Greek Oregano: A Herb With Deep Roots
The Greek Oregano is an ancient medicinal plant that is also used in cooking. For years, it has been recognized as a "functional food" for its therapeutic and antioxidant properties and the prevention of many diseases. Over time, botanists and doctors have determined that the Greek oregano, with its spicy flavour, has many more useful properties.
It belongs to the family Lamiaceae and its scientific name is Origanum Vulgare. There are four different types of oregano, the most common in Greece being “Oreganum vulgare spp. Hirtum”. The Greek oregano is a bushy plant that reaches 80 cm and creates oval and pointed leaves. From July to September it has tassels of purple or white flowers.
Compared to the other types of oregano, existing in around the Mediterranean, Greek oregano is found to be the best, due to the fact that it has the highest concentration of essential oregano oil.
Greek oregano comes from the Mediterranean region. Mediterranean’s sunny, warm and dry climate has favored its growth since antiquity.
The Greeks have known the therapeutic values of the oregano for thousands of years and used it in spasms, poisoning, colic or to relieve the pain from wounds. They would drink the oregano decoction to cure abdominal pain and poisoning. The decoction of oregano is astringent, slightly bitter and has traditionally been used in cases of diarrhoea. The oregano oil was used to relieve toothaches. Dioskouridis (an important ancient Greek doctor, pharmacologist and botanist) recommended the consumption of oregano to those who had lost their appetite.
Moreover, for the Ancient Greeks, oregano was a symbol of joy and happiness. It was a tradition in ancient Greece and, to crown brides and grooms with laurels and oregano.
The linguistic root of the plant derives from the Greek words "Oros", which means mountain and "Ghanos" which means brightness (The Glowing Mountain).
The oregano was almost unknown to the US until the beginning of the 20th century.
Greek cuisine and oregano walk together.
The oregano is the emblem of the Mediterranean cuisine and especially of the Greek cuisine. Due to its spicy taste, it makes the ultimate match with the Greek olive oil and lemon. Many dishes of the Greek cuisine, such as goat, potatoes, fish, liver, olives, feta cheese or even boiled zucchini are served or baked with this simple, yet delicious sauce!
It fits well with pizzas and various breads which are fermented with spices, dried tomatoes and olive oil.
Oregano is also sprinkled on the top of the famous Greek Salad!
Enjoy a piece of pizza or omelette, garnished with Greek Oregano or sprinkle it over homemade garlic bread! Try it with sautéed mushrooms and onions!
A Greek tip: You can add some Greek Oregano in your Kardamas Extra Virgin Olive Oil, in your vinegar or your olives in order to flavour them in a unique way and make them last longer!