Spices and herbs are abundant in Crete and the Greeks love them. Here is an overview of the most known herbs, most of them can be found in the garden of our holiday home "Villa Limani". Feel free to serve yourselves for your dishes or on the BBQ.
(herbes in our garden are indicated with *)
Probably the best known herb in Crete and indeed in all of Greece. Better known as "mountain tea". It is picked in July when it usually blooms high in the mountains. That is why we do not have this herb in our garden.
It is regarded as a medicine for stomach and intestinal problems and also to relax. Delicious it with a little Greek honey.
2) Diktamo (Dittany)*
This herb is endemic (only found in Crete). It grows in the Diktamos Gorge (see elsewhere on our website) and is located not far from the holiday home "Villa Limani". The herb is a medicine for stomach problems and is drunk as a tea. I personally think the taste is too powerful to be used in salads. The herb is already mentioned by Hippocrates (god of medicine). You can find this herb in one of the pots behind the BBQ wall in our garden.
3) Sage (Faskomilo)*
This beautiful herb is well known in Crete and is found almost everywhere. In the "IRINI" gorge it is full of it. Not to be confused with the wild sage with its bright yellow flowers that you can see everywhere in the fields. The flowers secrete dust threads that can provoke highly allergic reactions.
Sage blooms in May-June and small flowers appear that are also edible. Sage is used with meat in stews or on the BBQ. Delicious is a sage sauce with paste. Melt butter in the pan and add a few leaves of sage. Pour over pasta (ravioli) and you have a delicious starter.
4) Marjolan (Mantzourana)*
Marjolan grows in July and August and is then cultivated, used in medicine, kitchen and perfumery. It has the same properties as thyme and has been used against nerve disorders and colds since ancient times. Usually it is mixed with mountain tea.
5) Oregano (Rigani)
Oregano is a very well known and widely used herb, it grows in July and August and flowers with small white flowers that are edible. You will find enough in the garden of our holiday home and you should definitely try it. In the restaurants it is dried but fresh it is much better. In a (Greek) salad on or grilled meat or fish, in spaghetti, ...
The herb is used as an antiseptic, toothache or stomachache.
6) Thyme (Thymari)
Grows in July and August and is a well-known bee lure. Thyme honey is very well known in Crete. It has antiseptic effect as also used against parasites. You will find enough in the garden of our vacation house "Villa Limani", we also have a variant of lemon thyme.
7) Mint (Menta)
Well known among the Cretan herbs, it blooms in July and August and is actually a weed because it is proliferating. In our garden you will find several species near the stairs on the west side of the pool.
Mint is used in Tzaziki, but also in fruit salads and desserts. As a medicine it fights indigestion, nerve disorders and insomnia.
8) Rosemary (Arosmari)
Widely used in medicine for migraines, hair loss and has anti-bacterial, antiseptic and insomnia properties.
In the kitchen it is delicious on the BBQ and in spaghetti or tomato sauce.
Already known by the ancient Egyptians, this plant was used for gastrointestinal complaints. It was used to regulate the period of the ladies, works great with bladder and kidney problems, teat, colds, bronchitis and purifying with ulcers especially eye infections and open wounds as well as against gout.
10) Greek Basil
With similar taste but more powerful and small leaves, you can buy a large pot of basil in one of the garden centers along the way, costs 5 €. These can withstand the sun better in contrast to the Italian version.
Myrtle (myrtle), Laurel (laurel), even Stevia.