Forty Herbs – Cretan Sarantavotano

Posted by GRECOTEL on September - 10 - 2012

Forty Herbs – Cretan Sarantavotano

Cretans are famous for enjoying good health and longevity. The famed Cretan diet is only part of the secret. A special herb tea, traditionally sipped at breakfast or before bed, may hold the key. Sarantavotano, literally “forty herbs,” is a mix of forty endemic aromatic plants with a range of healing or tonic properties. Many of the herbs grow wild Crete’s mountains and plateaus. Harvested by hand and dried naturally, they are combined in roughly equal amounts and stored in clay or glass jars. The herbs have a variety of properties and aromas ranging from chamomile’s subtle scent to the more pungent sage. Sipped slowly in the morning or evening, sarantavotano is a soothing beverage – and the perfect way to start or end the day. The forty herbs in sarantavotano are not chosen at random but selected to promote health by fortifying the immune system as well as the body’s circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems.

A basic ingredient is Cretan dittany, an endemic plant valued by the Minoans for its tonic and restorative properties. There’s malotira, known for preventing colds, and fennel, whose calming effects are beneficial for treating headaches and asthma. Wormwood and plantain help combat gastrointestinal problems, while horsetail fortifies the body with a range of vitamins and minerals including calcium. Rose, jasmine, wild quince, lemon balm, orange, spearmint, and lavender impart a delicate aroma that conjures the sweet-smelling Cretan countryside on a warm spring morning.
An interesting variety of Cretan herbs available at our Agreco Farm in Rethymno-Crete.

From Grecotel’s magazine ‘Greece by Grecotel’ 2012


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