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Dittany of Crete: Discovering the Miracle of Nature

On the endless slopes of Crete, where the sun is hosted by the crystal-clear sky and the sea embraces the land, a small but powerful herb known as the dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus L.) blooms. This plant, deeply rooted in the richness of Greek nature and tradition, has now been recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its therapeutic properties.


«The dittany of Crete: From a mythical antidote of antiquity to a modern miraculous herb, it is a hidden diamond of natural medicine.»

tofillo - Dittany of Crete

Picture from tofillo farm

Traditional Use and Historical Value of Dittany

Since ancient times, the Cretans knew the unique properties of dittany. Mythical tales and ancient physicians, such as Hippocrates, attribute amazing healing powers to dittany. According to legend, when wild goats in Crete suffered arrow wounds, they would seek this herb for healing. This ancient wisdom, transmitted through generations, has preserved dittany’s reputation as a highly esteemed herb in the Mediterranean.

Scientific Confirmation and Therapeutic Uses

The EMA (European Medicines Agency), after a detailed review, has included dittany in the list of herbal medicines recognized for their traditional use. Dittany of Crete is indicated for:

  • The relief of coughs associated with colds.
  • The treatment of mild digestive disorders, such as a feeling of fullness or digestive problems.
  • The application to mild skin inflammations and bruises as a patch.



The Importance of Dittany in Daily Life

One could say that the dittany is not only a plant, but also a carrier of Cretan tradition. As one walks along the paths of Crete, one can see this characteristic plant blooming among the rocks. Its simple presence reminds us of the value of nature and the importance of traditional knowledge.


The dittany of Crete, with its rich history and recognized therapeutic properties, is a treasure of natural pharmacy. Through the steep slopes of the Cretan mountains where it grows by itself, it gives us a unique gift: health, simplicity and naturalness.

Many of us do not know about the dittany:

  1. Historical Reference in Ancient Literature: Homer mentions dittany in the Iliad for its ability to halt bleeding.
  2. Mythological Connection: The plant has links to the goddess Artemis, reflecting her attributes as a huntress and nature deity.
  3. Unique to Crete: Dittany is endemic to Crete, not naturally occurring elsewhere.
  4. Ancient Remedial Uses: Ancient Greeks used dittany for treating wounds and poison.
  5. Believed Aphrodisiac Effects: Traditional medicine considers it an aphrodisiac.
  6. Culinary Uses: Besides medicinal benefits and use in herbal teas, it enhances the flavor and aroma of soups, sauces, and marinades.
  7. Rarity and Protection: This herb is rare and legally protected in certain regions.
  8. Cretan Emblem: It stands as a symbol of Crete, often featured in local souvenirs and crafts.
  9. Varied Local Names: In Crete, it goes by many names, each highlighting a distinct attribute or use, such as ‘Erontas = love‘, ‘Stomaho grass = plant for the mouth’, ‘Stomach grass = plant for the stomach’, ‘Stamato grass = plant for stopping blood’, etc.
  10. Cosmetology Application: The essential oil of dittany finds use in cosmetic and skincare products.
  11. Natural Antiseptic: Its inherent antiseptic properties make it valuable for skin and wound care.
  12. Role in Traditional Ceremonies: It served in ancient Greek ceremonies and as an antidote to poisoning.

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