Monday, 15 October 2007
Cretan aromatic herbs
It is called rosemary, its’ Latin name is Rosmarinus officiualis, and belongs to the family of Labiatae.
It is an evergreen plant, bushy, of dark green color, with dense, very thin, lance-shaped leaves and a very pleasant scent.It is self-sown, grows all over Crete and has been known in Greece since antiquity.
It is being used fresh or dry, in sauces made for seafood and fishes, and as a beverage.
It is being used in the pharmaceutical industry since it has healing properties (weakness, insomnia, indigestion, alopecia, hysteria, cellulite).It also favors apiculture.
It ia a self –sown bush, with lanceshaped, saw-like, leaves, which have an ashen-green color and strong scent.
It flowers in the end of spring and its’ flowers are whitish and cluster – shaped.
The word itself (sfakos + milea) is of ancient origin.
It is mainly used as a beverage, either alone or with malotira and dittany.
When cooking braised meat, red sauces or vegetable dishes, add only 1-2 leaves of sage because it has a very strong scent.
It mainly is a pharmaceutical herb and warming tisane.
By distilling it, you can make an essential oil useful in pharmaceutics and soap making.
The ancient Greeks named it ‘’artemidion’’, since it was Artemis gift to them, so as to cure the wounds that she sometimes carelessly made with her arrows. It is one of the most important healing herbs of antiquity – the plant named ‘’diktamnon’’ of the Dikti mountains since it was considered to be a cure for most illnesses.
The words diktamo or erontas, stamatohorto, livanohorto and many other synonyms are used to name this rare aromatic plant that only grows in Crete, usually in great highs and steep cliffs.
It is a perennial, self-sown moss and has 3 variations, according to the size of its’ leaves: narrow-leafed, broad-leafed and medium-leafed.
It is being used as a tisane, either alone or with sage and malotira.
Two or three leaves are enough for one cup, more of them would make the tisane slightly bitter.
It is a tonic and refreshing tisane, ideal for cold winter nights.
It has tonic, stimulating and healing properties.
Erontas is being used to make a stimulating drink.
Put 30 gr. Of this herb in 1 litre of white whine, soak it for 2 weeks, and drink 1 water glassof the mixture daily, for 1 week.
Avoid long-standing use.
Pregnant women should not use it since it has aborting properties.
Malotira or Malothira. A mossy, bushy and brushwood-like plant that grows in mountain areas.
You can drink it as a tisane, with some honey or combined with other herbs (sage, dittany).
Louisa or lemongrass, with the characteristic smell of lemon.
The plant comes from America but is completely acclimatized in Greece.
It is a bush but can also grow to be a small tree-depending on the pruning and it sheds it’s leaves in the winter.
The flowers grow in bunches, sometimes to the top of the plant.
The gathering of the leaves, sprouts, flowers is done in the summer.
All the parts of the plants are used in healing.
From the leaves – dried – a tisane is made (10-20 gr. For a liter of water), which is a tonic, a remedy for fever, soothes the bronchial tube and the nasal cavity, perspiring, diuretic, against diarrhea and bleeding.
Also, with poultice it is good in nerve pains and headaches, as well as pain in the ears.
The oil is used in industry in several ways (perfumery, confectionery, distillery etc.).
The honey produced in Crete is golden, almost amber, of very good quality and without foreign admixtures.
The bees feed on thyme, other fine Cretan aromatic herbs (found in the Cretan Madares, Omalos and else where), coniferous trees therefore the honey has a pleasant & quiet scent, a rich flavor and therapeutic qualities.
It is eaten row and is also used in pastry making and cooking.
It should be noted that it is ideal for our organism if we eat a spoonful of honey before anything else in the morning and then drink a glass of water.
This activates our metabolism and at the same time the honey is beneficial for the stomach and the nerves.