As a continuation of our previous article and newsletter we gathered all the questions we referred into it and the solutions we found.
It 's obviously not "rocket science" but for us there were many moments which we were completely "stuck" wondering for an explanation and a solution.Hope You 'll find these interesting and educative.
Q: How could we be sure that the crumbled oregano was truly wild?
A: We can’t be sure 100% ever. If we mix some other oregano with the wild one, upon the oregano is crumbled like “powder” or in very tiny pieces, then it’s impossible to understand. To avoid such issues, we gather our wild oregano every year and we crumble it in small pieces that can show their authenticity.
Q: How we could be sure that it was not a mix of “cultivated and wild one”?
A: We never found out if that oregano was 100% truly wild one or mix. As we referred in the above answer, the only way is to be present upon the oregano is crumbling.
Q: Why did the seller ask a higher price for the oregano branches? When we all know and understand that we can get less than half of clear oregano and we will do the labor work?
A: This is the tricky part and actually the “silent” proof we needed to understand the fraud of the crumbled “wild oregano”. As the price of the branches was 50% more than the “crumbled wild one” it was totally clear that the seller had sold us a mix. Today after hundreds of hours crumbling not wild oregano but several other wild herbs, we can assure You that the average rate is almost 3/1
(we need in average 3 kilos of dried wild herb in branches to get 1 clear kilo)
If You do the math the price of branches must be maxed (in our opinion) at 4/10 of the crumbled product.
Q: How could we be sure that the crumbled oregano was clean from any similar eggs and insects? This is very important because we usually add the oregano over salads, fish, meat just before serving.
A: That oregano was gathered almost 10 months before we got it. The fact that the tiny spiders appeared from the inside parts of the branches caused an alarm but we couldn’t be sure back then (July 2012 – oregano was gathered Summer of 2011). After few years when we saw the same spiders in the plants at that mountainside we connected the dots and realized the profound. See our next answer.
Q: Why has no one ever mentioned this before? Or we hadn't heard about? When we had been told that the “wild oregano” was just simply dried and crumbled?
A: It might seem incredible to You but – at least from our side – we hadn’t ever heard about “washing / cleaning the wild oregano from anyone. Perhaps we were naïve and we could never think that there will be such an issue. Therefore, we always follow the simple rule: “wash carefully every part of the plant”.
Tip: You can notice it if You find too much “dust” in Your crumbled parcel.
It’s probably some remaining soil in the plant which has been mixed with the oregano. Also, with today’s "modern" ways and methods, most people are putting the branches into blenders till making a final product, like powder which they call “wild oregano”.
In other words: This “wild oregano” is nothing but whole branches (maybe not cleaned too) trimmed into powder.
So, if we want to speak only the real truth, our only way - so far - to prove to You that our wild oregano is authentic is:
We crumble the oregano by hands in such pieces ( and not like powder), which can prove with naked eye their origin. If you put a branch or wild oregano beside, then you can understand it immediately.
We give You our word that we only concern for wild herbs and we work with a passion for presenting You their best.
Our future next step is to proceed with special labor tests for our herbs.We expect that they will officially prove the obvious thing. That Your instinct, trust, and senses are guiding You to choose the Authentic wild herbs from the Mythical land of Sparta.
This post which comes also in a form of a newsletter continues the presentation of our mythical land while at the same time expands our wish to share our personal experience.
We describe our findings, through the questions that arise and solutions that we discover during our searches and travel over the last 5 years.
On our road to the Plateau, the first wild oregano plants started to appear
“The mountain realm of the bees!”
…The Wild Oregano was blossoming around us with it’s green and white flowers appearing like “the gems on the crown”.
And every plant was really impressive. Standing at 20+ inches (50+ cm) tall, they were also the biggest and most impressive of every oregano plant we ‘ve seen till then!
Bees everywhere. On every oregano flower, inside every branch of the plant. Thousands. Working endlessly, committed totally to their work. Besides them, also many different insects were trying to get their share from the plant. All in harmony. We still remember the “music” of their wings breaking the silence.
For the first seconds, we ‘re really dazed and confused about the next steps.
How could we proceed and start gathering the plants amongst so many bees and their friends?
With trembling hands, we approached the mid of a plant and then an incredible thing happened.
All the insects started gently moving to other branches and parts of the plant leaving us the space to proceed. Only a few minutes after, we found ourselves working in silence with our new friends buzzing close to our hands. We were touching them sometimes with the edge of our fingers, trying to show our grateful for letting us work with them.
The “sharing” of the plants worked like a charm. We were cutting some branches while we were leaving to our friends enough ones to harvest.
Incredible view from 5800 feet . You can see Sparta and the valley of Eurotas river.
“Troubles in heaven”
Totally exposed to the hot sun we were taking short brakes every few minutes to drink water and enjoy the surrounding view. Thank’s to Jim’s advice we had carried enough bottles.
Hats and glasses couldn’t provide enough protection at that moment.
After filling a couple of linen bags we had to stop. Though it was like time had stopped in this plateau the truth was that three hours had passed.
Under the shadow of two huge fir trees, the humble snacks (bread and cheese) were the most luxurious and tasty lunch ever!
And then we started to wonder how these plants are growing so much and blossoming under the hot summer sun.
We noticed lots of animal tracks. Also with the closest look at the base of some plants they were residue feces which served as a natural fertilizer for the area!
