Diktamo (dittany)

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The diktamos (dichtamo) phrygana is endemic of Crete with medicinal properties known since antiquity. O Diktamos, also called, erontas, Statharas, stamnochorto, stamatochorto, stomachochorto. It grows in mountainous and steep limestone areas. Steep canyons and charadrwn but also in steep coastal routes rocks.
H old using the pharmaceutical arts for preparing thiriakis and mithridateiou. The burning Bush was known before the middle ages Europeans like to pharmaceutical plant.

Dittany is a plant tonic and stimulant of the digestive system, antispasmodic, styptic, healing, soothing the pains of the stomach and intestines. Yet diuretic, bile, emminagogo, fights amoeba, relieves headache and toothache . Beneficial in cases of nervous disorders, in scurvy, in intermittent fevers (detail, see. following)

Historical data on the dittany:


Marjoram DITTANY

The dittany -or "dihtamo / diktamo" in Greek- (Marjoram DITTANY) is the most famous of the Cretan endemic plants. Is low semi-woody shrub, that stems reach 40 cm. The plant is hairy and has a velvety texture. The leaves are prasinolefka, flowers of pink, and the aroma of delicious.
Plant family Xeilanthon (Labiate).. O `Pliny relates this plant: “The called party DITTANY a plant in no other place except one grows in the island of Crete”.
Ancient Greek Theophrastus in his work “About Plant stories” writes: “"Tο δίκταμο είναι φυτό που βγαίνει μόνο στη Κρήτη" (Dictamo is a plant that comes only in Crete)….
It is rare, because the place that produces it is small and the goats grazing because they like.
The Diktamos been known since antiquity and ancient doctors attributed many healing properties.
During the ancient statue of the goddess Artemis, which among other things, was a patron of sergeant women, brought on her head a wreath of burning bush.
Also, in antiquity considered dictamo able to reject iron arches of the wounded bodies.
According to ancient writers it became known by the wild goats of Crete [the Cretans Aigagrous (Capra aegagrus)] which when hurting and left arrow in their body, ate burning bush and it fell immediately.
`In this mentioned many authors, as Theophrastus, the Diaskouridis, Plutarch, Pliny, the other Apoulios. In antiquity thought dictamo able to reject iron arches of the wounded bodies.

“Tas is in the Crete goat Tash wild when toxefthosi zitein the diktamnon dokei gar ekvlitikon are the arrows”
On Aristotle, ‘ on case histories’

O Birgilios the 12th book “Aineiadas” of, recounts that when he was wounded by an arrow Aineias, his mother Aphrodite went and gathered the burning bush term Ida in Crete “a plant hyper seeks wild buck, when rapid dart hunter hurt her”.

Active ingredients in diktamo (dittany):

The burning bush plant (dichtamos) contains camphor, While the basic ingredient of the essential oil is the Carvacrol. The Thymol a primary component of diverse aitherioy oil, in percentage 78% (v / v). Even, in it there are inter alia the 3-thoygenio (0.3%), a-pinene (0.3%), b-pinene (0.3%), alpha-terpinene (0.9%), p-cymene (10.1%), gamma-terpinene (7.9%), b-caryophyllene (0.4%), linalool (0.4%) and terpinen-4-OL (0.3%). Determined and the following ingredients: trikyklenio, savinenio, limonene, linalool and camphor. Additional, observed an increase in the percentage of p-cymene was accompanied by a decrease in the rate of carvacrol, particularly in the leaves, when it was used as phosphorus in the medium, from that when the nitrogen was used in this. Even, it is remarkable that emerged ingredients which were not being used when the nitrogen, or wild-type plant, which may be due to the presence of phosphorus trigger appropriate biosynthetic enzymes which in other cases was less active.

Healing properties of dictamo herb (dittany):

The best known species is the origan dittany (Οriganum DITTANY) or dittany of Crete, with gray-green, plush sheets, which traditionally boil and drink as tea. Besides excellent decoction, dittany has healing properties.

Dittany is a plant tonic and stimulant of the digestive system, antispasmodic, styptic, healing, soothing the pains of the stomach and intestines. Yet diuretic, bile, emminagogo, fights amoeba, relieves headache and toothache . Beneficial in cases of nervous disorders, in scurvy, in intermittent fevers. The burning bush is antiseptic, tonic and antispasmodic. Used for wound healing, as soothing digestive, and during the cold and flu. Dr. anticonvulsant and helps in the prevention and treatment of circulatory and heart problems, relieves headaches, and stomach disorders, toothaches and abscesses. It also acts, as antidiabetic, emmenagogue and as aphrodisiac( Crete mention as "eronta»).

