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Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

By Louise Harmon

[Snip] Oregano’s genesis is attributed to the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, who created the herb in her garden on Mount Olympus as a symbol of joy. The name ‘Oregano’ is derived from the Greek words ‘oros’ meaning mountain and ‘ganos’ meaning joy.

Greek couples were crowned with Oregano at their nuptials as a symbol of happiness, love and honor and the herb was placed on the graves of the deceased to bring peace to their spirits. The Romans helped to spread Oregano throughout their empire into Europe and northern Africa, where it was used to flavor meats, fish and wine. Eventually, Oregano found its way into China via the spice road, where its healing properties were highly prized. The English used Oregano as an additive to snuff- a powdered tobacco product often flavored with ingredients such as vanilla, cherry, orange, cinnamon, and snuffed into the nose. It was not until World War II, when American soldiers returned from Italy, that Oregano came ashore in the United States.

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