We remembered Jim’s words: “Lot of wild goats and lost sheep are wondering at the high mountainsides looking for food from April to October”.
At the same time, that specific spot of the mountain is holding more water than the usual, allowing significant growth for the plants.
Working together with one of our new friends
“We have company”
For the next hour, our curiosity “won” and we decided to stop gathering and observe the plants further.
Then we noticed them: Tiny white spiders were the residents on many leaves, sharing their “home” with some green beetles!
And who knows how many others - perhaps too small for the human eyes - were present too.
Our linen bags with fresh wild oregano
“Buying wild oregano locally”
Some years ago, without today’s knowledge and experience we had asked from a professional - who ‘s still considered amongst “specialists” - to provide us some wild oregano. As he showed up a few days later holding a bag with crumbled oregano we asked him to supply us too with some wild oregano in branches. It was something unusual because these people prefer to sell their oregano always crumbled in small plastic bags of little more than ½ oz (15 - 20gr).
By instinct, we felt that something was probably wrong with this.
After a short dialogue and negotiations, he agreed to come back next day with a box of wild oregano branches. And strangely he asked a 50% more money than the crumbled oregano!
Simple questions arose:
a) How could we be sure that the crumbled oregano was truly wild?
b) How we could be sure that it was not a mix of “cultivated and wild one”?
c) Why did the seller ask a higher price for the oregano branches? When we all know and understand that we can get less than half of clear oregano and we will do the labor work?
Two months later we got the first answers.
During a very hot July late evening when we decided to crumble the oregano branches by ourselves. Kids were at the village with the grandparents and it was the ideal time for this.
Now close Your eyes and imagine our living room with all the furniture moved aside, a couple of large linen sheets on the ground and some old traditional sieves from the village with wooden boxes filling the scene.
No chairs for us, just two big pillows to sit and at our left the cartoon box with the oregano branches ready for the procedure!
It was really harder than we thought. When we opened the cartoon we were sure(!) that it ‘ll be a piece of cake.
"Maybe a matter of 1 or two hours labor work" we both agreed!
The cartoon with the wild oregano branches which we bought back in May of 2012
After 8+ hours of crumbling, we had changed our mind.
Our hands with lots of burning scratches from the wooden oregano sticks, and the oil that emerged through the process.
Those “few branches in the box” seemed endless.
“The first discovery”
As we were picking the branches from the cartoon, we noticed them for the first time.
Very small white spiders were appearing, frightened and annoyed by destroying their homes.
An the begining, we considered this as a normal fact, but soon we started wondering how they survived for months in the closed cartoon (and bags before).
Later we understood that they had hatched from the stored eggs under the oregano leaves upon gathering many months before!
And then new questions came up:
a) How could we be sure that the crumbled oregano was clean from any similar eggs and insects? This is very important because we usually add the oregano over salads, fish, meat just before serving.
b) Why has no one ever mentioned this before? When we ‘ve been told that the usual process of dried “wild oregano” is : “gather, dry, crumble”?
Washing the wild oregano in our mountain spring back at the village home
“It was more than obvious now”
Back on the mountain, we remembered that day.
We understood that gathering the wild oregano was just “half of the work”.
As we were already 4 hours at the plateau it was getting really too hot to stand it further. Despite the liters of water we had drunk we were dehydrated and risking of staying more under the sun would be dangerous for our skin.
Returning back to the car was a little more difficult than expected.
It took us double time due to carrying the equipment plus the linen bags with the wild oregano and our stamina almost depleted.
“Sweating too much”
While driving back, we had a new issue. The wild oregano – due to the extremely heat – has started to “sweat”. It was a matter of few hours before getting “brown” and finally altered.
Making a stop to the nearest mountain spring was both necessary and salutary for the oregano.
Thankfully our small car had enough space to spread the oregano at the back seats in a way that it will “breathe properly”.
We had gained few valuable hours and were heading to the village house.
Green Beetles on a milk thistle
"Working at home"
Late that evening, after a strong cold coffee we started washing again carefully the branches.
It was almost midnight when we placed them in the dark warehouse for the drying process.
Two weeks later, it was time for the crumbling procedure. The branches had dried perfectly and all the family members were ready to assist us. Under a shady place, we started with a big smile on our faces. It was the moment of truth.
The final result was interesting and rewarding:
- We had gathered 20 kilos (44 lb) of fresh oregano.
- The driving/gathering/washing/crumbling process took 60 hours in total.
- We got 2 kilos (4,4 lb) of fresh dried, wild oregano.
But even then, the work hadn’t finished.
Putting the oregano in new linen bags and transfer them to a close dry place was necessary. You see, we didn’t wanted to loose again from winter’s moisture all our dried herbs like we had 1 year ago.
But that’s another story for the future.
Trisevgeni is crumbling wild oregano under the arbor, in a hot August morning
"The road ahead"
Looking back to our 5 year quest so far, we know that we ‘ve scratched only the surface of the “wild mountain herbs issue”.
There are lots to discover, see, watch and learn and we are determined to intensify our efforts this summer.
As for the questions we had, we ended up with some simple answers and solutions.They are not perfect or even not easy to prove but upon our future searching and wondering we feel that will find further facts, raise new questions think new ideas which lead to additional solutions.
Jehny at the balcony of the village house, while crumbling wild herbs and making the olive paste during shooting a film about "The Spartan Table", last August.
