Dittany of Crete...

This Dittany of Crete also known as Diktomos page is from the Completely Crete website Food and Drink section.

Dittany of Crete only grows wild on the Greek Island of Crete and is drunk as a tea as a part of the Cretan diet. Its also said to be an aphrodisiac!

Dittany of Crete is a healing, therapeutic and aromatic plant that grows on the mountainsides and gorges of the Greek island of Crete.

Known as Eronda, Cretan Dittany, Diktamo and the Latin Origanum dictamnus the many branched plant with whitish pink flowers is prized as the Magic herb of Crete. It is endemic only to Crete and has many myths and legends attached to it.

From ancient times to the present day Cretan Dittany has been considered a panacea for many ailments. It is used as a paste in poultices to relieve stomach pains and skin inflammations.

The dried leaves of Dittany of Crete can also be thrown into a bath to aid relaxation and as general tonic.

As a herbal tea, tisane or infusion Dittany of Crete is said to relieve headaches, neuralgia and period pains.

It is also said to be beneficial to the digestive system and could help with weight loss.

Aristotle, Hippocrates and Theophrastus all extolled the virtues of the 'miracle cure' plant in various ancient writings.

It is known locally as eronda, which means youthful love, and is renowned for its aphrodisiac properties. Many Cretans claim their sex lives are improved by the aphrodisiac qualities of this magical herb.

The Greek goddess of love Aphrodite herself reputedly used it to treat Aeneas during the Trojan War. She also used it as a pain reliever while in childbirth at Mount Ida (Psiloritis) here on Crete.

In ancient times yet another name for Cretan Dittany was "Artemidion" which relates to the Greek goddess Artemis, the huntress. She hunted with arrows dipped in poison and the herb Dittany of Crete was said to have the ability to heal the wounds from poisoned arrow heads.

Aristotle wrote about the wild goats of Crete who when injured by hunters arrows would chew the Diktamos growing on Mount Ida and apply it to their own wounds. This drew out the poison and allowed the arrow to fall to the ground and thus the wounds were healed.

Diktamos was named after the mountain Dikti, here on Crete the reputed birthplace of Zeus, where it grows wild.

Dittany of Crete herbal tea is drunk by the Cretans as part of their Cretan Diet but is often difficult to find.

The fact that Dittany grows on the steep mountain slopes and rocky outcrops of the gorges of Crete makes collection not only difficult but also a dangerous occupation. There are numerous deaths reported throughout the centuries by collectors of this magical herb.

This special tea was popular in Minoan Crete and throughout Ancient Greece.


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