With respect to this great land and through our special love to this plant bush, we have been cultivating this miracle herb in the area of Miliarado, Heraklion for some years. For centuries, dittany has been growing in the area to give the local residents the best possible quality.
With years of experience and specialized expertise, dittany is able to retain its natural color and the countless antioxidant and healing properties intact.
Cretan dittany grows by itself mainly in mountainous and hilly areas, in the canyons and cliffs of the mountains Idi and Dikti. It is a plant bush found in Crete and used as a beverage. The leaves of the herb are fluffy and gray-green in color.
The groups of villagers who wanted to collect dittany had to have knowledge of climbing as they ought to be tied with ropes and hung themselves from rocks. There, they would hold long poles with a metal pin aside to gather or uproot, in many cases, the plant. Because of this great risk, the plant was called "Erontas" since only whoever had the passions of love would be willing to risk his life to such a great length to pick it. The frequent accidents often forced Cretans to begin the systematic cultivation of dittany which has been taking place since 1920.
Other popular names of the herb are Diktamnos, atitamos, livanochorto (incense herb), stomatochorto (mouth herb), etc. with the most known species being "Origanon Diktamnos" (origanum dictamnus) or dittany of Crete, which has traditionally been drunk as a variety of tea.
Historical background of Dittany
The healing properties of dittany have been known since antiquity. Aristotle states that the wild goats which were wounded by an arrow would feed on the herb and immediately the arrow fell off. Even the goddess Artemis, the patron saint of women on postpartum, brought on her head a crown made of the ve4ry same plant.
Many ancient authors such as Plutarch, Homer, and Euripides, mentioned dittany and its healing properties frequently in their works, since Hippocrates used it to treat diseases of the stomach and the digestive system, against rheumatism and arthritic, to treat wounds and injuries, as well as the flu.
At the same time, the herb acted as a tonic - soothing, and relieving headaches, toothache, stomachache and more. The Minoans, having understood the excellent properties of it, exported the herb at an escalated -for that period- price. The Byzantines imported large enough quantities of dittany from Crete as it was used for the preparation of ointments, while the Europeans in the Middle Ages flavored liqueurs such as Benedictine and Trapistine with the essential oil dittany.
The herb, due to the fact that it is of great economic importance both in ancient times as well as the modern era, is now protected by the Berne Convention because of over exploitation and extinction of wild dittany. Nowadays, it is used as an antiseptic, tonic and antispasmodic, for wound healing, as soothing the digestive system and flu and colds.
It also acts as a relief against headaches, and stomach disorders, toothaches and abscesses.
The distinct variety origanum dictamnus combined with the high specification distillation process leads to the production of the best quality essential oil, rich in thymol, carvacrol or camphor. The way to guarantee the best quality is through steam distillation. In this method, the steam is produced in a steam generator and is then inserted under the plant material. The advantage of this method is that the material can be processed more easily, without having to come into contact with water, thus avoiding the deterioration of the components of the essence.
Dittany is gathered with the best attention and care in our farm which has been certified as organic cultivation in the area of Miliarado, Heraklion, Crete. It is then transferred to a special drying room and left there to lose at least two thirds of its moisture.
photos from: www.alexfrag.com