Oregano might be a humble herb with a glorious name, nonetheless. In Ancient Greek, Ορίγανον: όρος+γάνος = η λάμψη του βουνού is the joy, the brightness of the mountain. Ancient Greeks would crown bridal couples with wreaths of oregano as a blessing of happiness upon their marriage.

Oregano is one of the most popular Mediterranean herbs and one of the foundations of Greek cuisine. Greece happens to be where the most praised varieties come from and Mount Taygetus is home to the most favoured of all Greek oreganos. The herb has been used since the antiquity as a food flavouring and medicine mostly for respiratory diseases.

Have you ever tried an herb called oregano not smelling or tasting like oregano as the authentic one? That is mostly because oregano is a wider category used to define nearly 50 plants available across the world that respond to a similar flavour profile. For example, you might have heard of Lippia graveolens, “Mexican oregano,” also known as Mexican marjoram or Mexican wild sage (not a true oregano), or Thymus Capitatus, “Spanish oregano” and Origanum majorana, “Sweet marjoram”. The authentic Greek Oregano is Origanum Vulgare ssp. Hirtum that has been scientifically proven to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as very potent aroma and intense flavour. 

In Greek cuisine, the herb is used dried, usually; there’s always a jar full of it in the Greek home. Oregano is used in tomato sauces, with meats, fish, cheese, egg dishes, salads, cheeses, and with vegetables including tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and green beans. Combine it with minced garlic, sea salt, and olive oil and you have a flavourful marinade for pork, beef, or roasted potatoes.

The ancient Greeks were also the first to realize the amazing healing properties of oregano. It has powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It is used as a painkiller and anti- inflammatory. Oregano tea is considered a treatment to treat pain, colds, asthma, indigestion and fatigue. The leaves and flowering stems are natural antiseptics because of high carvacrol content. Oregano is rich in C, E, K, A vitamins, manganese, magnesium, calcium, niacin, zinc and iron among others.

This herb, rich in essential oils, pungent and peppery is quite sensitive when stored. We advise you in store it in glass containers; away from the heat and the sunlight but still, not in the fridge.

Make sure you buy your oregano from a trustworthy supplier. The recent years, a number of illegal harvesters have been stripping Greek mountains of wild herbs and rare plants.  We really hope this issue is solved as soon as possible as this looting stops natural regeneration, threatens delicate ecosystems and leaves entire mountainsides denuded.

In case you are growing the herb at your home, oregano protects the other plants from diseases and harmful ants. That is especially useful during summer, when mosquitos or other ants are hard to avoid.

Talking about the joy of cooking, have you seasoned your meal with oregano, today? Looking for inspiration? Oregano is a match in heaven with tomato, which is a match in heaven with feta which takes us to dakos, without a second thought.

Pop by our shop at Borough Market and smell our exceptional Greek oregano! We supply it in bunches or ground, hand harvested from the wild mountains of Epirus. The oregano as well as all of our wild herbs grow within Mrs. Maria’s organically certified land in Epirus. We also supply oregano essential oil, a premium oil organically produced and organically distilled on the farm Aetheleon outside Thessaloniki. This exceptional oil besides its culinary use as a food flavouring, it is widely acknowledged in the international scientific community for its strong antibiotic, antifungal and antioxidant properties.

Photo Credit: Aetheleon

By Lida


Fresh herbs are a bliss. Surely, dried ones are easier to store and they don’t need any attention or care. But those of you who are lucky enough to have balconies or even gardens, well, grow some herbs! There is nothing better than freshly cut basil for your tomatoes, or woody rosemary for your roasted lamb. If you are not into taking care of pots of fresh herbs it’s not the end of the world. Most of us can now access fresh herbs at our local market or shops.

There are so many things you can do with herbs. This week, we have something different for you. It is summer after all and as such, foods that don’t require an oven are always welcome. When these foods also happen to be sweet and cold, it’s even better. Have you guessed where we are going with that?

Granita of course! Granita is different than sorbet in that it has a crunchier texture. Ice crystals form because of its preparation method (you’ll see below). Which means it is also easier to make and requires no special equipment! It is kinda like making tea and freezing it if you think about it. It can be eaten as an ice cream, served in glasses, but also as a slush-type drink. If you want, you can spike it with the alcohol of your choosing and there you have it, your very own summer cocktail.

For 2 people you will need:
A small bunch of basil (30g), leaves and tender stalks only
200ml water
150g orange blossom honey
3 medium-sized lemons (both zest and juice)

Finely chop the basil leaves or whiz them in a blender with the water.