The basic questions remain!
Why we search and seek the wild herbs? For what reason?
Where are they located and what we do with them?
How we gather and what we do to protect them?
How can we prove that they are truly wild and authentic?
Lots of small details and info, from our personal perspective, – though may have not a particular interest for many people - synthesizes an incredible mosaic of life.
This will be a continuous adventure with new chapters and opportunities to discover more about our lives, ourselves, and this Mythical land.
But till our next meeting through another blog post and newsletter, we humbly suggest to continue your reading here and discover the answers and conclusions we ended up.
A beautiful cutting board from 200+ year old olive tree with some of our humble treasures.
This is a fascinating story which we hope to tell You soon.
For the pains of rheumatism and aerophagy.
Known as: Apollo’s Daphne, Vagia, Laura gentle.
Official: Laurus nobilis.
The ancient Greeks and Romans had dedicated the laurel to Apollo and Asclepius (god of medicine).
From its branches, they used to make wreaths honor heroes and race winners.
Therefore, because the laurel was so closely connected with glory, success and protection from evil, they believed that something bad would come/happen if a bush was getting dried!
Later, people were using the laurel for rubbing the skin of animals to combat lice and parasites. Also to stimulate and darken the color of head hair and eyelashes of men and women (Used to boil together laurel and walnut leaves and washing their heads).
Even today, the leaf porridge is still used in many villages with flour of chickpeas in “seven-dough” bread.
Today the extract and the essential oil of bay leaves are used as a natural fragrance vermouth, ice cream, sweets, bakery products, canned meat, soups, pasta, candy and chewing gum.
Tip: You can put a bay leaf in Your coffee to add flavor. (The Bedouins have their coffee in such way).
Finally, several villagers tend to put bay leaves in baskets that keep raisins and figs to add flavor and not avoid getting any worms.
Useful parts: The leaves and fruits (without the pit).
Where to find: the easiest thing we can do is to have a large pot with bay leaves on our balcony, terrace or garden as it is also a beautiful decorative plant.
The laurel has no preference in specific types of soil or climate but needs frequent watering. The leaves have a strong aroma and can be dry for future use in a dark place (not to lose their color). The dried leaves have a stronger flavor than fresh and can be purchased at various stores and pharmacies. Just remember that the seeds of laurel are toxic.
Active substances: According to various chemical analyzes, the fruit is containing essential oil, wax, resin, cineol, geraniol, lauric acid. The leaves contain a volatile oil, which comprises tannin and other substances.
Properties - Indications:
The essential oil of laurel fights aerophagy (gas concentration in the stomach, abdomen, and intestine).
Also relieves rheumatism and arthritic pains. The decoction of bay leaves is used as a solvent of the body salts that accumulate in the joints.
Generally, the laurel has multiple utilities for anyone who has gastritis or other problems with his stomach. It is antispasmodic, fight atonic indigestion and stimulates the functions of digestion.
Considered effective antiseptic.
Considered as having diuretic and abilities.
Fact : during the 19th century, doctors used it in pharyngitis and sinusitis (with external use patches).
The leaves are considered astringent, antidiarrheal, bile and liver, sweat and emmenagogue.
Strengthen and darken hair, and stop hair loss.
The powder of dried leaves stops nose bleed (topical use).
An ointment containing laurel oil and glycerin is used in liniments for sprains and contusions.
Finally, the leaf decoction is effective against amoebae.
How to use
As a decoction: Boil 2-3 leaves in a cup of water and strain after 10 minutes .We can drink up to 2-3 cups a day between meals. Particularly a cup after dinner helps digestion and sleep.
As infusate: Soak 2-3 bay leaves in a liter of boiling water for 8-10 minutes.
For external use: We can boil for 3 minutes 5 leaves for each cup of water and make gargles and washes our mouth in a sore throat or mouth infections.
We can use 10 leaves in a cup of water and put it in warm compresses to the forehead and the parts that hurt from sinusitis. The French physician Valne recommends the compress stay overnight.
For hair that has begun to whiten and fall, boil 150 gr fresh bay leaves or 80 gr dried in 6 liters of water and when cool bathes our head every night for two weeks.
To prevent the whitening of hair, also, can not use the fruits of laurel. Boil 150-300 seeds, peel them and beat them in a wooden mortar with similar extra virgin olive oil. Then hit to be an ointment, which is used by spreading the hair at night before sleep.
A practical recipe using many women in Crete add to unripened olive oil, then beaten seeds in a transparent jar and then leave it in the sun for 40 days. Then, when they want to use, using a linen cloth, strain them the desired quantity and put the roots of the hair by rubbing. This is the only use of pits without side effects.
Precautions: If used alone bay leaves oil in spreads, they can cause burns to the skin. If you drink even two drops are likely to shock nausea, vomiting, colic or burns to the gastric mucosa.
In large doses, the leaves of laurel cause vomiting.
And a last but very important fact: Always remember that the fruits of laurel can cause interruption of pregnancy!
Thyme - Everything You need to know about
For hair loss and mind clarity.
Also Known : Thymus common, Rouchothymo, Gaidourothymos
Official name: Thymus Vulgaris
References from History.
There are more than 100 species of thyme, which are the "children" of the Wild Thyme.
Roman soldiers used to get often their bath in water perfumed with thyme to give them vigor and energy.
In the Middle Ages, the ladies embroidered for the same reason thyme twigs and gave to the wandering knights.
