The Greeks believed that oregano was a gift from Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. She wanted it to be a symbol of joy growing in her garden. And in my garden, it is a joy!
I do love finding out about the history and lore of each of the plants in my garden. It makes it all the more interesting, like a classroom full of students, with different abilities and interests. In a way, you really can’t serve the students properly unless you know how they learn best, or what makes them happy, and sad. The same is true of plants. So knowing more about them, where they came from, their preferred zone, and even ancient and modern uses, helps the gardener be better able to create a successful symphony in the garden.
Oregano, in particular, my Dittany of Crete has such an interesting history. Knowing that it is a plant specific to a region in Greece, and that its blooms are a measure of a young man’s ardor for his beloved – fascinating. Plus, the lore that many young men have died attempting to harvest the oregano from the dangerous steep cliffs where it resides in Crete, is simply hard to believe! And who knew that oregano was used in spells – for tranquility, love, luck, health, and protection!
The Romans, and the Elizabethans used oregano for medicinal purposes. In fact, oregano is rich in anti-oxidants, and can decrease inflammation. So, it’s possible that its use in centuries past, could have been an effective medicinal aid for a variety of ailments.
Whatever the case, as a love potion, curative, or good luck charm, I plan to keep making pasta sauce with oregano from my garden. Who knows what might happen! Gardens can be magical places!