Sunday, 31 May 2009

Cretan dittany

Cretan Dittany or O. dictamnus is endemic to Crete and is on the Greek Red List of endangered species. I've only seen it in the wild once and that was last year on the Nida Plateau. It is one of the herbs used to flavour Martini and is cherished by the Cretans as a cure-all. For those who don't know this lovely little herb, here are a couple of my images. As Jude said the leaves are dried to make Dittany tea, which the Cretans use as a refreshing drink and as a medicinal tonic. The flowers look a bit like a Shrimp Plant but it is a member of the Oregano family.


  1. Do you think it helps with weight loss??
    I picked loads of chamomile and dried it this year. Love it!

  2. I think the Cretans would say its helps with everything! Goats eat it and I've never seen a fat goat here :-) so maybe it could. Make sure you are picking the right species when you dry stuff. I'm sure you do, but, for instance, not every Hypericum St John's Wort is suitable for ingesting. Needs to be Hypericum perfoliatum which is rare on Crete. Not sure about the chamomile, but some that look like Chamomile are actually Mayweed or Daisy. As I say, I'm sure you've checked it out, but people need to be careful. There is a herb here that looks like Angelica and I originally thought it was. Turns out it's highly toxic and if I'd used it, it would have killed me!!