In Greece we love anything herbal! It is common for grandparents to advise the younger generations of a number of herbal remedies to heal headaches, stomach aches, sore throats and anything else. If there is something wrong with you, there is a herb that can help you! Below are a few herbs that we have on offer at Isle of Olive. We feel these are quite significant in Greek culture as they are the most commonly known and used.
Greek Mountain Tea (Sideritis or Ironwort plant) is said to have a positive effect on almost anything; colds, aches and pains! In particular it is used to treat respiratory problems, the immune system and mild anxiety. It helps with digestion and to reduce fever, and is used as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Sage helps relax the body, eases muscle pains and is really good to treat colds and sore throats. Sage is also used widely in cooking; it goes particularly well with poultry and pork dishes!
Camomile has a number of therapeutic properties. Due to its soothing properties, it is often used to help with sleep and stomach problems, including menstrual pain and cramps, as well as treat anxiety. It also helps with digestion, so it is great after a big meal! It can also be applied directly onto the skin to treat pain and inflammation.
Dictamo of Crete is a bush that only grows in Crete and is known to be very therapeutic. It is used to take orally as an infusion; it is thought to be invigorating and strengthening and to treat depression and exhaustion. It is also known to treat menstrual pain and cramps, as well as other stomach aches. It is also used applied directly on the skin to help heal wounds. It is advised not to be consumed during early stages of pregnancy, as it can cause discharge.
Louisa (Lemon Verbena), native to South America, was brought in Europe in the 17th century. It is a very aromatic herb with quite a lemony taste. It is good for losing weight, bringing temperature down. It is also good for digestion and is very soothing to those suffering from chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Fliskouni (Calamint) is a herb similar to mint. It is a bush with small pink or purple flowers, that grows all over the Greek mountains and it makes a very refreshing minty tea. It is known to be soothing for the stomach, as well as for sore throats and coughs. It can also be used similarly to mint in pork and poultry dishes.
Oregano is a herb used by Hippocrates as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. It can be consumed as an infusion to treat diarrhoea, menstrual pain and cramps, dysentery (infection of intestines) and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
Thyme is mainly used in cooking, but it can also be used as an infusion due to its therapeutic properties. In ancient Greece the elderly would drink thyme tea to invigorate their mental abilities, whereas Cretans would rub it on their gums to treat gingivitis. Today research has proved that gurgles with thyme infusion are recommended to treat gingivitis, sore throats and acute coughs. Thyme infusions are soothing, aid digestion, comfort the stomach and relieve anxiety, while they strengthen the immune system. Thyme baths are also recommended to those suffering from rheumatisms
St John’s Wort is one of nature’s most significant therapeutic flowers. The flowers are collected in the beginning of the summer, traditionally on St John’s Day, when they are blooming and they are placed in small jars filled with olive oil. These are then placed under the sun for 40 days and by the end of that period, the olive oil has acquired a deep reddish color. The oil is then used applied directly on the skin to treat wounds as it has acquired anti inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is also used to massage the joints and is good for rheumatisms. Modern medicine uses the extract to treat symptoms of depression.