flight greece

If Memory is in fact linked to specific smells, then Greece is a composition of aromas: the pungent smells of oregano, savoury and thyme; the refreshing and sweet scents of lemon balm, pennyroyal, marjoram and spearmint; the earthy and deep notes of Cretan dittany and ironwort; the discreet odours of chamomile and lemon verbena.
Greece is the richest country in Europe – and one of the richest in the world- in biodiversity, having a vast number of ecosystem and more than a thasand endemic plants. Of these, the herbs that have been used for millennia in the country’s cuisine are held in particular regard and are distinguished for their special properties, both in Greece and beyond.

Mountain Tea
There are 17 varieties of this leafy tea plant, commonly known as ironwort (its scientific name is Sideritis), in Greece. Each mountain, it seems, bestows its name on the variety (such as Olympus tea or Parnassus tea). The Venetians in Crete called the plant malotira, from the Italian male tirare, because it helped stave off illness. Widely used for its antioxidant properties, it is often consumed as a tonic with a spoonful of honey to help treat winter colds.

As its Latin name suggests, Mentha pulegium belongs to the mint family. It was widely used by the ancient Greeks and Romans in their cooking and in medicine. In the Roman text «Apicius» it often mentioned as a condiment, but this use is largely overlooked toda. It makes a marvelous tea, with aromas reminiscent of the lemony fresh notes of peppermint and a slightly bitter finish.

In Greek, its name means «low-lying apple» and is intended to reference its flavor, which bears some resemblance to the common fruit, although in appearance it looks like a small daisy. Its aroma is associated with spring, when the plant first blooms. It remains one of Greeks’ favourite beverages. As a tea, it is renowned for its relaxing properties. It is also used in cooking – in desserts, actual – for its sweet and fruit aroma.

A symbol of courage and an incense used in sacrifices to the gods, thyme has been harvested in Greece for thousands of years. Its flavor, similar to oregano but milder, without the bitter aftertaste, are associate mainly with the Greek islands. Thyme is also responsible for giving Greece its amazing and world – renowned honeys. As a tea, it offers a powerful energy boost, while in the kitchen, it is a staple that goes in many different dishes.

This is arguably the herb most representative of Greek cuisine. All of the different types of this herb belong to the same family as mint, spearmint and thyme; the best-known variety, Origanum vulgare, or common oregano, is found all over southern Europe, while the kind found on the Greek islands, origanum onites is limited in habitat, its strong, pungent aroma is enough to transport you to the Greek countryside, while its flavor is tangy, a bit sharp at the and and with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Olive leaf
But another part of the olive harvest is less known, yet imparts tremendous health benefits. That part of the harvest is olive leaf – a traditional medicinal herb whose therapeutic uses date back centuries.
Early references to the olive leaf as medicine can be found in the Bible: “The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12)
The ancient Greeks attributed heavenly powers to the olive leaf.

Today, olive leaf is becoming increasingly well-known and appreciated outside of olive-growing regions, as science on its benefits expands.
One of the primary compounds in olive leaf, a substance called oleuropein, has attracted scientific attention since the early 1900s.
An iridoid by definition, oleuropein exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity, and is useful for fighting various types of internal infections. Oleuropein also appears to increase the body’s production of thermogenin, a substance that helps us to burn fat more efficiently.
In early studies, oleuropein demonstrated blood pressure-lowering properties. Studies conducted in Milan have shown that this compound is a potent antioxidant, inhibiting the oxidation of lipids in the blood, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, the antioxidant activity of olive leaf is higher than that of green tea. A significant body of science shows that antioxidant compounds derived from plants provide profound health benefits, and help to reduce the risk of many chronic and degenerative diseases

Categories: Featured, Food and Drink

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