During the 16th century, there was a widespread soup recipe with thyme and beer, which referred that boosts confidence!
Ιn pharmaceutical is known as the plant with the most therapeutic properties. Successive experiments since 1887 have demonstrated the bactericidal properties of thyme to germs and bacilli. First the Chamberland showed in 1997 the bactericidal property of essential oil of thyme (especially against Bacillus anthracis).
The Candeac and Meunier studied thyme in 1889 against the bacilli of typhus and strangles and the proliferation of microbes in a broth of boiled meat.
The Morel and Rochaix in 1921-1922 in meningococcus, the bacillus of Eberth, in Corynebacterium diphtheriae and staphylococcus.
The Courmont, Morel and Bay in bacterium tuberculosis.
The Miquel in 1894 demonstrated the bactericidal power of thyme vapor.
Nowadays, it has been demonstrated that the essential oil of thyme is 25 times more antiseptic than phenol, the oxygenated water (hydrogen peroxide) and potassium permanganate. The surgeries used solutions with thyme soap for disinfecting hands.
It is equally important that a bunch of fresh thyme in the room of a patient perfumes the air and causes euphoria.
Thyme is an excellent food of bees.
It is also used in the preparation of meat products, beverages, and seasonings.
Useful parts: the flowering tops mainly.
We can find it: In dry and arid areas dominated by only shrubs and herbs, blooming from May to late August (depending on the altitude and the region).
Although you can find plenty of cultivated thyme, its really worth trying the wild one. You will feel at once a big difference (starting with the wonderful smell).
Active ingredients: Bitter substances, Tannin antibiotics and essential oil (containing phenols thymol and carvacrol), Terpinene, cymene, cumin, Borneol, linalool.
Properties - Indications:
General stimulant. Valuable for both physical and spiritual decadence (weakness), anxiety, neurasthenia, depression and migraine.
Thymol contained in a large amount particularly in the wild thyme helps digestion of fatty foods.
It is believed to increase mental clarity -reported by Valnet- and stimulates the nerves.
Appetizing and so it is necessary for the hypotensive and for anemic children.
It is emmenagogue if the delay is symptomatic.
Antiseptic intestinal, genital and urinary system and lung (intestinal infection, leukorrhea, pulmonary infections, bronchitis, tuberculosis).
Sets leukocytosis' the infectious diseases.
It diaphoretic and regulates secretions in influenza cases, fever, colds. Precious problems throat and bronchi. Preventive antibiotic influenza epidemics.
Removes parasites of the intestine (aciduria, roundworms, tapeworms, etc.)
It is light hypnotic.
Prevents fermentation and concentration of gasses in the stomach and intestine.
Valuable antispasmodic cough whooping cough and asthma.
It is a diuretic.
It helps a lot in cases of circulatory disorder and strengthens the heart.
So far, if you have been impressed with the long list above with the therapeutic properties of thyme, keep in mind that described only what thyme can do when we eat or drink it.
Let's see below the external use of thyme (with ointments, solutions, compresses, and baths)
Stops hair loss.
Antiseptic and bactericide in dermatosis and leucorrhea, and heals wounds, boils and burns.
Treats scabies and ringworm.
Fights the aching joints in arthritic neck rheumatism.
Cleanses the mouth and teeth better than toothpaste (because of thymol, which is already used - in a small percentage - at mouthwashes and toothpaste).
In Crete tend to rub their gums with thyme because they consider that fights gingivitis (Evangelia K. Fragaki).
Finally, a bathroom with thyme banishes fatigue.
How we use it:
For the decoction of thyme, a sprig boils for each cup of water. Once it starts boiling remove from the heat and wait for 10 minutes to cool down. Then strain and drink plain (relatively bitter) or with a little honey. As three cups daily. If the boil with other herbs, is more tasty.
In stomatitis and sore tonsils do gargle with a plain beverage.
If we use essential thyme oil, should add 3 -5 drops at a time in a little honey, 3 times a day. For pertussis most effective way is the combination of essential oil of thyme and eucalyptus.
For colds and sore throats is more effective to chew thyme. The bitter taste is preferable than a sore throat and runny nose.
To make infusion thyme, soak two teaspoons in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes.
We can use it for external use as a compress for rheumatism or muscle pains and against Pertussis with spreads to the chest.
A few drops of essential oil of thyme in a small bottle with extra virgin olive oil is the best for compresses on wounds and insect bites.
Also, as a compress is good for bruises and toothache.
To stop hair loss, we can boil a handful of thyme in a liter of water until it will be left half of it and then brush the head.
For even better results, You must bathe the head once before, then make a massage with the dense liquid thyme and leave for 3-5 minutes. Then You can bathe the head once again.
For the pains of rheumatism chop thyme, heat with little water in a small pot put it in a gauze and touching as a compress on the painful part.
For arthritis, rheumatism, colds, and flu, you can use the following recipe: Boil a pound thyme in 4 liters of water. Then add the water in the water bath.
Also, You can put a small bunch under your pillow to help you sleep.
Precautions: Although the healing properties of thyme are so important and interesting, it is mandatory to always remember this: The Daily internal use, may lead to overactivity of the thyroid gland and poisoning, with vomiting symptoms, diarrhea, dizziness and cardiac depression.
