Know about the Dittany of Crete

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Dittany of Crete Quick Facts
Name: Dittany of Crete
Scientific Name: Origanum dictamnus
Dittany of Crete is a native plant of island of Crete of Greece and belongs to Lamiaceae family and origanum genus. Ancient Greeks considered it to be panacea and used for healing effects in folk medicine. It grows on wild on the Crete Island and also cultivated as an herbal tea plant, condiment and spice in distilleries. Dittany of Crete is a short green white lanate shrub with stems reaching 35 cm. Stems are ascending and rooting at the base, lanate and yellow or purplish brown. Branches of first order in upper half of the stems are upto 5 pair per stem, 1.5 cm long and not ramified. Leaves are 15 pairs per stem and lower ones are petiolate, roundish to oval or ovate and tops are obtuse or acute, about 15 mm long and wide. Spikes are subglobose to cylindrical measuring 16 cm long and 7 cm wide. Flowers are subsessile and two per verticillaster. Corolla is two lipped, pink and 11 mm long; upper lips are divided into two and about 0.3 mm long lobes, lower lips are subequal and 1.5 mm long lobes. Staminal filaments are 12 to 14 mm long. Roots are 1 cm in diameter.

As various names are assigned to the plant but among them dictamnos is derived from the Greek words “Dicti’ and ‘thamnos”. The term “Dicti” refers to the name of the Cretan mountain where Zeus was raised up by the goat Amalthia and the term “thamnos” refers shrub in Greek. The aerial parts are used to treat gastric and stomach disorders and also to maintain good health.


Dittany of Crete is highly prized and blooms in summer months. It is exported for use in perfumery, pharmaceuticals and to flavor drinks such as absinthe and vermouth. In Ancient Greece, the plant is prescribed as a cure for various ailments. It is useful for stomach aches and digestive complaints and also used as a poultice for wounds and promotes menstruation. The philosopher Theophrastus and Greek scholar and agreed with Aristotle about the healing properties of Dittany of Crete. It is cultivated in Embaros and surrounding villages, South of Heraklion Crete, used to make herbal tea and also in natural beauty products.

Health Benefits of Dittany of Crete

The presence of phenol carvacrol offers antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It is used as oxytocic, antirheumatic, vulnerary and stomachic. It is used as a cure for cough, sore throat, aching stomach, menstrual pains, diuretic, hypertensive; cure wounds and helps child birth. Roots are used for treating sciatica and juice is added to wine and consumed to cure snake bites. Moreover, it is used as a cure for stomach problems, rheumatism and gastric. The warm drink acts as anticonvulsive, strengthen heart muscles and arteries and acts as a menstrual tonic. Take it with the mix of honey and cinnamon to soothe cough.

Medicinal uses

  • The flowering plant is used as oxytocic, anti-rheumatic, vulnerary and stomachic.
  • It is used to heal gastric ulcers, stomach disorders, spleen problems, facilitate childbirth, rheumatism and gynaecological disorders.
  • Bitter root was a cure for bleeding and gastric ulcers.
  • It provides relief from cold and mild disorders of stomach.
  • Apply the poultice externally on bruises and wounds.
  • It is effective for treating skin conditions and lower cellulite.
  • It is used for cramps, stomach problems and worms in intestines.
  • Chew it to provide relief from ailments in mouth and throat.

Culinary uses

  • Use the leaves as a flavoring for salads and vermouth.
  • Brew the dried flowering tops into herb tea.
  • It is used to flavor wine and liquors.
  • Use it to season soups and sauces.


  • Avoid Dittany of Crete by pregnant and breastfeeding women due to inadequate information.
  • Stop to use when experienced allergic reactions. And consult the health practitioner immediately.






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