Nature’s Best: Greek Folklore Tea Remedies

Hippocrates, the father of ancient Greek medicine, whose knowledge was so way ahead of its time that we’re still startled by it today, strongly advocated the use of herbs for their remarkable curative purposes.

Throughout the millennia, Greeks have passed on this know-how from generation to generation and entrepreneurial modern Greeks continue to celebrate this ancient wisdom by successfully marketing delicious and sophisticated blends in Greece and worldwide. Here we offer you a warming mini guide of the best Greek herbal teas and their many health benefits for feel-good winter living.

Dittany (Diktamo)

Insights Greece - Nature’s Best: Greek Folklore Tea Remedies
Greek herbal tea by Anassa

Originating from Crete’s Mt Dikti, and also known as eronas, which means ‘youthful love’ because it’s said to have aphrodisiac qualities that make one feel young. Diktamo is a diuretic that’s high in antioxidants, and once boiled or steeped in hot water it releases oils thought to have potent antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Traditionally, it’s made to relieve headaches, anxiety, indigestion, stomach cramps, bloating and fever. In folk medicine, its more medical uses included giving it to patients suffering from epilepsy, kidney and gall stones, rheumatism, for wound healing (as a tincture) and to bring on menstruation.

Sage (Faskomilo)

Believed to be a herb with holy properties by the ancient Greeks, and used even today to cleanse energy, this pungent tonic tea has powerful anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. Like rosemary, it’s thought to activate focus and memory, while its anti-inflammatory properties are also considered to help boost both mental clarity and physical balance. It is also rich in Vitamin K, which helps the body absorb calcium and thus to strengthen the bones.

Insights Greece - Nature’s Best: Greek Folklore Tea Remedies
Variety of teas

Lemon Balm (Louisa)
With a delicate lemony aroma, Louisa is a soothing and mood-lifting tea that came to the country in the 1700s and has been commonly grown in Greek gardens ever since. Often used alone or blended with chamomile to relieve indigestion, cramps and bloating, the herb is also considered a good friend to women because of its hormone-regulating elements. High in antioxidants, it’s ideal after a long hike (or workout) as it’s thought to help repair strained muscles.

Oregano (Rigani)

Insights Greece - Nature’s Best: Greek Folklore Tea Remedies
Herbs of Greece

Used by the ancient Greeks to make bridal wreaths because it represented joy, oregano is excellent for treating respiratory congestion when you’re bunged up with a cold because of its strong anti-microbial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It’s also wonderful for winter immunity because of its high levels of vitamin C and iron.

Linden Flowers (Tilio)

With an intoxicatingly sweet and soothing aroma, tilio flowers are thought to offer the human organism a loving hand during times of duress, as they are believed to relieve anxiety, melancholy and a racing mind, reducing blood pressure and quietening the heart. It is also high in phytonutrients, antioxidants and flavonoids, which help counter symptoms of the common cold, soothe sore throats and reduce mucus production.

Chamomile (Hamomili)

With benefits that were lauded since antiquity, hamomili is often referred to as the golden flower because of its cure-all qualities. This is probably because chamomile has been scientifically shown to have components that are anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, anti-microbial, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral! The sweet-smelling little flower tea is most commonly thought to help encourage a good night’s sleep, stomach upsets, anxiety and slight fever, but it is also used to treat an irritated eye or skin (a cotton disc can be soaked in the tea and placed on the face or body).   

Insights Greece - Nature’s Best: Greek Folklore Tea Remedies
Klio Greek Mountain Tea

Mountain Tea (Tsai tou Vounou)

Greek Mountain Tea is made using the dried leaves and flowers of Sideritis plants (ironwort). The tea made from Sideritis is credited with easing a wide range of physical ailments and is shown to have as many antioxidants as green tea. It’s also known to boost brain function, especially as prevention and even cure for Alzheimer’s.

Tip: Use any of the above herbs to make your own oil by packing a jar with the leaves or flowers and topping it with olive oil. Place the jar ideally in a spot that gets the sun and leave it for a month, occasionally giving the jar a shake. Then strain the oil and voila! The oil can be used in food, as aromatherapy or to treat skin conditions.

Greek Herbal Tea Brands to Check Out Online:

Grek Tea 
Anassa Organics
Daphnis and Chloe 
Krocus Kozanis Products  
Klio Tea 

Tips for Growing Greek Basil at Home

Greek basil is a highly flavoured and fragrant plant that can be found all over Greece- from remote villages to the most popular islands- it is used in both cooking and as a decorative plant that adds lush greenery to any space. 