Moreover: For the Wild Thyme, there is a rumor that can make an alcoholic to quit drinking, causing vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, thirst and finally disgust for alcohol. Of course, this "treatment" needs to be continued for a period of time. This recipe is as follows: Place a handful of thyme with 3 cups water. Leave for half an hour. One tablespoon every 15 minutes is sufficient.
Finally, a simple recipe for male cologne: Put 10 grams of flowers of thyme in a bottle with 250 grams of white spirit. Close with good cork and leave 20 days in the summer sun. Strain it after.
In the kitchen, of course, we find the most famous and widespread use of thyme.
To make a terrific marinade: Soak in half a liter of white wine a bunch of wild thyme, a bunch of wild savory, 3-4 garlic, 2 bay leaves, some cloves, and few rosemary. Serve together with extra virgin olive oil and lemon.
Although thyme plants have been used for centuries as both a culinary and medicinal herb, as with any treatment or medication, thyme is a potent herb and should be used judiciously in consultation with your health care provider. It can interact with other medicines and when used as a medicine should be used only after consulting your pharmacist.
Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint.
Additional names and types: Pennyroyal, Minthi, Varsamos, Menthol.
But the more useful is peppermint the medication, namely peppermint.
All the varieties of Mint considering as the most natural aphrodisiacs.
In all botany books, you will find mint to reference the additional names, ie mint, pennyroyal, etc.
The same will also see the description of the menthol.
Here we will describe the types of mint like a plant, citing specifically the characteristics of 'mint peppery. "
Origin – History:
The mint plants came to Europe from the East. The Arabs for centuries drink tea spearmint or peppermint as a stimulant of sexual capacity.
The Mint was a great herb for the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
Dioscorides, Pliny, and Hippocrates is often mentioned as a plant with great medicinal value with a wonderful aroma.
Ancient Greeks rubbed their eyes with mint before sitting at the table. Also, they added it in their bath.
From the sixth century in France and England were cleaning the teeth with creams flavored with mint.
At 1696 botanists in Britain recommended mint for diarrhea.
In cooking, mint is used a lot in meals all Mediterranean countries, aromatizing sauces, meatballs, vinegar and wines.
The menthol contained in the mint serves improver of smell and taste of many drugs.
Useful parts: The leaves and flowering tops.
Active substances: The Peppermint oil containing menthol, mentoni, jasmonate, tannin, alcohols, aldehydes and bitter substances. Each type and catnip or peppermint is containing different amounts of each substance.
For example, water mint contains no menthol while Japanese peppermint has 92% menthol.
Properties - Indications: The fresh leaves relieves the pain of rheumatism if rubbed at the pained joints and relieve a headache if they rubbed on the forehead.
The essential oil is used for gargling in gingivitis, tonsillitis, inflammations of the nasopharynx.
Smoked tops become poultice to mastitis (swelling of milk) and erysipelas.
They have antiseptic, astringent and narcotic power and stimulate attenuated organisms.
The "tea" either as decoction or infusion is recommended in cases of diarrhea and indigestion as anticonvulsant after vomiting or to soothe inflammation of the intestinal system.
It also helps in insomnia, cramps, nervous hawk and hiccup relieving the stretched nerves.
Finally, in large quantities it is a natural aphrodisiac.
Be careful, though: if you eat the leaves fade erotic impulses and soothe the pain of teeth. They cause diuresis and so helps in cases of colic.
The infusion of peppermint can be used as a lotion in problem skin.
How to use: The spearmint and peppermint are used:
As infusate: Soak a teaspoon leaves in a cup of water at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes.
Then start to drink every few minutes from a spoonful.
As a decoction: Boil 10 grams of leaves in a liter of water. Drink 3 cups a day.
As essential oil: With strong dilution gargles.
If you suffer from biliary you can after each meal to eat 2-3 raw mint leaves or to drink a small cup of mint infusion.
The English herbalist Gerard said the mint pounded with salt can be placed in a dog bite or sting wasp and bee.
In our country and specially in Crete, tie pads with crushed mint with green lemon peel for a headache.
Additional applications: In the old days they rubbed their teeth with mint leaves to turn white and scattered leaves (fresh or dried) around food stored at home to remove mice.
Although mint plants have been used for centuries as both a culinary and medicinal herb, as
with any treatment or medication, mint is a potent herb and should be used judiciously in consultation with your health care provider. It can interact with other medicines and when used as a medicine should be used only after consulting your pharmacist.
Wild oregano, Rio, origan
Official name : Origanum Vulgare.
For dental pain and rheumatism.
The Greeks knew over thousands of years about the therapeutic value of oregano and used it internally by drinking the decoction of, for convulsions, poisoning, colic.
Externally used it to relief swellings that ached.
When hunters have killed a hare, always put on its belly a few sprigs of oregano in order not to smell until they 'll be back home.
During the years botanists and doctors discovered that Oregano has many interesting and very useful properties so in nowdays we know that it's an amazing herb!
The Useful parts of oregano: Whole plant while it's blooming.
We find it mainly in the wild landscapes and the appropriate time to the pick is from late May to September (depending always the altitude which it grows)
Then we just let it dry in a dark and dry place and store in glass jars.
Because Oregano has many uses, if You love this plant You 'll use it many times during the year.
You can find cultivated oregano in many stores.
But if you try - just once - wild oregano (as well as thyme and savory) then You 'll never return to the cultivated one!
Oregano 's substances: essential oil, thymol, carvacrol, Tannin, resin.
