Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowers: The Oregano Edition

Ancient Ingredients, Modern Superpowers: The Oregano Edition

Dear Kosterina Family,

In this week's edition of our ongoing series called: Ancient IngredientsModern Superpowers we'll be diving into the healing powers of an ancient Greek herb, oregano. Read on to discover the extraordinary powers of the superfoods of Greece & the Mediterranean for health, happiness and longevity.

Where does Mediterranean oregano come from?
I'm sure you've used this herb plenty of times without thinking twice about it, but oregano is originally from Greece - though there are many varieties in our world today. The word "Oregano" actually means "joy of the mountain" in Greek, and has grown wild on Mediterranean mountaintops for centuries. According to Ancient Greek mythology, it was said Aphrodite, the goddess of love, created Oregano as a symbol of joy. 

What makes Greek oregano so special? 
Oregano is a flavorful herb that comes from the mint family. Although it was originated in Greece many centuries ago, it was popularized by the Romans, and soon made it's way to the Spice Road in the Middle Ages. Although this herb now has many varieties, Greek oregano is still the most flavorful and potent. It is also thought to be the most healthy varietal because it's highest in carvacrol and thymol, which have high antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties.

What are the health benefits?
Since ancient times, oregano has been heralded as a medicinal herb. It was said that Hippocrates would apply oregano oil to the skin to prevent infections and even make it into a tea to cure coughs and colds. Modern science has caught up with Hippocrates' findings and has proven them right - oregano today is best known for acting as a strong antibacterial agent, as it's phytonutrients (carvacrol and thymol) fight infections both internally and on the skin. It is also loaded with antioxidants, vitamin k, vitamin e, iron and calcium. How's that for a tiny herb?

How can I use it in my every day?
This ancient herb is really versatile - it can be used as a topping in sauces, meats, and even salads. My favorite? I love using a ton of oregano in this simple Greek Salad, otherwise known as Horiatiki. Us Greeks pretty much use oregano as an herb in nearly every meal - whether it's salmonchicken or even veggies. If you're feeling like you need a special oregano boost, you can make a simple oregano tea. To save on time, I just ordered this organic oregano tea and will report back on the taste!

How do you use this ancient superfood in modern ways? Are there other Mediterranean superfoods you'd like us to cover? Respond to this note or tag us on Instagram @kosterina with your thoughts!