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Toad Hollow's Dittany-of-Crete:

Origanum dictamus, Diktamos, Hop Marjoram, Winter Sweet  or Dittany of Crete is grown on the Isle of Crete where it is considered to be a magic herb.  The locals call it "eronda," which means love, for its aphrodisiac properties. It has fragrant flowers and aromatic silver-gray velvet foliage. Toad Hollow's best quality dried Dittany of Crete herb, consisting of flowering tops and leaves is pictured below

 

As a medicinal herb, Dittany of Crete has been used to heal wounds, cure snake bites, soothe pain and ease childbirth. Virgil mentions it in this verse from The Aeneid:

A branch of healing Dittany she brought
Which in the Cretan fields with care she sought
Rough is the stem, which woolly leaves surround
The leaves with flowers, the flowers with purple crowned.
Well known to goats; a sure relief
To draw the pointed steel and ease the grief.

Madame Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society and pioneer esotericist of our age, considered Dittany of Crete to be one of the most powerful of all magical plants. It is said to drive away all illness-causing influences when burned in incense. The smoke from Dittany of Crete incense strengthens the subliminal shield which surrounds us, protecting against damaging negative energy while connecting us to the source of our inner strength. It is calming and harmonizing in cases of fear and nervousness.
 
Dittany of Crete is a visionary ally for psychic awareness and  inspiration. The herb will help when seeking wisdom from those who live between lives, best used on the occasion of All Hallow's Eve. Mix with vanilla, benzoin and sandalwood to make an astral projection incense. Another recipe, this one for a "Spiritualist's Powder," calls for Patchouly, Gum Mastic, Cinnamon and Dittany of Crete.
 
We recommend this source for information about Dittany of Crete, and other aromatic and spiritually strengthening herbs: Suzanne Fischer-Rizzi. The Complete Incense Book. The original ritual purpose of incense burning was to unlock the ancient wisdom of the connection between man and plant. This lavishly illustrated book covers incense plants by geographic region and provides instructions for preparing incense.
Inspired by the recipes in Suzanne's book, I created a beautiful blend of dittany, gum mastic, garden sage, lavender and coriander seed... in equal parts except two times as much gum mastic. First I gently pounded the mastic and the coriander seed in a mortar and pestle, then I added the rest of the ingredients and ground them down to a uniform powder. I used a thin mica plate over my hot charcoal to gently release the lovely aroma of the mastic resin and the herbs.
 
For the ultimate sensual aromatic experience, mix your ground herbal blend into a bit of labdanum ("rock rose") resin and form into little balls. They will simmer on the mica plate and release an aroma that is simply to die for. We thoroughly recommend that you try this at home!
 
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More Herb Links: Dittany-of-Crete  Herb Bibliography  Anita's Incense  

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