Joyful Oregano- Add Spice to Your Life!
In The Mediterranean, where oregano was born, it grows wild across the mountainsides. Shepherds used to let their goats and sheep feed on the herb, believing it would add spice to the meat. Oregano is an ancient herb whose name means ‘joy-of-the-mountains’. The Greek name oríganon comes from óros‘mountain’, and the verb ganoûsthai ‘delight in’ or the word ganosmeaning ‘joy’. The name simply implies that oregano loves higher altitude in the Mediterranean climate. Oregano might symbolize joy for many other reasons too.
Historically, it has been valued for its medicinal properties, and this may be why it has the magical power to give health. Ancient Greek herbalists used oregano as a poison antidote and made poultices from the leaves to treat sores and aching muscles. Traditional Chinese doctors have used oregano for centuries to relieve fever, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice and itchy skin. It was well known and used by healers in ancient Egypt and considered a powerful disinfectant.
Oregano was and is widely used in Europe as a spice in food and treasured for its value as an herbal supplement treating everything from hair loss to cough and indigestion. In Shakespeare’s day oregano was called sweet marjoram, wild marjoram or marjoram and was used in lady’s tussiemussies sheltering the delicate senses from the unwashed. Sometimes I think the scent was a little too ethereal, as young ladies would, according to Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes and Superstitions, make the following invocation three times on St. Luke’s Day, after anointing themselves with a specially prepared concoction using marjoram (oregano) and other herbs, to assure a dream of a future partner.
“St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me,
In dreams let me my true love see.”
Among ancient Greeks, if oregano grew on a grave, it assured the happiness of the departed. Both Greeks and Romans crowned couples with fragrant sprigs of oregano during wedding ceremonies; the herb was thought to have the power to dismiss sadness. Throughout the ages oregano has been used in love spells and as a food additive to strengthen love. So, next time you share that romantic pasta dinner with your lover, make sure to add plenty of oregano. Add spice to your life!
Bring happiness to someone who is depressed by giving a gift of oregano. Make someone happy! Protect against evil by growing oregano in the garden. Since oregano has thrived in my garden for years, at least my home and family are always protected against evil. Carry a protective amulet with oregano in it or place it around the house, a sprig in each room, and renewed each month.
Me, I’m going to use oregano in money mixtures and sachets to invoke these magical qualities. Don’t know anyone who has gotten rich from this magical quality of oregano; maybe I’ll be the first.
On a cool evening, nestled by the fire in my mountain, desert home, I might make a warm, spicy tea to settle the stomach or soothe a cough, using one or two teaspoons of dried oregano per cup of boiling water. Let it steep for ten minutes. This will be my ‘joy-of-the-mountains’.