Properties and indications: tonic, appetizer, stimulant.
Sedative and antispasmodic in the pains of muscles and lung diseases.
Valuable for many problems of the stomach, particularly gastric atony.
Also stops diarrhea if you drink 1-2 cups of coffee of oregano decoction without honey.
The decoction of oregano combined with anise seeds (boiling a half teaspoon of each kind and adding half cup teaspoon honey) is the most effective drug when we aerophagy, bloating, and gasses in the stomach.
Analgesic in acute or chronic rheumatism, pains in muscles and joints (then we need to drink three cups with infusions a day and put warm poultices) and toothache (gargling or chewing a small sprig).
Expectorant (fluidizes sputum) and especially useful in chronic bronchitis and pertussis.
Antiseptic of the airways in asthma and tuberculosis of the lungs.
Astringent in intestinal disorders and abdominal pains.
Emmenagogue, in cases of amenorrhea (without being abortifacient).
How to use
As a decoction: Boil a teaspoon in a pot of water. Drink a cup at each meal or after.
Especially for gasses difficult to go, you should boil half teaspoon oregano and half teaspoon anise and start to drink when becoming lukewarm adding half a teaspoon of honey (it will help if immediately after circular caress our belly, in the opposite direction This clockwise).
Essential oil: Pour 2 -3 drops in a spoonful of honey, 2 -3 times a day.
For your bathroom is soothing and stimulant in whatever way you use it. You can or add twigs in the warm bath water, or boil a handful (30 grams - 1oz) oregano in a liter of water and add it in the warm bath water.
For pain in muscles and joints, you can put local hot poultices boiled oregano, which cover with warm bran.
An ideal lotion pains of rheumatism and general joint is as follows: 5ml of oregano essential oil and 95 ml of alcohol from rosemary. You can ask to prepare it in a homeopathic pharmacy (prescription by French Physician Valnet).
And don't forget:
Oregano is one of the most popular herbs in the Greek and Cypriot cuisine. Fresh or dried stems of oregano give the Mediterranean delicacies a wonderful flavor as they are one basic ingredients of Italian and French mixtures of herbs.
Oregano is very popular plant for its culinary properties, fits in most meats and fish, giving them a unique taste. It is among the best herbs for the kitchen as well as the core of any botanical collection.
Although oregano has been used for centuries as both a culinary and medicinal herb,as
with any treatment or medication, oregano is a potent herb and should be used judiciously in consultation with your health care provider. It can interact with other medicines and when used as a medicine should be used only after consulting your pharmacist.
Rosemary - Everything You need to know about
Also, know as Rosmarinic the pharmaceutical, Diosmarini,
One of the best-known herbs which carry many healing abilities.
Historically there' s a report of a famous elixir of youth made by distilling rosemary, cedar, and turpentine.
An old story Says that this elixir once transformed a paralyzed and with arthritic problems princess of 70 years old, into an attractive young girl who asked in marriage by the king of Poland in 1370.
That Elixir was called as the "water of the Queen of Hungary."
Centuries ago, People believed that Rosemary could grow only in the courtyard of the righteous people (according to the treasury of Botany) and because it has the ability to strengthen memory, has become a symbol of loyalty, friendship and remembrance.
In Cooking, Rosemary got used mostly with lamb, fish and as a flavoring of food including wine and garlic.
Vegetarians use it to give flavor to stuffed vegetables, baked with nuts, tomato sauce or stewed beans.
Rosemary contains phytochemicals called quinolones, which - as has been shown in laboratory studies - suppress carcinogens & carcinogenic (can also disable it and prevent the onset and spread of cancer).
Also, few know that students in Ancient Greece wore garlands of rosemary in the head when they study for exams, for the reason that it increases blood circulation to where you place it because it has stimulating abilities.
Rosemary is an ancient folk medicine for the improvement of memory and is used by herbalists to treat dizziness due to disorders of the inner ear.
The parts used are the leaves and flowering tops.
Active ingredients: Essential oil with cineol, Borneol, esters, pinene, camphene, Camphor, Tannin, bitter elements, Saponin.
Properties - Indications: It is an excellent tonic and stimulant (like mint, thyme, sage, the balm) and valuable in cases of physical and mental fatigue, accompanied by amnesia and hypotension.
It is cordial, hypertensive and slider casing at the cortex of adrenal gland.Has an effect on bile secretion and, therefore, is useful bile in cases of hepatitis, jaundice cholecystitis, gallstones etc.
It has expectorant properties (facilitates coughing) and antiseptic properties for the lungs and is used in chronic bronchitis, influenza, whooping cough and asthma.
It antidiarrheal a significant effect on intestinal disorders, in colitis, diarrhea, and a concentration of gas in the abdomen and the intestine (eliminates flatulence).
The infusion of the leaves is digestive, antispasmodic and stimulates vision.
Also upstream, antineuralgic, antiarthritic and powerful emmenagogue.
It is beneficial in disorders of the nervous system, in hysteria, migraines, dizziness and epilepsy, and tones the nervous system.
How we use it:
As infusion: Soak a teaspoon of leaves or flowers in a cup of warm water. We use a strainer for water and drinking after 10 minutes. A cup a day works as a digestif or antidiabetic or anticonvulsant or anti-hysterical or sedatives or anti blown (gaseous expulsion).
As a decoction: A sprig with 3 flowers boiling water a cup, hot drink before bedtime.
