Herbs of Kythira
Kythira is one of the regions richest in medicinal and aromatic plants in Greece, with several dozen of them being endemic, as the soil, climate and geographical location of the island favor their flourishing. Since ancient times, herbs have been ideal care for colds, stomach aches or sore throats, for issues related to rheumatic issues and even our mental clarity. Even today we continue to trust nature’s pharmacy, and the practices that are passed down from generation to generation and applied for their healing effects.
BlisterMentha pulegium is a type of mint related to spearmint and can be used instead. It is found naturally throughout Greece, usually near water and in coastal areas, but it can also be cultivated. Its parts that can be used are the leaves and flowers, which are collected from June to October.
An annual to perennial plant with creeping or erect branched stems reaching a height of about 40 cm. The stems are square in cross-section and can vary from glabrous in some plants to densely hairy in others, green to sometimes red or purple in color. The leaves, which grow in opposite pairs, are narrowly ovate, 2–3 cm long by 1 cm wide, pinnate, sparsely toothed towards the tip and tapering to a short petiole. Its habitat is seasonally wet pastures, where standing water in winter leaves bare ground in summer and where animals preferentially graze other plants.
The sage or sage is perennial, bushy, with numerous branches, up to half a meter high, found in all regions of Greece mainly in dry and stony places. It is consumed as a decoction for its medicinal properties, but in some cases it has side effects. Its leaves are elongated and thick, white-green in color. Its flowers grow in spines, are purple in color and bloom from May to June.
The plant has a strong aromatic odor and is cultivated for its medicinal properties, as a decoction and as a spice. The leaves, which are also the most used part of the plant, are collected just before or at the beginning of flowering in dry and sunny weather, in May or June, and dried in the shade.
Thyme or Thyme, Common Thyme, is a small shrub up to 30 cm tall, with upright stems, extremely hardy, and emits a very pleasant aroma. It is found in the southern and Mediterranean regions of Europe in various parts of Asia, and is cultivated in North America.
Thyme leaves, when dried, turn a brown-green color and release their aroma when crushed. Their taste is very strong, slightly pungent and rich. Together with the dried flowers, they are used as a spice to flavor various foods in fish, meat, in various sauces, soups, etc.
Thyme is especially loved by bees and thyme honey is of excellent quality. Thyme drink can be used to treat cough and bronchitis. To prepare an infusion, put 1 teaspoon of dry or 2 teaspoons of fresh herb, without stem, in 1 cup of boiling water, cover for 10 minutes and then strain.
Rosemary (arch. Greek: aposplinos), also known as arismari, is a well-known plant in antiquity, when the Ancient Greeks used it in various religious ceremonies and celebrations, in the decoration of buildings, temples and as fuel for incense.
It is a thick-leaved and multi-branched shrub with a height that does not exceed 2 meters. Its leaves are leathery, small, linear. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green in color and the lower surface is slightly fluffy with a whitish or faint grayish color. The flowers are found in groups and come out in the axils of the leaves. Their color is purple, blue-white or even white. It does not need much watering and can grow even in rocky mountainous areas.
The tender stems and leaves of rosemary are used as a flavoring in many foods. A liquid is extracted from the leaves of the rosemary which is used in the preparation of medicine for rheumatism, for various mouth irritations as well as for coughs. Essential oil is extracted from the stems, which is used in perfumery, soap making, and with appropriate processing in the preparation of insecticides.
Varsamos or Diosmos
Mint is a type of mint, which is native to Europe and Southwest Asia.
It is a rhizomatous perennial plant that reaches a height of 30 to 100 cm. The stems and leaves are covered to varying degrees by hairs, while the rhizome is fleshy and extensive. The leaves are oval, 5 to 9 cm long and 1.5 to 3 cm wide. Its flowers are small pink or light purple. They come out many together in spikes at the tops of the shoots.
Mint is used to flavor various foods.