Antioxidant properties of dictamo

dictamnusOne of the most important actions that shows the plant, which has been widely studied is the antioxidant activity. According to a study published [Lionis et al. 1998], used aqueous extracts of Origanum dictamnus plants which were collected in the Spring (1gr σε 100ml). In these experiments, found the antioxidant activity of samples of the above two methods. In the first method, presence of samples decreased degradation of deoxyribose by about 50% after exposure to hydrogen peroxide, iron and ascorbic acid. In the second method, identified products lipoperoxidation, where it was found that the presence of extracts of the plant, significantly decreased their rates. According to the authors of the study, these results are probably due to the presence of polyphenols in the extracts of the plant. Have discussed various mechanisms for the action of polyphenols, as their effect on LDL (low density lipoprotein), factor that is causing atherosclerotic plaques, the compound with the free radicals produced by the activated oxygen metabolites, and commitment of iron catalyzes oxidative reactions. The above shows, therefore, that particular plant acts as an effective antioxidant in the body and reduces the risk of diseases that are the result of the effect of activated metabolites.
Another study showed that aqueous extracts of plant able to bind with good yield hydroxyl radicals were produced in different ways [Moller et al. 1991]. Specifically, in the embodiment of the study led to the fact that the diktamnos was used widely in herbal infusions, which are prepared very easily with water, which showed the possible presence of substantial component in those aqueous extracts. Diktamnou used dried leaf and an extraction thereof with water, methanol, ethanol and acetone. The experimental results clearly showed that extracts, obtained by treating the leaves with water and methanol, showed stronger antioxidant activity, bind to a greater extent hydroxyl radicals, of these with ethanol and acetone. This result, ie the strongest antioxidant, attributed to the higher proportion of phenolic compounds extracted in the first solvent (water, methanol), than with the second solvent (ethanol, acetone). Indeed, experimentally found that the antioxidant activity of the different extracts of the plant, was directly related to the contents of these phenolic compounds. Additional, thus confirmed once again the important role of phenolic compounds as “cleaners trap-” (scavengers) free radical. The difference in size of the antioxidant activity of different extracts, explained by specific scientists, that due to the fact that the plant phenolic compounds taken up in water to a greater extent than with methanol and ethanol and acetone.
The fact that over time the various natural antioxidants are continuously gaining ground in preventing cardiovascular diseases and various cancers, led other scientists to test the antioxidant activity of the plant [Couladis et al. 2003]. This scientific team used aboveground plant parts, which collected the spring and the ethanol extraction. The authority relied on their experiments was the fact of souperoxeidosis of arachidonic acid to malondialdehyde absence of antioxidants, but that is not taking place in the presence of such substances. Using, then, of the ethanolic extract of the plant found that this was the same antioxidant action of the substance that was used as a positive sample, i.e. alpha-tocopherol.
A team of researchers found that the fraction of components, which is extracted from diktamno using hexane, had strong antioxidant properties, as it was reported to reduce the mutagenic action of a dietary carcinogen [Lagouri et al. 1996]. This view is supported by the fact that the ingredients were present in this fraction were mainly tocopherols, substances known long that exhibit strong antioxidant.

