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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Origanum Syriacum
Alternative Names: Lebanese Oregano, Ezof, Syrian Oregano.

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Origanum Syriacum


  • Perennial
  • Za'atar, also known as Syrian oregano, Wild Middle-Eastern Oregano and Majorana syriaca is native to the Middle East.
  • It is believed to be the 'hyssop' mentioned in the bible.
  • Za'atar is an Arabic word that has been translated into English with varying spellings (including za'tar, za'atar and zahtar).
  • In Modern Hebrew, it is called ezov, and it may have been the ezov of Classical Hebrew.
  • In many English translations of the Bible, ezov is rendered as hyssop, hence the common name bible hyssop.
  • However, in English, hyssop generally refers to a different plant.
  • Zatar is the most economically important wild plant in Lebanon, where it grows wild in the mountains.
  • Zatar is a frost hardy, woody perennial with stiff, erect, hairy stems and blunt, ovate leaves that can grow up to 50cm high.
  • It produces white to pale pink flowers in spring and is very aromatic.
  • Zatar prefers full sun and well drained soil.

Culinary Uses

  • Zatar is indispensable in Lebanese cuisine and a popular seasoning throughout the Middle East.
  • The leaves are used fresh or dried and crushed.
  • It is the keystone herb in the spice mixture that is also called Zaatar - dried and powdered Za'atar is mixed with garlic, salt, olive oil, and crushed sumac seeds and spread on bread.

Parts Used

  • The leaves and flowering tops.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Zaatar is one of the sources of the antiseptic essential oil known as carvacrol, which (along with other terpenoids such as thymol), inhibits several kinds of nasty bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa) by eroding the bacterial cell wall.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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