It’s quite low maintenance and easy to grow at home, so even if you are a beginner gardener this is a great one to start off with! 

Where and When to Grow Greek Basil 

Insights Greece - Tips for Growing Greek Basil at Home

Plant your basil in a place that enjoys full sun. It is great for pots, containers, but can also be planted in the ground. It requires rich soil that retains moisture yet drains well. Also make sure it is in a frost free position. Greek basil is an annual plant and its best to harvest before a cold snap. The size of the leaves on a basil plant will help determine the position you should give it in the garden, the larger the leaf the more shade they require. Tip: Plant your basil near tomato and capsicums to improve growth.

How to Plant and Grow Greek Basil

Insights Greece - Tips for Growing Greek Basil at Home

-Prepare soil before planting.

-Plant seedlings after winter has past and the soil has warmed in spring. Seeds can also be planted indoors earlier. 

-Care for your plant by regular watering, pruning and only fertizilize if required. Fertilizing may alter the flavour and aroma, so try and avoid it unless it is needed.

-Harvest when leaves begin to grow on all shoots, starting with the top. 

-Plant reaches maturity in 60-90 days. Be sure to harvest all you need for use and storage before allowing flowers to develop.

Tips & Facts  

Insights Greece - Tips for Growing Greek Basil at Home

-Greek basil stores well for later use. Dry it in a cool space by hanging upside down in small bundles. When its dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar and store in a dark spot. 

-Fresh leaves may be frozen in plastic bags. 

-Greek basil is used in quite a few Greek and Italian recipes and is mostly added to tomato sauce based dishes, pastas and topped fresh on pizza. 

-Greek Basil is packed with vitamins and is high in antioxidants. Ancient Greeks, including Hippocrates “the father of  medicine,” claimed basil is good for the heart, stomach and also helps heal wounds and sores.

*All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Greek Herbs for Your Health Cabinet

Cough, sneeze, splutter. Beyond Covid anxiety we always have and always will come down with flus and colds during the colder months. Here are some remedial indigenous herbs to use for ultimate natural healing.

Boil a pot of water, add herbs and brew. Create a magical healing potion made from some of nature’s best ingredients just like our ancestors have done around the world for thousands of years, in Grece, China, India, Africa and beyond. Herbs are wonderfully restorative to drink when we are feeling at our worst, and can also be used for their curative elements for steam-breathing, compresses and to season food. Here we selected the herbs and roots that are considered to offer the most potent healing effects for colds, flus, cramps, lethargy that can come from Seasonal Affective Disorder in winter and even recipes for boosting the immune system.

Herbs To Help Battle Cold & Flu Symptoms


It looks a bit like wild thyme because of its small, prickly leaves and pink or purple flowers but it smells more like mint, which is the family it belongs to. Apart from iots antispasmodic and diuretic properties, fliskouni is also excellent for treating respiratory ailments like brionchial symptoms, throat ache, congestion, coughs and asthma. Meanwhile it’s also considered to be a good tonic for the heart and has a mild and pleasant sedative effect. Great for drinking or steam-breathing (placing the herb in a bowl of boiled water and deeply inhaling the steam).

Insights Greece - Greek Herbs for Your Health Cabinet

Licorice – Glykoriza

Licorice root, which looks like a small twig, can be chewed and sucked or even steeped (for at least 20 minutes) or boiled (for at least five minutes). It has been used as a treatment for respiratory ailments (especially congestion of the chest, or asthma) for over 4000 years. It’s also effective in alleviating stomach acidity or nausea and stomach aches, and at the same time it is thought to be a mood-lifting herb that especially works for tackling melancholic moods. Modern science has shown that liquorice has an anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic action and contains a compound called glycyrrhizin (as its Greek name – glykoriza suggests), which has strong antiviral properties.


Great in your Greek salad or tomato sauce, when steeped for around 20 minutes or even longer oregano releases antioxidant-rich oils that have a strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic effect. It’s especially good for alleviating respiratory ailments and congestion, while it’s also considered to be a blood-cleanser and a digestive tonic. Drink it as a tea in a small cup up to three times a day when you have a cold, or use in steam-breathing.