In a small pot, and over medium heat warm up the water, basil and honey. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Add your lemon zest and juice. Taste. Have in mind that once frozen, the flavours will become less intense. However, the mixture needs to feel balanced. If you feel it needs more honey, lemon, or even basil add some now.

At this stage, you are faced with a deeply existential choice. To strain or not to strain. If you think about it, it is quite similar to soups. Do you prefer pureed soups like our trahana cream one or the fall pumpkin one? Or do you prefer soups with texture, like our spring one  or the saffron tahinosoupa? The writer’s personal preference is texture. But of course we tried both. And yes, the writer’s own personal preference is still texture.

So strain (or please don’t) the mixture into a clean metal tray. Place your tray in the freezer. Ever half and hour or so remove it from the freezer and using a fork, scrape the semi-frozen liquid around. You can keep tasting and if you feel there is something you’d like to add, you can still do so. Just make sure to stir it all in. After around two hours the granita should be set and you should be ready for the herby bliss.


Malva is thought to come from the Greek word for soft –malake. Mallow has been known since the ancient years for its medicinal uses. Hippocrates used mallow to remedy bruises and blood loss. Its properties include antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The herb is also known for treating the digestive and urinary system as well as the intestinal system.

Enjoy your mallow tea with some honey in order to remove your body’s toxins. How to prepare it: Add a couple of teaspoons of dried mallow leaves in a cup with hot water for 7-10 mins, strain it and it’s ready to enjoy. It is recommended to drink 2-3 cups per day.

Also, when combined with chamomile and thyme honey, it’s a great cure for sore throats and coughs. When used externally -as a poultice- ιτ soothes the calluses and when dissolved in water it makes a quite relaxing foot bath. When mixed with olive oil, it can treat various insect bites or stings. The herb is frequently used as main ingredient for soaps or creams, as well as green and yellow dyes.

Buy our organic Greek Mallow

Important note:

Some herbs should be avoided if you are pregnant, trying to conceive or if you suffer from certain medical complaints. Unrestricted use of some herbs (such as rosemary, sage, sorrel and thyme) may be harmful to health. For further information and recommended dosage please consult a qualified practitioner.


Rosehip has a warm, sweet and sour flavour and an astringent aftertaste. Its flowers smell like roses but have a lighter smell than the cultivated ones. The herb is used in cooking as herbal infusion, for syrup production as well as for baking and patisserie. Rich in seven vitamins, especially in C; when boiled, the vitamin attributes come out. If preparing an herbal infusion with whole rosehip, boil it for at least for 10 minutes.

This herb is known to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, astringent properties.  Rosehip’s medicinal qualities also include the following: reduces cholesterol levels in the blood, helps with osteoarthritis pain, acts as a body toner, strengthens the immune system, fights viruses and microbes . When made as a tea, it can prevent a common cold, induces sleep and is effective with urinary system problems.


What is so special about Greek mountain tea (tsai tou vounou)? It is freshness and wellness in a tea; you might find yourself feeling as if you were just trekking on the Greek mountains.

Sideritis also known as ironwort, shepherd’s tea and mountain tea is a genus of flowering plants widely known for their use in herbal medicine as well as an herbal tea. This special tea is historically known as “Shepherd’s Tea” because Greek shepherds would make a brewed tea out of the plants while directing their flocks on the hillsides.

This tea consists of select handpicked dried flowers, leaves and stems of the native Sideritis plant which grow wild throughout the mountainous regions of Greece. The specific plant is found on rocky slopes at very high elevations (over 1000 meters). According to the researchers, Sideritis genus includes over 150 available species. Not to be confused with regular tea rich in polyphenols, caffeine and a smoky, bitter flavour due to its tannic profile; this humble tea has a sweet, floral and earthy flavour and is caffeine-free.

The herb was well known to ancient Greeks, particularly to the pharmacologist/ botanist Dioscurides, philosopher Theophrastus and to the father or modern medicine Hippocrates. Back then it was used as a toning herb, commonly used to treat wounds –especially those from iron swords or arrows. Nowadays, it is mostly consumed in Greece and Spain; in Greece you can try about 17 different varieties from mountains around the country. Of these only one is cultivated, all others are wild. Its essential oils are used in a variety of herbal medicine and cosmetic products.

One of the main reasons of ironwort’s popularity has definitely been its wide range of health benefits. Since the antiquity, it was considered as a remedy for colds, aches, allergies, indigestion, respiratory issues and a boost for your immune system. All these claims proved to be true; an increasing number of researches confirm that mountain tea is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants as well that it lowers blood pressure. Recent studies at the University of Magdeburg argue that not only does Sideritis prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease but it also acts forestalling osteoporosis.