Antimicrobial properties of dictamo herb

Are multiple studies that dealt with the investigation of the antimicrobial activity of the plant Origanum dictamnus.
One of these [Sivropoulou et al. 1996], examining the effect of the presence of the essential oil of the plant within eight different, Gram positive and negative, bacterial clones. Clones were used for the experiments were two of the bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and one of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Rhizobium biosynthesis και Bacillus subtilis. The method is based on the same principle as that of the susceptibility. Illustrative, each of the clones of bacteria allowed to grow in a medium and then the colonies were plated on a petri dish. A round piece of paper impregnated with the essential oil of the plant and subsequently placed over this and the petri dish.
By the same researchers [Economakis et al. 1999], conducted a similar study in plants whose medium has had a different composition. Specifically, all components of the substrate was the same as the previous study, except that different nitrogen concentrations. The balance trial was performed in a similar way and then tested the antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of the above plants in clones of bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus hominis, Escherichia coli Pseudomonas aeruginosa και. The results showed great antimicrobial activity for all clones except that of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in identical manner with the previously mentioned study.
Some other researchers involved with the potential antifungal action can have the essential oil of diktamnou against the fungus Penicillium digitatum [Daferera et al. 2000]. Used in their experiments the essential oil of the plant and pure thymol and carvacrol as positive samples. After the end of the experiments found that the mean inhibitory dose of pure thymol (ED50, the dose which causes inhibition of the growth of the fungus by 50%) and the minimum inhibitory dose (MIC) was 79 and 200 μg/mL, and pure carvacrol 47 and 160 μg/mL, respectively. Additional, the essential oil of the plant result in universal growth inhibition of the fungus in a concentration 300 μg/mL. This led to the conclusion that the coexistence of the plant essential oil thymol and carvacrol entail the appearance synergistic effect in inhibiting the growth of the fungus.
The hypothesis formulated by Farg and colleagues for antifungal activity of essential oil [Dye et al. 1989], was that due to the presence of this component were aromatic ring phenolic hydroxyl. This enables these substances to form hydrogen bonds with the active sites of enzymes, necessary for the fungus, and cause suspension. However, this does not explain the antifungal activity of essential oils, plants of the same family, but they do not have phenolic compounds. According to Faid and colleagues [Faid et al. 1996], the series of action of the components of the oil is as follows: phenols (maximum effect) > alcohols > aldehydes > ketones >ethers > hydrocarbons [Daferera et al. 2000].
It 2000 published study [Karanika et al. 2000], which examines the effect of the presence of the essential oil of the plant growth planned in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. In this study we observed that large prokaloutan inhibition of growth of yeast, which was due to the fact that aqueous extracts of the plant created unsuitable environment for the same yeast. Therefore, extracts had no direct effect on the cells of the yeast. Unlike, assumed that the capacity to inhibit the growth comes from the fact that the ingredients act as chelating agents which bind metal ions of the environment, but which are necessary for the yeast.
End, has been found by scientists [Vokou et al. 1993], that the use of oil of diktamnoy aitherioy can be used in the future in an efficient and safe way to lengthen the time of potato storage, simultaneously protecting it from microbial infections. This view is supported in the experiments, which showed that the essential oil has strong antimicrobial properties. Specifically, found that it showed maximum activity against clones of Erwinia carotovora, and other bacteria isolated from the surface of the potato.

Indications, therapeutic use, Ethnopharmacology

The plant of the diktamos Gorge from antiquity found many uses in several health problems. Nowadays, the already known therapeutic properties added and some even found either studies or their references in popular therapeutic.
The diktamos displays healing and astringent properties and for this reason is considered medication for upset stomach, but also for the abscesses and the pimples (as poultice). Soothes stomach pains and intestines. For these reasons it is recommended to disturbances, colic and inflammation of the gastrointestinal System. It efstomacho and very digestive.
In headaches and toothaches, do good when one chew for a long time sheets diktamnou. Fights bad breath mouth and helps tackle Gingivitis.
The afepsima is diuretic [Bazeos 1986].
As an emmenagogue famous that helps in cases of aminoroias, from depletion of body (shortage period).
It is recommended to nervous disorders, nervous headaches and other diseases of the nervous system, because of sedating properties displays.
For its antiseptic properties, is used in intermittent fevers, flu and colds.
The root finds use as ointment against sciatica, while the juice consumed in wine to cure snake bites.
Some recommend the use of the scurvy.
Most known from old use was to helps women give birth to more easily and quickly (the parturient drank some herbal wild diktamnou), while usually being used as an abortifacient agent [BEFORE etc.. 1983, Bazeos 1986, Ganiatsas 1966, Gunther 1968].
Often made use of because of anthelmintic, antimicrobial and anticonvulsant properties [Odie Mnimi 1994, Skroumpis 1990, Ganiatsas 1966].
End, used as hemostatic in bruises [Zaxaropoulos 1959], and as stimulant.

Side effects from using dictamo

There are few data in the literature about the possible side effects that can have the use of the plant. So, recommended, not done daily use because of toxic side effects caused. Additional, considered that can cause abortion when drunk often a pregnant.
General, yet, as in the case of each plant has healing properties, there should be no excessive use of, because then the effect of therapeutic inverted and becomes toxic due to an overdose of active ingredients.

Dictamo prescription formulations :

There are several formulations of this plant either used old and to this day, and from the popular therapeutic, whether they are based on existing knowledge of scientists. These are divided into infusions, tinctures, wines, infusions, Inspector poultices, powders, mixtures, ointments and baths. Here are several recipes for each formulation.


  • The plant can be used as an infusion putting 1/2 – 5 drams of the plant 150 drams water [BEFORE etc.. 1983].
  • For the preparation of the perfusate is sufficient to place in 5-10gr 1 liter of boiling water and leave them there for about 10 minutes.
  • Then we can drink two cups a day [Bazeos 1986, www.abio.gr/herbs/].
  • Used 20-30gr of whole plant in a liter of water to combat fainting and convulsions.


