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.

100% Superfood Dish: The Everyday Greek Salad

Discover why this humble salad is not only a gratifying and balanced meal in itself on a hot summer’s day but a super healthy one too.

The Greek salad, or Horiatiki, which translated in Greek means ‘village salad’, was ironically born in the Greek capital rather than a Greek village. It is said to have been the invention of taverna owners in Plaka during the 1960s and ‘70s, who according to government standards were not allowed to charge for cucumber and tomato salad (much as there’s no charge for tap water today), so they added a piece of feta to the mix and voila! – a dish tourists had to pay for was invented.

With the passing of time, the salad was embellished with Kalamata olives, strips of green bell pepper and a sprinkle of oregano (today it’s common for it to be served with a sprinkle of capers and a bed of barley rusks too). There cannot be a Greek salad without slatherings of olive oil, which by the end of the meal becomes a sauce at the bottom of the plate that’s beautifully mixed with crumbs of feta, cucumber and tomato seeds and salt. At this point, it’s considered almost unorthodox not to grab a piece of a hunk of bread and dip it indulgently into the juices, in a ritual beloved to most Greeks that’s called ‘papara’. And it gets even better. This salad is a superfood dish!

Insights Greece - 100% Superfood Dish: The Everyday Greek Salad
image via My Greek Dish


Tomatoes, which originated in central America, reached Greece as recently as the early 1800s, along with potatoes. Red, juicy, plump tomatoes sprinkled with salt are a sensory delight on a hot summer’s day and offer significant health benefits. They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins C, K, B3, B5, B6 & B7, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. When cooked they are also high in lycopene, known for its cancer-preventative qualities. They’re good for the skin, boost heart health and balance blood sugar levels. They’re ideally eaten at room temperature.


Cucumbers are high in water content, which makes them wonderfully hydrating on a hot summer’s day, especially if they’ve been chilling in the fridge. They contain fisetin, an anti-inflammatory substance that helps protect from age-related neurological diseases of the brain, as well as polyphenols called lignans, which are also anti-inflammatory. They also contain vitamin K and are high in insoluble fibre, which aids digestion. Tip: Don’t throw away the peels. Use them as a refreshing, pore-tightening face toner by rubbing them on well-cleansed skin.


Nutrient-dense and packed with antioxidants (with 25 varieties of flavonoid), onions are known for their medicinal properties, as is garlic, also from the Allium family. They are high in potassium, Vitamins C, B9 (folate) and B6 (pyridoxine, known for alleviating melancholy) and have strong anti-inflammatory properties that are said to prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure. They’re thought to prevent cancer, increase bone density and are considered a great antibacterial food, especially good when accompanying meat dishes as they’re said to help break down fats and clean the blood.

Green Bell Pepper (optional)

Sometimes left to the side of the plate, green bell peppers are high in fibre, Vitamins C and E.

Greek Feta

Low in fat, feta cheese is made from sheep’s and goat’s milk and is high in probiotics, which help strengthen gut health. It’s high in vitamins K, B and A, magnesium, calcium and iron so it’s good for your eyesight and boosts bone density.

Kalamata Olives

High in antioxidant phenolic compounds, which also give them their distinctively sharp flavour, these olives are also high in vitamins E, C, A, B and K, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.


Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial oregano is strong not only in its flavour but in its antioxidant effects. This anti-inflammatory herb is also thought to be good for soothing congestion.

Olive Oil

Global scientific research has repeatedly touted the numerous health benefits of Greece’s antioxidant-rich ‘liquid gold’. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil (oleic acid) protect from oxidative stress, help prevent cardiovascular diseases and have anti-cancer properties. Olive oil also helps the re-mineralisation of the bones, lowers cholesterol and helps keep brain function strong while balancing hormone levels.