According to the a study published in 2011 at the “Journal of Ethno-pharmacology”, all Sideritis species plants were shown to have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic properties. They were rich in a number of natural antioxidants, including flavonoids, and almost all species also contained essential oils. In addition, according to a 2012 publication of the “Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology” found that extracts made from Sideritis helped lower blood pressure levels while helping blood vessels to relax.

The brewing process is rather simple: you simply need to pour some freshly boiled water in a cup with a couple of mountain tea twigs inside. Excellent with a spoonful of honey, it is also lovely with cinnamon or lemon. Since it’s naturally caffeine-free, it can be enjoyed any time of the day. Fresh, aromatic and flavourful – can be enjoyed either hot or cold. We stock 100% organic and wild, without any added ingredients, colourings, or flavourings from the mountains of the Epirus. Pop by our stall in Borough Market, find us at Spa Terminus or order it online. Make a fresh start this year and switch to herbal remedies, like this ancient one.

Your Greek grandmother would recommend a cup per day, especially during winter!


The use of lavender has been recorded for more than 2,500 years. Did you know that Egyptians, Phoenicians and the people of Arabia used lavender as a perfume but and also for mummification? They did so by wrapping the dead in lavender-dipped burial clothes. The ancient Greeks called lavender Nardus or Spikenard, named after the Syrian city of Naarda. The English word derives from the Latin lavare (to wash) referring to the properties of the plants. Lavender is one of the most recognised scents in the world –fresh, floral, clean and calm. The plant thrives in sunny, warm, well drained soils and its wonderful cyan flowers appear –depending on the area- from June to August. This fragrant aromatic and relaxing herb can be used in baking, lotion making, gourmet cooking, tea making, tinctures and more. Its popular essential oil is cleansing and refreshing and has a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on skin, body and mind.

A number of refreshing ideas on how to make the most out of the lavender dried flowers:

Herbal tea: add chamomile as well, steep the herbs in hot (not boiling water) for a few minutes and add honey if desired.

Marinades: can replace rosemary in most savoury recipes – just use double quantity of lavender. The aromatic oils of the lavender compliment meat or fish in a lovely herbal-smoked way. Also, when the dried herb is combined with lemon juice and olive oil, works lovely with pork or lamb. Marinate for several hours before grilling for a delicious rich flavour.

Infused vinegar: add a handful of the lavender buds to 2 cups white wine or apple cider vinegar. Let the mix sit for up to 6 weeks, shaking every few days. Strain before use.

Salad dressing: whisk together 6 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp each mustard powder & dried lavender flowers.

Fragrant custard: Infuse the warmed milk -for the custard- with 1/4 cup chopped lavender flowers to each 2 cups of liquid. Heat the mixture to boiling for an hour or two, than strain out the lavender; the fragrant milk can be used in various desserts such as fruit tarts, eclairs or biscuits.

Drinks: mix the flowers in drinks or spice up your favourite cocktails.

Skin toner: prepare a skin spray with diluted mineral water infused with dried flowers.

Air freshener: simmer the dried herb in a pot of water with some citrus peels.

Perfumed sachets: add lavender buds to a muslin bag inside your wardrobe or, place the bag under the pillowcase at bedtime for relaxing sleep.

Pop by our stall at Borough Market and try our wonderful wild lavender –straight from the mountains of Epirus or order online!


Strongly aromatic and slightly bitter, absolutely essential to your Hummingbird cocktail, or for your pork or poultry stuffing. Or if you are of a more alternative persuasion, burning it cleans the negative energy from your environment.

Sage has remained a widely appreciated herb throughout the centuries due to its connection with wisdom and longevity and its therapeutic properties. Known since antiquity, it is depicted on the Minoan frescos in Knossos. Ancient Greeks used sage as a body and mind toner and in case of snake bites. To the Romans, it was considered a sacred herb, that was only collected by a designated person. It was so highly regarded by the Chinese in the 17th century, that Dutch merchants found the Chinese would exchange three chests of tea for one chest of sage leaves.

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Oregano has been recognized for its medicinal and aromatic properties since ancient times. Its name comes from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy). Oregano has been one of the main ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine and part of the lifestyle for centuries. Newlyweds in ancient Greece and Rome were crowned with a laurel of oregano. It is a rich source of Vitamin K and antioxidants and contains fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega fatty acids and manganese. It has also shown powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. No one can imagine a proper Greek salad without a generous amount of the dried herb sprinkled on top. And no one should have it without Oliveology’s aromatic and flavoursome oregano.