The benefits of mint are multiple for the human body, as it includes nutrients such as potassium, manganese, iron, calcium and magnesium. Also, it has an antioxidant effect and incorporates vitamins, including vitamins C, B6, A and beta-carotene.
It helps the respiratory system as a decoction for winter colds, the gastrointestinal system by soothing the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, but also migraines and sore throats.
Its etymology is from the ancient chamaimelon, from “hamai” (hamo, down to the ground, to the earth) and “μῆλον” because the smell of the flowers reminds that of an apple.
Chamomile has calming, tonic as well as antiseptic and insecticidal properties. It also works against intestinal gas. By distilling the flowers, a valuable essential oil is obtained, the properties of which are similar to those of the essential oil of the noble Anthemis (Anthemis nobilis), a native plant of California where it is cultivated as an ornamental.
The decoction of the same name is made from chamomile flowers. Chamomile extracts are also used in various cosmetics or shampoos.
Silybum marianum is a herb that grows in rocky areas mainly in the Mediterranean. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, like daisies, and the active part of the plant is its fruit, from which the extract comes. The flower of the plant is a red-purple spiky flower and contains black seeds.
Milk thistle can be consumed as a drink while it is available in dietary supplements in tablets, capsules and tincture. Milk thistle is used in cases of hepatitis, jaundice, fatty infiltration of the liver as well as in the treatment of psoriasis.
It is a particularly widespread plant throughout the Mediterranean basin and in many other places. It grows from the coastal zone up to a fairly high altitude. Mallow has dense foliage, with palmate leaves and mostly pink flowers, which grow from the stem. Its flowering period includes the entire period of spring and the beginning of summer.
In traditional medicine the use of mallow could be used as an edible and as a medicinal plant. In ancient Greece it was highly esteemed (mentioned by Pythagoras and Plato). Athenaeus in the Deipnosophists (Book B) writes that it is considered an “artery cleanser” probably because it was used as a prophylactic medicine against arteriosclerosis.
In recent folk medicine, mallow leaves are rubbed on a place that hurts from the touch of the nettle. As the saying goes, it “soothes the tingling”. The decoction of its flowers is considered emollient, expectorant, bowel stimulant. The molochanthi decoction foot bath relieves fatigue. Mallow leaf poultice relieves eczema and pain from insect bites.
Oregano is an aromatic herbaceous, perennial, native and shrubby plant of the Mediterranean and Central Asia. The plant is 20-80 cm tall, has opposite leaves 1-4 cm long. Its flowers are white-purple in color and blooms from June mainly to August depending on the region.
Greek oregano is a perennial and herbaceous plant whose quality is considered one of the best worldwide. In Greece, oregano is indigenous and is found in mountainous and rocky areas.
Oregano, in addition to the characteristic aroma and taste it gives to food, also has many medicinal properties. It is antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal. In the form of decoctions, it is used to relax the intestines, expectorant for cough, helps with hypertension and arteriosclerosis. The essential oil of oregano (oil of oregano) is used for toothache. Oregano has 12 times more antioxidant activity than an orange, 30 times more than a potato and 42 times more than an apple.
Thrubi is a beautiful shrub with a strong aroma. It is a plant found in almost all temperate regions of the planet. It is a known plant since ancient times and has been used in cooking as an aromatic for more than 2,000 years and also as an herb.
The flowers are white, pink or purple in color, they grow in inflorescences at the ends of the stem, useful for the essential oil. Flowering period is from June to September. Attracts bees and butterflies. After the flowers mature, thousands of small seeds are created.
In the past it was used as an antidote to the stings of bees, wasps and other insects. Also as a decoction for sore throat, cough and bronchitis. The essential oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. The Romans considered thrombi as an aphrodisiac herb and not without reason.
Thrombi today is also used as a tonic, digestive for the digestive system and as an appetizer. It is even used in industry to flavor soaps, toothpastes, etc.