Individuals who have or amoebas Mellitus should drink twice as much in the morning on an empty stomach.
Women suffering from nervous headaches will be relieved if bathed with the beverage.
Essential oil (having a 50 drops of base per gram): Pour 3-4 drops in a spoonful of honey, two to three times daily.
For external use: For a foreign fatigue and weakness Boil one handful in a liter of water for 10 minutes and do compresses or bath. Also in bruises, rheumatism, muscle aches, sprains and eczema or for washing wounds.
Oral thrush eliminated by gargling decoction.
If boil in 2 liters of water two handfuls of rosemary and add to warm bath water, helps in rheumatism pain or impaired vision.
Often such bathrooms strengthen a weak child.
Precautions: If you frequently drink herbal teas or infusions of rosemary, it can be dangerous for our health.
Remember that every exaggeration is dangerous.
Ways of Use the Wild herbs:
Decoction: We take the therapeutic part of the plant and boil with water. Usually, boil hard plant parts (roots, bark, stems, seeds).If is chopped need to boil only five minutes.The hard roots or peels should boil 15-20 minutes to give us all their beneficial properties.Generally, for the herbs that you will not have special instructions, the time boil depends on the strength of plant tissues to heat.Usually, boil 3 tablespoons to 2 cups water.Then pass from the strainer and should be drunk within 12 hours, because after deteriorates and loses its therapeutic power.
Inject: It is the best method to obtain the pharmaceutical properties of the sensitive parts of the plants, flowers, and their leaves.Once it starts water to boil, remove from heat and pour in the therapeutic part of the herb.Leave it there from 10-20 minutes and then strain and use.Alternatively, we can take boiling water over the herbs in a teapot that closes well and after 10-20 minutes filter and drink (not maintained).The conventional proportions (where there are no specific instructions for a herb) is from 1 to 3 teaspoons in a cup of water.
Tincture: Alcohol is the element which use as the solvent.Alcohol dissolves the components without heating or boiling.The tincture is maintained at glass tightly closed container away from heat light and air.To make the tincture, take the therapeutic part of the herb and put it in a bottle with alcohol in a ratio generally 5 parts of white spirit 70 points for each plant part (which we will grind to a small mixer).Let soak 5 to 15 days, and often shake the container.Filter the tincture with a filter paper or blotting paper or with the filter for a French / American coffee and put into another bottle, where we can keep it for some time.Tinctures should be used only in certain cases or for external use only.
Gargling: For irritations in the mouth, the tonsils, pharynx, and larynx made with infusion or decoction, but should not be too hot to have the desired results.
Extract: occurs when to evaporate a solution of the components, ie after putting medicinal plants to soak in water or alcohol, concentrated by evaporation and keep in a glass bottle.When we want to use them pour a teaspoon in a cup of water.
Compress: To make a compress take a diluted piece of cloth or cotton and dip in the infusion, decoction, tincture, lotion etc and touching the part that we want from 5-15 minutes depending on the properties of the plant and the severity of the health problem .
Lotion: Becomes as infusion or decoction is used externally to the part needing treatment with gentle massage movements so that the skin can absorb it.We even with lotions do liniments for the treatment of dermatoses and the scalp of the head (for example, hair loss or dandruff)
Bathrooms: Bathroom with herbs is usually very effective means of treatment because it allows the therapeutic properties of herbs and plants to have direct contact with the sore part.But if something prevents us to go and stay whole for some time in the bathroom, then we can only immerse the hands or feet in water with the same beneficial effects on our body.A practical way to prepare a bath for the feet and hands are: Boil 2 liters of water.Then, remove the water from the fire, put the herbs and wait 4-5 hours.When you want to make the hand or foot bath, boil an additional 2 liters of water, which add to the previous infusion.You can keep it in your refrigerator for a week and heat it daily, but without extra boil.
The best stuff is porcelain.Use plastic only if you don't have something else.
The best time for the bath feet is the morning on an empty stomach and the duration of 5-10 minutes.
The best temperature is what you can tolerate.
For the bath of hands the best time is in the evening before meals.
For the whole body, may prefer the more hot water you can tolerate.Add the infusion into a full bathtub.
The English method recommends that you put the herbs in a small bag of white linen cloth and the tie under the tap of the bathtub, so when you open the hot water to fill the tub, the water passes through it.
As You know, the Wild herbs have not only applications in cooking.
For thousands of years, people knew and continuously used these for medical and pharmaceutical purposes.
Apart from Chinese and more generally Asian medicine, the ancient Greeks, the Romans but also the subsequent civilizations through the centuries till the present day, had recognized and used the wild herbs in thousands of treatments.
Therefore, we will try - through the books we have - to gather the most of the basic information and details on the use and application of the wild herbs from our mythical land.
Please excuse any spelling and translation errors.
If you know more information and details about the wild herbs and if You 'll like to share, please contact us!
We 'll love to incorporate these in the existing ones and share further.
It’s been around 3 years since my wife Jehny and I left the corporate world after many years and decided to return back to our roots.
The transition wasn’t easy.. We could say sometimes it was really hard to seek and find. Especially in the first weeks!
But soon, we find out why… it was they way we were “seeing” the world so far. How we were living through the daily issues and routine, how we were handling our time and ourselves with the People, Facts and things in life.In other words how we were living.