Insights Greece - Greek Herbs for Your Health Cabinet


The Herb of Aphrodite, as it was known in classical Greece, was also used by the Spartans, who rubbed its puungent leaves into their chests, as a pre-battle pep to help them breathe deeply and fight strongly. High in Vitamins A, K & C as well as iron and calcium, thyme is a good ally to the immune-system as well as a direct warrior herb for fighting your cold or flu symptoms. Drink it or steam-breathe it to alleviate a sore throat or chesty cough, nasal congestion and a crampy stomach.

Post Lockdown Abroad: Time for a Greekovery

Across thousands of years of history, Greece has been written about as a healing place. Here, Gina Varela writes about the mind-body-soul health benefits of a country she loves so much. 

Gripped in fear for months, segregated from friends and family, watching the livelihoods and stability of many of those close to us teeter perilously, we cannot deny the considerable toll this sudden, enforced suspension from life has had on our health – mental and physical.

Greece, an exemplary example of abiding lockdown law, now offers a heavenly haven to those worn-down and weary, looking to replenish their depleted vitamin D and experience a sliver of what life used to be before the madness.

As a half-caste Greek, raised in the Southern Hemisphere, Greece has been a cure for all Insights Greece - Post Lockdown Abroad: Time for a Greekoverykinds of ills for me. My body breathes a sigh of relief, allergies, asthma, and a vague melancholy disappear. My soul soars free in the azure sky the second I set foot on Greek soil. Whether I’m buoyant in the Aegean Sea, standing on powerful ley lines at Ancient sites, eating nourishing food that’s all kinds of comfort, or bathed in moonlight relishing in the incomparable feeling of the warm night air on my sun-kissed skin. Greece has always gifted me a harmony, a resonance. Like so many Philhellenes and the Diaspora, the world over, Greece is my happy, healing place.

Our health and well-being are our responsibility, and it’s becoming increasingly important to turn down the cacophony of fear-mongering we are now subjected to daily. We have an incredible secret weapon, a multi-layered shield for the body – our immune system. Shifting the focus to calming our minds and fortifying this intricate, hard-working armour will help us keep things in perspective and brave the calculated risk of exposure to this mysterious virus.

Ancient Greek, Hippocratic ‘wisdom healing’ focuses holistically on food and herbs to nourish mind, body, and soul, bringing equilibrium to the body’s systems that keep us healthy. The best defense for fighting off any virus is strengthening our immune system and keeping our inner world positive. Negative thoughts create an imbalance in our bodies, and while most predictions for late 2020 could not be described as cheery, it’s up to us to substitute some of that fear with a little faith. To enjoy some semblance of our former lives while we still can. To bask in the sunshine, swim in the sea, and feed our body the nutrient-rich foods and immune-stimulating herbs so it may perform at its best.

Insights Greece - Post Lockdown Abroad: Time for a Greekovery

The Sea

‘Thalassotherapy’ activates the body’s healing mechanisms, it clears bronchitis, relieves asthma, and eases arthritis. Swimming in the sea stimulates the parasympathetic system for rest and repair and for the more New Age among us cleanses the aura. It floods us with dopamine and serotonin (vital in keeping us happy and depression at bay) while the minerals and trace elements have antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. With one of the longest and friendliest coastlines globally (almost 16.000km), there is plenty of towel space for those preferring physical distance.

The Sun

Greece has no shortage of sunny days – 300 every year approximately. Anybody who has lived in the UK or an equally gloomy climate will be familiar with SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and how tough it is to stay chirpy and healthy when you don’t feel the warmth of the sun for days, sometimes weeks on end. Hippocrates prescribed ‘Heliotherapy’ to treat a myriad of diseases. Immune cells have vitamin D receptors, and our susceptibility to respiratory illnesses increases when we are deficient in the vitamin.

Medicinal Herbs

Incorporating some of the bountiful curative herbs and spices used for millennia will strengthen our shield and help keep us fighting fit.

Rigani | Oregano Oil~ this effective immune booster exhibits antiviral activity against Insights Greece - Post Lockdown Abroad: Time for a Greekoveryrespiratory infections.

Fliskouni | Wild Mint~ Improves the respiratory system and helps smokers clean their lungs.

Tsai Vounou | Mountain Tea~ immune-stimulating, and beneficial for the upper respiratory tract. Relieves lung congestion and reduces excessive inflammation. It has also been proven to help prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s.

Krokos | Saffron~ Supercharges immunity and helps fight depression.

Greek Medicine states Man is essentially a product of Nature and the natural environment. Health is living in harmony with Nature, and disease results when this harmony and balance are upset. Come and give yourselves a reset.

“The natural forces within each of us is the greatest healer of disease” ~ Hippocrates.

All Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)