme: THYMOL and CARVACROL are anti-bacterial and antiseptic. The thyme tea improves the functioning of the intestine.
Thyme is used in Crete preferably on meat (chicken, veal, rabbit) cooked with wine and tomato. Its flowers are blue and it blooms in June and July. In Crete, there is also thyme with white flowers. (Asprothymos), very popular with bees. Its essence is used in toothpastes.
Savory is a bee plant. Its smell can be confused with that of thyme and oregano. It stimulates the appetite, and calms rheumatism.
SPEARMINT or DIOSMOS
Persephone walks on the banks of the river Acheron, and surprises Pluto her husband in the arm of a beautiful nymph named: Minthi. In anger, she turns the girl into a plant with purple flowers. Pluto, wanting to soften this punishment, gave the plant an unforgettable fragrance ... For the ancient Greeks, the mint awakens the spirit and refreshes the blood. The Romans perfumed the water of their bath with mint. it is above all TONIC, DIGESTIVE and ANTISPASMODIC. it stimulates the liver and gallbladder. Added with a pick of honey, mint tea fights abdominal pain and flatulence. It also relieves gastric ulcers. It helps to reduce motion sickness. Mint oil is one of the main components of toothpastes, sweets, chewing gums. There are eight official mint species. Fresh mint can be kept for 3/4 days in the refrigerator and dried, it can last several weeks, protected from the light. In Greek cuisine, it is widely used to make sauces, or fresh, finely chopped, in keftedes (meatballs), stuffed grape leaves, eggplant caviar, zucchini pies and cheese slippers. (graviera or myzithra).