FROM INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE TO SCIENTIFIC FACT
The idea began a few years ago, when epidemiological observations in areas of Crete showed that people who consumed infusions of certain herbs had low rates of ill-health and rarely suffered from colds or flu. The study by researchers from the University of Crete was published in the internationally renowned medical journal The Lancet. The efficacy of herbs was attributed to their antioxidant properties (Lionis C. et al. Antioxidant effects of herbs in Crete. Lancet 1998, Vol. 352).
The emphasis placed by indigenous knowledge on the beneficial action of selected herbs on upper respiratory infections drove the scientists to the next step. Through many years of trials, the research revealed a combination of essential oils from three herbs, Coridοthymus capitatus, Salvia fruticosa and Origanum dictamnus, working synergistically in specific proportions. The clinical trial that followed, in 105 participating patients with symptoms of upper respiratory viral infection demonstrated beneficial effects (G. Duijker, A. Bertsias, E. Symvoulakis, J. Moschandreas, N. Malliaraki, S.P. Derdas, S.A. Pirintsos, G. Sourvinos, E. Castanas, C. Lionis. Reporting effectiveness of an extract of three Cretan herbs on upper respiratory tract infection: results from a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2015, Vol. 163).
It has been known since antiquity. It was used as a medicinal plant by all the early Mediterranean civilisations. Hippocrates and Dioscorides describe its uses in their writings. Before modern antibiotics, Coridothymus capitatus was widely used to impregnate/sterilise bandages and dressings..
The name Salvia comes from the Latin salvare, meaning to save or rescue. It was considered a sacred herb by the ancient Greeks, who dedicated it to Zeus. Our ancestors used it as a cure-all and it is mentioned by Dioscorides, Aetius, Hippocrates and Galen, all of whom extolled its virtues.
Dittany is a herb which is native to Crete. The healing properties of dittany have long been known, as well as the fact that the wild goats of Crete ate dittany to heal wounds caused by hunters’ arrows. There are more than 500 references to the therapeutic use of dittany in about 220 works by ancient Greek writers.