Herbs of Crete

Crete has a rich flora. Some of the more common plants are sold in baskets in the markets of the island and can be bought easily. We list them bellow:


Dittany of Crete or Diktamo is a herb growing only in Crete, at the steep mountainsides of the island. It is known from ancient times and it’s dried leaves are used as a tea, as a male aphrodisiac, stomach aches, cold, sore throat, as well as an aromatic plant.

Hippocrates prescribed Dittany also for wound healing, stomach, fast childbirth and other uses. Today 80% of the production of Dittany is bought by the Martini company, also used in Benedictine liqueur and other drinks and wines.


Chamomile, a daisy like plant, is used for tea, with lemon or honey, and may help with sleep, anxiety and stress.



Lemon balm or Melissohorto, is a herb similar to mint, with a light lemon scent. It has antibacterial, antiviral properties, may calm and improve mood.



Sage or Faskomilia, used as a strong bitter flavored tea for colds and head aches. It has been used from Egyptians to Romans as a diuretic, styptic and healing herb.



Thyme, is another herb used as a tea for cough and throat, with antiseptic properties, used in mouthwashes, hand sanitizers, etc. Also important as a nectar source plant for bees.



Sideritis or Ironwort or Malotira, is a popular tea served with honey and lemon, suitable for flu, allergies, cold, pain and stress. Studies have shown remarkable results in many deceases. Also it is used at cooking.



Oregano, a herb used in Cretan cuisine, in tomato sauces, fried and grilled foods, Greek salad, in the traditional lemon-oil sauce for barbeques etc. Oregano also has antiseptic, tonic and other properties.



Marjoram is a herb similar to Oregano, used for its flavor in meat or fish. Also used as a pain and cold tea, in ancient Greece it was used as for stomach and intestinal discomforts.



Rosemary, is a plant used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. In ancient Greece it was used as an aphrodisiac, in animal sacrifices, also students used to wear a wreath of rosemary for memory and concentration.