Erontas, or Dittany, is a Greek plant that is native to the island of Crete. Derived from the name of the Greek god of love, Eros, the plant itself is thought to symbolize love. (Many even consider it to be an aphrodisiac!) It grows only on the mountainsides and in the gorges of Crete, making it difficult to harvest. Praised by Ancient Greeks from Aristotle to Hippocrates for its medicinal properties, erontas was often prescribed for everything from stomach aches to healing wounds.
If “Dittany” sounds familiar, it might be because you read about it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Dittany is one of the plants found in the Potion-Making textbook, One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. The plant has healing properties and is used extensively on wounds to “make fresh skin grow over a wound” and after application, “the wound seems several days old.”
As a symbol of love
Newlyweds added the erontas to their wine to ensure a good and healthy sex life in their marriage. It is also a symbol of love, provided that the most brave young men would climb the hillsides and into the gorges of Crete to collect its pink blossoms for their lovers. These men were called Erontades (love seekers) and they were considered passionate and courageous.
The Minoans supposedly knew the benefits of Dittany and used it for beautifying their skin and hair, as well as for curing ailments.
For infusing scent into food & beverages
Erontas is used to transfuse scents into food and beverages, particularly vermouth and absinth It is also one of the herbs in Benedictine liqueur.
Erontas possesses anti-diabetic properties, and can soothe the digestive tract and digestive orders.
For other ailments
The herb has antiseptic, stimulating and antispasmodic effects. It is used to heal wounds, to soothe the digestive tract, as well as in the prevention of the flu and colds. It has spasmolytic action and contributes to the prevention and treatment of circulatory and cardiac problems. It is also said to soothe headaches, toothaches, and abscesses.
From the founder: “Erontas is one of my favorite teas. I drink it every morning before working out. When I was younger, I used to go hiking in the mountains with my friends and we would collect the herbs to bring back to my grandma. She would put it in small towels inside the wardrobe, so that her clothes would smell of this fragrance.”