The number of herbs and spice-producing plants that grow naturally on the island are impressive; you might be surprised how different a meal tastes with the addition of a few herbs & spices.
Rigani (oregano) is used a lot in Greek cooking used in most meat dishes, baked vegetables, and in sauces. This is the most widely used herb.
Among the other herbs which grow on the hillsides dendrolivano (rosemary) is used sparingly.
Thymari (thyme) is used in some meat dishes and for flavoring some olives as well as Greek honey.
Faskomilo (sage) can be found all over the mountains and its smell is overpowering usually used in a tea, although it is claimed to having soothing healing properties for various ailments or as a stuffing.
Diosmos (mint) is used to flavor keftedes (meatballs) and in some pies and salads. Vassilikos (basil) grows incredibly well due to the climate and is actually only now becoming popular in various dishes from the influence of our neighboring country Italy.
The Greeks actually grow Basil ornamentally or for good luck in gardens, apartments, on rooftops, in restaurants and even on boats, they say that it also chases away the persistent Mosquito! Anitho (dill) is used in pitas (pies), salads and dolmadas (stuffed vine leaves).
Maidanos (parsley) is used as a garnish as well as in some meat and vegetable dishes.
Dafnofila (bay leaves) are used in almost some of the soups and stews or even in with Pasta dishes.
Selino (celery) is actually wild and is used in the majority of stews, particularly in the hirino (pork dishes) usually a winter dish.
Garifalo (cloves) are an important ingredient in stifado (beef with baby onions) although it is also used in breads and sweets. Kymino (cumin) is used in soutzoukakia, (meatballs in tomato sauce).
Sousami (sesame seeds) are used in breads and in halva and with honey to make a sweet called pasteli.
Kanela (cinnamon) is used in many sauces and deserts and it is sprinkled on apples for a desert after a big meal.
Perhaps one can understand now why the Greek cuisine is so healthy, not to mention tasty!