Dittany of Crete (Organic Loose Leaf)

£7.99

Dittany of Crete (Cretan Dittany) is a potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, digestive-soothing herb that is native to the small Greek island of Crete. We source the finest wild-grown herb for maximum flavour and health benefits, creating a brew that has been consumed for centuries and was once praised by Aristotle!

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Description

Dittany of Crete, or origanum dictamnus, is a medicinal herb native to the Greek island of Crete. In the Cretan dialect, it’s known as έρωντας, which translates as “love”. It’s greatly prized by the locals, and although it’s not as well-known elsewhere, it really should be.

  • Type: Loose Leaf Tea
  • Quantity: 40 grams (20 to 30 cups)
  • Taste: Uniquely Aromatic
  • Origin: Greece
  • Organic: Yes
  • Brew Tips: Use 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup & steep for 5 minutes (adjust brewing time and quantity for stronger/weaker tea).

Dittany grows on mountainsides and possesses unique health benefits, much like its better-known cousin Sideritis Scardica. And just like Sideritis Scardica, you can buy the very best Dittany here on Shelgo Tea, sourced direct from the mountains of Crete where it’s grown without the use of pesticides and free of preservatives or fillers.

It’s Cretan Dittany exactly how it should be, giving you a chance to experience an herb that has been consumed throughout Greece since the classical age and is considered one of their most treasured herbs.

Read More: What is Cretan Dittany?

What is Cretan Dittany?

Origanum dictamnus is a perennial plant that grows on mountainsides on the island of Crete. The plant grows to a maximum of just 30 centimetres, and its leaves have a soft, almost woollen covering, making it a popular ornamental plant as well as an alternative medicine.

The Cretan name for this plant, which, as mentioned above, translates as “love”, likely derives from its purported aphrodisiac qualities, as well as its history of being given as a symbol of love. In fact, it’s said that young lovers would scale mountainsides to collect the plant. These men were known by a name that translated to “love seekers” and were commended for their bravery in pursuit of love, but many of them are said to have fallen to their death looking for the plant.

Cretan Dittany is widely used in traditional medicine and is said to possess a number of health benefits. It is also used as a flavouring in local delicacies and drinks, including alcoholic drinks like absinthe, where it can replace, or be used alongside, wormwood.

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Read More: Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Dittany

Despite its long history of use, there hasn’t been a great deal of research into the health benefits of Cretan Dittany. That’s not unusual, though, as Sideritis Scardica has an equally extensive history but only in the last decade has its amazing health property become common knowledge.

It’s said that Dittany can help with digestive issues, and it’s also known to be a potent antibacterial and antimicrobial herb. This is thanks to its high concentration of a compound known as carvacrol.

Carvacrol has been studied at great lengths, and in addition to its antibacterial properties, it also possesses antioxidant and anticancer properties.(1) It may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reduce oxidative damage, and help with inflammatory bowel and joint conditions.

Carvacrol is not unique to Cretan Dittany. It’s also found in herbs like oregano and thyme, but Dittany contains one of the highest concentrations at just under 70%, compared to the 5% to 50% found in many common herbs. It also contains a compound known as phellandrene, which may be responsible for some of the health benefits of eucalyptus. Generally speaking, while there hasn’t been a lot of research on Dittany itself, there has been a wealth of studies on its individual components, and most of these are very promising.

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Read More: Dittany in Greece

Dittany in Ancient Greece

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is thought to have been a big fan of this plant. He is said to have prescribed it for a number of ailments, including wounds and menstruation. It was also his go-to cure for digestive issues, alongside sideritis, which was just as prized by the ancients.

The philosopher Aristotle also loved this herb. In one of his most famous works, he noted how popular the herb was with the locals—humans and animals alike. He described how wild goats would go in search of Dittany if they were sick or injured, chewing the leaves of the plant as a means to cure themselves. He also believed that it could “eject arrows from the body” if consumed by humans.

It seems like a bizarre statement to make, but it’s likely that Aristotle was referring to the way that Dittany hastened the recovery process as opposed to physically forcing arrows out of open wounds.

Dittany in Modern Greece

Origanum dictamnus is a rare species, and it’s also a threatened one. It was added to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1997, and the situation hasn’t improved much since then. However, it’s not going extinct anytime soon, and if its popularity spreads outside of Greece, as we are hoping it will, then greater efforts will be made to increase production and that should significantly improve this plant’s status.

Dittany has featured in pop culture a few times, including in the Harry Potter universe. It was used by Hermione to cure Ron in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it has also featured in many works of Greek film and fiction, and in many novels set on the Greek islands.

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Read More: How to Consume Dittany

How to Consume Dittany

Dittany of Crete can be made into a simple but delicious tea, preferably with a dollop of honey to add some sweetness and a little more depth. To make Cretan Dittany tea, just follow the instructions on the packet. All Shelgo Tea products contain brewing tips on the back, and you can use these as a guide, adding more of the product if you want something a little stronger and less if you find the taste too much.

You shouldn’t add milk, but you can add a squirt of lemon juice if you want a little more bite. We also recommend experimenting with other herbs to create a delicious and heathy concoction. A little lemon verbena works perfectly with Dittany, adding a fresh burst of lemon flavour and giving you all the benefits of verbena, as well. Lemon balm works in the same way, and if you want something a little stronger, you can try sage or a sprig of mint instead.

Dittany tea is best consumed hot, but you can also leave it to cool, add ice, and consume it as an iced herbal tea, preferably with a wedge of lime, lemon, or orange on the side.

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Additional information

Weight40 g
Used For

Libido, Detox, Immune Support, Inflammation

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