Aromatic & Therapeutic Plants (HERBS)
The medicinal or therapeutic plants also known as herbs are a big part of the plant kingdom. These herbs provide active substances that after their intake of a living organism present the pharmaceutical property of a medicine. All parts of a plant can be identified as pharmaceuticals, whether flower, leaves and fruits or stem and roots. Aromatic plants are beautiful and fragrant and provide an abundance of useful pharmaceutical properties while at the same time are being used every day for cooking.
Some of the herbs that we use mostly in Kissamos and in Crete are the follows:
It’s a bush of small height (30 cm), with upright sprouts, extremely durable, scents a pleasant aroma. Located in the southern and Mediterranean regions of Europe, in different regions of Asia and cultivated in North America.
When dried, the leaves of thyme take a green-brown color and give off their aroma when crushed. Their flavor is very strong, slightly spicy and rich. Along with its dried flowers it is used as spice for the flavoring of different dishes of fish, meats, many sauces, soups etc. It’s one of the main ingredients of the Benedictine liquor.
Thyme is particularly loved by bees and thyme honey is of exceptional quality.
The plant has a height of 20-80 cm and its leaves are of opposite lengths 1-4 cm. Its flowers are white-purple color and blooms especially from June until August depending on the region.
Greek Oregano is a perennial and bushy plant and its quality is considered to be the best worldwide. Apart from its distinctive aroma and flavor in the food, oregano has a lot of pharmaceutical properties, most importantly (known pharmaceuticals) the active substance of carvacrol. It’s anti-diarrhea, anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. In tea-form it’s used for laxity of the intestines, expectorant for cough, helps against hypertension and arteriosclerosis. The oil of oregano helps in toothache.
It’s used as a seasoning mostly in cooking and less often as tea, which is referred to be helpful against cough. It’s commonly used in the salad.
The harvesting of oregano begins at the flowering of the plant, the plants are being dried in special canopies or driers and then are grinded and sieved.
It’s the main seasoning of Mediterranean countries and the main ingredient of the Greek and Italian cuisine.
It’s an aromatic, evergreen bush which belongs at the race of ‘’Rosemarinos’’ and the family of weeds. It sprouts itself and is evergreen, it is known since ancient Rome and Greece for its cooking and medicinal purposes.
It is said to be one of the herbs Adam and Eve took along when banished from Heaven. That’s why God gave it special medicinal properties in order to alleviate humanity.
Rosemary has exceptional curing and pharmaceutical properties and for this reason it’s widely used in pharmaceuticals.
Rosemary is one of the main herbs of the Mediterranean cuisine. It matches with baked potatoes and fried as well. Gives a nice smell to the bread, beef, lamb, game hunting, fish, seafood, omelets, soups, sauces, vegetables and snails. Generally it has high durability in cooking and can be used from the start of the cooking.
It’s a very popular kind of plant in Greece, with a nice and very pleasant fragrance which is cultivated in patios and gardens. Spearmint belongs in the family of mint and has the same aromatic properties with it .In order for it to thrive it needs rich, damp soil and sunny weather or some shade. It blooms from July until September and has little pink or purple flowers. Spearmint belongs to the plants that multiply and interbreed so easily, that it’s easy for someone to find more than 30 different kinds.
Spearmint can be harvested all year long and we can have it always fresh in a pot or dry it in a vase.
Its restorative, digestive, soothes the stomach, antispasmodic, stops the hiccups, while the chewing of its leaves relieves from migraines and toothache.
Its leaves contain a large amount of vitamin A and C and inorganic salts. It also contains a very strong oil in its spores in which aphrodisiac properties exist.
It goes perfectly with fish, meats, sauces, soups and vegetables.
In our small botanical garden you can meet all of the above herbs and many more. In our cooking lessons you will have the chance to see their different uses and of course taste them in different combinations with other local products.