  • Dosed as tincture 1 ½ -3 dram in drink [BEFORE etc.. 1983].
  • The tincture is taken once you put 15-20gr in wine or raki.
  • After a few days may be used little by little (very 50 grams of the day 3-4 days) [Bazeos 1986, www.abio.gr/herbs/].
  • You make a wine or raki with 15-20gr herb and is used as the diluted decoction [Odie Mnimi 1994].
  • May be prepared by allowing 40gr flowering tops to digest in half a liter of pure alcohol or zivania or wine for a few days and then strain the liquid and we keep.
  • Drink a small glass after each meal for efstomacho and digestive properties.


Inspector poultices


  • When you rub the dry leaves powder and take a wound stops the blood [Bazeos 1986, www.abio.gr/herbs/].
  • Dust: used as antimicrobial, antiseptic, anthelmintic, antihaemorrhagics and healing medicine [Odie Mnimi 1994].
  • Since dust can dissolve a teaspoon of coffee in a glass of hot water, leave it for a few minutes and then just drink a dose two glasses a day.


  • Some use the plant to build the so-called 'Dictamus Creticus ’ mixture, which comprises the following dragees: Cortex Canella, Ocinum basilicum, Salvia officinalis, Mentha officinalis, Thymus vulgaris, DITTANY creticus, Camelia sinensis, Sideritis officinalis, Rosa canina. The mixture of these toners drogue can easily replace the coffee.


  • Many make the peels of the plant ointment “Flying Ointment“, which is manufactured from a portion of each of the following drugs of: Dittany of Crete (Marjoram DITTANY), Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex, Rosaceae), Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana, Asteraceae), Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, Apiaceae). The four parts are heated gently at low temperature to liquefy, While noting that no burn. Add a mixture of dried drogue, stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed and continue heating to evaporate the essential oil, understand the fact that the odor of the air. We press the mixture through a sieve and put it in a glass jar. Add to it half a teaspoon of tincture of benzoin as a natural preservative. Store it in a cool, dark place, as in the refrigerator. The ointment should keep for weeks or even months. If blacken the ointment, and then throwing away the jar, following cleaning, place new, recently prepared ointment.


  • The plant can be used in the bath. Boil in plenty of water several leaves and flowering tops and add water to a hot bath. We live in the hot bath 15-20 minutes. Therapeutic these baths are sedatives, tonic, increase the libido and is believed to preserve youth.

Protection Status, trade Diktamos:

Origanum_dictamnus_1The plant Origanum dictamnus included in the Bern Convention, Directive 92/43/EEC and PD. 67/81, while part of the population falls within the National Park of Samaria, where prohibited collection [Papageorgiou etc.. 2001].
The plant of diktamnou, because of medicinal and aromatic properties, became famous worldwide, which led to export quantities abroad, especially in Italy, France, Belgium, England and Germany. It 1929 the quantities exported came only from native diktamno, the price had reached very high. This was, because the collection was very difficult and dangerous because of the particular geographic sprawl that characterizes.

Dittany properties

Properties dictamo – conclusively:

The miracle of the diktamos properties mentioned by many ancient writers such as Homer, Aristotle, Euripides, Theophrastus, Virgil, Plutarch, Dioscorides, Galen and others mention as effective in kidney diseases, intestines for poisoning etc., something that has been verified by modern scholars, about’ This Crete tend to offer it as a beverage. According to mythology, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, why help, as she parturition. For the same reason the ancients depicted the statue of the goddess with a wreath of burning bush. The older was used as a poultice as hemostatic and healing, about’ this sounds with the name stamatochorto. They tell stories about’ beasts, which wounded by a hunter arrows, ate burning bush and pin the arrow falling off their bodies.

Besides cytotoxic, the essential oil of Origanum dictamnus displays and insecticide. Dittany is traditionally used as an anti-haemorrhagic, healing substance, last confirmed by the action of stomach ulcers. The antioxidant activity of the aqueous extract is particularly important as it is evident the possibility of operating in the food industry as a preservative. The uses listed in the literature are as digestive, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anthelmintic, antihaemorrhagics, healing, emminagogo, antispasmodic, soothing stomach pain and nerve stimulations. Is also said to facilitate bedtime (Pregnant) and antiepileptic. The essential oil also has economic importance in cosmetology.

Therapeutic Properties – conclusively:

The burning bush is antiseptic, tonic and antispasmodic. Used for wound healing, as soothing digestive, and during the cold and flu. Dr. anticonvulsant and helps in the prevention and treatment of circulatory and heart problems, relieves headaches, and stomach disorders, toothaches and abscesses. It also acts, as antidiabetic, emmenagogue and as aphrodisiac. This method is called stomatochorto, because when chew leaves stops halitosis, stomachochorto, because it helps in digestion and soothe the pains of the stomach and stamatochorto, because if you put crushed leaves on wounds to stop bleeding.

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