Full Guide to Dittany (Díktamo or Érontas)


Exploring the Mysteries of Dittany of Crete: A Special Herb from Patima

Welcome, fellow herb enthusiasts, to a journey into the captivating world of Dittany of Crete, also known as Dictamnus. I am Mama Pelagia Aleksakis, and I invite you to join me as we unravel the mysteries of this unique and endemic herb that grows abundantly in the charming village of Patima near Lake Kournas, Crete.

A Herb with Many Names

In the Greek language, Dittany of Crete goes by several names, each reflecting its diverse qualities and uses. Known as erondas (love), stamatochorto (herb that stops), stomatochorto (herb of the mouth), stomachochorto (herb of the stomach), livanochorto (herb of incense), malliarochorto (herb of hair), or atitamos, this herb holds a special place in the hearts of locals.

The Enigmatic Qualities of Dittany

  • Erondas: Named for the love one must have for the plant to gather it, often found on treacherous mountain slopes. It's also believed to be sexually stimulating.
  • Stamatochorto: This name signifies its ability to stop bleeding, making it a valuable aid for wounds.
  • Stomatochorto: Known for its mouth-cleansing and disinfectant properties.
  • Stomachochorto: Its use in soothing stomach troubles and poisoning.
  • Livanochorto: Reflecting its fragrant nature.
  • Malliarochorto: The herb's many small hairs on leaves and stems.

Utilization of Dittany

Dittany of Crete is a versatile herb, utilized in several ways:

  1. Herbal Tea: Enjoyed for both internal and external use, offering soothing and healing properties.
  2. Healing Disinfectant: Applied topically to wounds for its antiseptic benefits.
  3. Chewing: Relieves ailments in the mouth and throat.
  4. Infused in Raki: Used as a bitter, where the leaves are infused in the traditional Greek spirit.

The Botanical Marvel

The scientific name for Dittany of Crete is Origanum Dictamnus L. It is a perennial herb belonging to the labiates family, growing up to 30 cm in height. Its grey-green leaves, covered with small downs, provide protection from the intense sunlight. The beautiful purple or pink flowers, on long stalks, add to its allure.

The Healing Power Within

Dittany contains an essential oil called carvacrol, known for its natural antibiotic properties. In fact, it is said to be 50 times stronger than penicillin. Additionally, the leaves contain a substance called dictamin, used for cardiovascular diseases. With a total of 70 different curative substances, Dittany of Crete is a true botanical marvel.


Tales from Ancient Times

Even in ancient times, Dittany of Crete was revered for its healing properties. Legends tell of wounded wild goats eating the plant, causing arrowheads to fall off and wounds to heal. In Virgil's Aeneid, Venus brings Dittany from Crete to heal her son, Aeneas.

Unveiling the Name

The name "Dittany" is a compound of two words, "Dikti" and "thamnos." "Thamnos" means 'shrub,' while "Dikti" refers to the mountains around the Lassithi Plateau, where Zeus was born. Mythology suggests that Zeus brought the herb to Crete in gratitude for the care he received at his birth.

The Thriving Habitat

Wild Dittany of Crete thrives in the inaccessible slopes and gorges of Crete, reaching altitudes of up to 1,600 meters. Here, it is protected from harsh weather conditions and grazing goats.

The Brave Gatherers

Gathering Dittany was a risky endeavor, often performed by brave individuals known as mazochtádes, erondádes, or atitanológi. Hanging from sheer rocks, they used specialized tools such as the "katsouna," a long stick, to carefully gather the precious herb.

A Gift from the Land

Our village is situated within the European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Apokoronas, Chania, Crete. This designation speaks to the exceptional quality of our soil and the unique ecosystems that flourish here. The fertile land, nurtured by the freshwater Lake Kournas, yields superior crops, including the precious Dittany of Crete.

Embrace the Mystique

As we conclude our exploration of Dittany of Crete, I invite you to embrace the mystique and healing power of this remarkable herb. Whether used in teas, as a disinfectant, or as a flavoring agent, Dittany of Crete continues to captivate with its ancient history and modern applications.

Experience Dittany with Mama Pelagia

Now, dear friends, I welcome you to experience the magic of Dittany of Crete firsthand. Visit Mama Pelagia's online store and bring home a piece of our village's tradition. Here's why you should choose Mama Pelagia's Dittany:

  1. Premium Quality: Our Dittany of Crete is sourced directly from the fertile lands of Patima, where it grows in its natural habitat.
  2. Authenticity: Every leaf and flower is carefully handpicked and dried, preserving its potency and flavor.
  3. Health Benefits: With its natural antibiotic and healing properties, Dittany of Crete offers a range of health benefits.
  4. Supporting Local: By purchasing from Mama Pelagia, you support our village's heritage and tradition of sustainable harvesting.
  5. Convenience: Shop from the comfort of your home and have our premium Dittany delivered to your doorstep.

Join the Dittany Journey

I invite you to join the Dittany journey with Mama Pelagia. Whether you're a seasoned herb enthusiast or just discovering the wonders of Dittany of Crete, let Mama Pelagia's online store be your gateway to this magical herb. Explore our range of Dittany products and bring a taste of Crete's ancient traditions into your home.

Unlock the Mysteries of Dittany

Visit Mama Pelagia's online store today and embark on a journey of health, flavor, and tradition with Dittany of Crete. Let the fragrant essence of Dittany fill your home and enrich your life.

Warm regards, Mama Pelagia Aleksakis