An increasing number of chemical and pharmacological studies, which strongly support traditional medicinal uses of Greek herbs against various illnesses such as a sore throat, cough, and gastric ulcer, have been reported recently. One of these herbs is an endemic plant of the island of Crete, which has been widely used as a traditional medicine since antiquity: the dittany of Crete, Origanum dictamnus (Lamiaceae family). A variety of compounds, including flavonoids, lipids, and terpenoids have been identified from the plant. Current studies have shown that its extracts and the essential oil possess important antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-ulcer pharmacological properties.
The use of herbal medicine has its roots in the Bronze Age. The Homeric texts describe herbal wound healing treatments during the Trojan War. Ancient Greeks had developed a considerable medical knowledge based on systematic observation in order to heal their precious human capital. The Mycenaean palatial centers systematically produced and exported huge quantities of aromatic and essential oils to the kingdoms of the Mediterranean basin and exchanged them to copper and tin for their weapons and tools. Were they also used as medicines? The tradition is still preserved and the consumption of aromatic plants as a component in curing common diseases is still on population’s practices in many islands and rural areas. Though observations show that persons in Crete that consume Cretan herbal teas, mainly dittany and sage, are more resistant to viral induced infections. Until recently, there hasn’t been any double-blind trial conducted on the effectiveness of Cretan herbs in the prevention and curing of common diseases. […]
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