Herbs of the Holyland by Nissim Krispil

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Common name:


Synonym name:


Hebrew name:

אזוב מצוי

Scientific name:

Majorana syriaca



Arabic name:

זעתר زوفا نبات

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perennial plant
0.3 - 0.6 m
Flowering color:
Flowering period:
Growing areas:
Origanum grows wild in rocky grounds, scrub, Grieg and limestone soils. Grows in the coast of Galilee, in the Zevulun Valley, Carmel Coast, Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, Samaria, inner coastal plain, in the Judean Mountains, northern Negev, Negev Highlands, Gilboa, Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights.
Origanum  (oregano) belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It grows in most parts of Israel in rocky and hard soil areas. The plant has upright branches; its leaves are egg-shaped and covered with tiny hairs in green - gray color. The flowers are small and soft and grow like spikelet, in white color.
In the folk medicine Origanum is used to treat abdominal pain, nausea, intestinal worms, colds, cough, headaches, ear pain, gingivitis, eczema and even more. 
Treatment For stomach aches, nausea, colds, coughs, headaches and more.
Dip a heaping tablespoon of dried or green leaves in a glass of boiled water. Wait for 5 min, sweeten with honey and drink. 
oregano oil: we Pour olive oil into a glass jar until it half full, into the oil we put  leaves and stems of oregano until the oil level rises up to the jar edge. we cover it and place in a window that facing the sun most of the day for one to two weeks. The essential oil in the oregano leaves mixes with the olive oil and you receive oregano oil. 
Drinking a tablespoon of oregano oil each day is beneficial for those who are suffering from stomach pain, nausea, coughing and worms in the stomach. 
Other way is to drip 5 drops of oregano oil on a sugar cube and suck. 
To relieve headaches you can massage the temples with oregano oil. 
Massaging the baby's chest with the oil is effective against cough and phlegm.
The oil is although effective for spreading between the toes for those with eczema or cracked skin. 
Oregano was named by the Israeli Arabs as Za'atar and it is mostly accepted as a medicinal herb and as a spice. In the Israeli Arabs markets you can find bags of za,atar covered with reddish layer of sumac. 
Za,atar  mixed with olive oil is used for foods, for seasoning pretzels, for making pies and Pastries, for 'Karras' - an Arabic food from onions and spices, and for seasoning meat and fish. 
Origanum (in the English bible translation, it is called hyssop) is mentioned in the Torah at Four places: in Egypt on Passover (Exodus  12,22), in purification of a leper (Leviticus 14,4), the burning of the red heifer (Numbers 19,6) and sprinkling on the impure dead (Numbers 19,18). 
Our ancestors knew the plant both for food and as a medicinal plant. Maimonides explains the essence of the plant in his commentary on the biblical issue of the red heifer "it is a herb special in its flavors, and is known to doctors, and people eat it and season foods with it and even mix it with honey to make its taste more gentle" (Red Cow 83,5b).