Leaving behind a “secure way of life” , even in the middle of Greek Financial crisis — which is still here after 7 years and keep going — wasn’t the “wise choice” for many people.But it was the only way to gain back our life.
We started visiting our Father’s houses on the villages , up on the mountains and we visited our olive groves after many years.This is where our senses started to awake.This is where we felt that we are alive again.But the real “epiphany” or the real world came upon our first visit on the mountain tops.Where Mother Nature is still untouched by any human interference or greed.And that was it…. We were ready to start all over again.Older but a little wiser.Because finally we understood that we knew nothing.That we had to let our senses and heart guide us.
We created a small place in our house and a big place in our heart and mind to include back everything that we loved since we were kids.When the innocence and purity were still filling our souls.
We tried to implement this to our new way of life. As our Ancient Ancestors were teaching : “Live Simple”
Our Mythical land is still full of humble treasures.They are not deep in the earth.Actually they grow and blossom on the surface , giving us their precious fruits and more, every year. They keep reminding us that “All we need are simply here, waiting to be sharing among the People”
There ‘s an old saying : “ You must do two things in Your life:
a) Travel as much as You can
b) Read as much — and not only- books as You can
We ‘ve used to travel over the past years. But since things got worst in our country we can’t any more.So the only thing that has left us to “keep travelling” and meet wonderful people is reading and…our humble treasures.
When we visited the mountains and saw the treasures up there in the wilderness of the high tops, instinctively we collected the first ones.It was that moment that our cosmostheory changed for ever.
“Sharing the treasures from our land”..This phrase stuck in our minds and since then it’s still here , stronger than ever.This is the only way it has left for us “to travel, meet and share” moments in life.
That’s why we are here today, writing these lines.We aren’t used of writing much cause we beleive that “saying less is more”.
We ‘ld like to invite You in a Wonderful trip to our land. Would You Join us?
Friday 16th of October 2015
One of the days which we 'll remember for ever.
We 've lived in Sparta for more of the 3/4 of our lives and so far we thought we had seen and learn about many things and facts about extra virgin olive oil.
Well, we have to admit it... We were terribly wrong!
In our region, Lakonia, there's always a big "fight" between the locals..
"Our part produces the best EVOO"
"The farms on the mountain sides produces more tasty EVOO"
"The farms with this or that way of cultivation, produces Finest EVOO"
Opinions are many.. most of the time everyone's trying to promote his/hers EVOO and prove that he/she has the Perfect One.
But You know something?
Everybody 's wrong and right in the same time..
You see , our region is one of the 3 biggest producing areas of Olive Oil in Greece..
And the 2nd one in Kalamata Olives production.
And if You consider that Greece is the 3rd producer of Olive Oil in the world, You 'll understand the piece in the Olive Oil production pie that Lakonia has.
And also You have to keep in mind that Lakonia produces ONLY extra virgin olive oil.
To be completely honest about the claimings of our Fellow Lakonians, we don't want to take the side of anyone.There's no reason!
You see, every Ethical Olive Producer has his own "green gold".
This is the reward for the Ones who 're treating the blessed olive trees of this Mythical land with care and love.
The Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Kalamata Olives with an unmatched taste.
Τhanks to the differentiated ground morphology, the quantity and quality of the Olive Products per farm can't be the same everywhere in Lakonia.
Don't think that they are any huge differences... not even small ones... Strong , mild, bitter.. small differences which can give to oils a specific taste and identity!
All these Olive Oils and Table Olives are simply Great!
Now back to our little story:
We 've heard for many years about a specific part of our region that produces ALWAYS the first EVOO in Greece and probably in the world!
It was just a couple of months ago, when we met a very old Dear Friend who has left the life of the town and decided to stay in the wilderness of a small -almost - abandoned village.
He had bought some olive groves and started cultivated the ancient trees.
We had to see him for more than 7 years and we were so glad by meeting him again than August evening!
He told us about his life and groves and metnioned this sacred priviledge of his land..
Having the FIRST extra virgin olive oil of Greece every year!
Just few days ago, the phone rang (yes, we are old fashion and we still have a landline!).
From the other side of the wire , we heard: "It's here!... the First Olive Oil of the Season is HERE!
And now , if You like close Your eyes and Imagine a deep green color oil which hasn't "cleared" yet.
It's strong and has a bitter taste. This means that it holds all the precious ingredients, antioxidants, vitamin E and polyphenols with a low accidity!
We haven't made any chemical analysis yet - we 'll get this in few days - but it's accidity is about 0,3% which put's it to the "extrissimo" category of extra virgin olive oils!
Yes, there's such category... If You haven't heard of it so far here's the full description:
"EXTRISSIMO is the name of the highest quality extra virgin olive oil with an acidity of maximum 0.3%."
We tried it last night - we cooked a special meal to "honor" it , though it was too late (but we are Greeks and we use to eat late most of the time:)).
It's a pitty that there's no way through these lines to transfer You the awakening of the senses while enjoying our meal last night! It was Divine!
And from now on , we are giving You (and to ourselves) a promise:
We 'll never claim or think again that we 've seen and know many things about the EVOO of our land! (O.K, sometimes we might forget it and claim that we found another better hidden treasure , but please remember: we don't do it on purpose!... we are simple humans:))
Have a Great Weekend!
From evening sunny Sparta
P.S If You 'ld like to see more and taste this Unique Olive Oil, You can see more HERE and HERE