Origanum Syriacum

Origanum Syriacum

Origanum Syriacum
Origanum Syriacum, the true Zaatar Plant.

Known by many other names:

  • Wild Zaatar Oregano
  • Lebanese Oregano
  • Holy Hyssop
  • Syrian Oregano
  • Bible Hyssop


Origanum Syriacum grows wild throughout the mountain regions of Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Syria (Syria = SYRIAcum).

Out of all the different plant varieties of Zaatar that I grow, Origanum Syriacum has the greatest numbing effect on the tongue, especially when eaten fresh.  So strong that I would not be surprised if the people in Middle Eastern history, chewed on this plant before dental work, haha.

Origanum Syriacum Flowers
Flower clusters of Origanum Syriacum

I will also admit that out of all the different plant varieties of Zaatar that I grow, Origanum Syriacum is the most difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, this plant is TOUGH, its growth patterns spreads almost like mint and bugs LOVE this plant.

When you smell Origanum Syriacum, is blends the scents of Thyme, Oregano and Marjoram.  There are many people that, when creating their own Zahtar mix, use oregano, thyme and marjoram to mimic the smell and taste of this one plant.

Origanum Syriacum can grow all year round (I cover the plant if temperatures go below freezing).  Although the plant can be grown all year-round, spring and summer is the only time in which the leaves are at their highest potency and edible.

Origanum Syriacum produces an essiential oil, carvacrol.  Carcacrol possesses antiseptic properties.  Origanum Syriacum also has thymol, a terpenoid that helps inhibit harmful bacteria.  Thymol is also an active ingredient in most commercially produced cleansing mouthwashes.

I typically get about 3 cuttings from this plant throughout the year.  This plant is a heavy producer of leaves.

This plant grows straight upwards to about 2.5 feet.

It can take really hot weather, also with minimal water intake, in fact the less water it receives the stronger the smell and flavor become.

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Drying Zaatar Herbs

About three (3) times a year you can cut your Zaatar plants to use.

Bundle of Zaatar
Freshly cut bundle of Zaatar.

Growing not just Zaatar plants but any herb plant is extremely easy.

Freshly Cut Zaatar
Cutting fresh Zaatar from my garden.

After you cut your Zaatar herbs you must wash them in cold water, let them sit for awhile so you can ensure that all, if any, bugs are flushed out.

Cleaning Zaatar
Cleaning the Zaatar before drying.

Ensure that after washing off your Zaatar that the leaves are as dry as they can be.

DO NOT leave too much water on the leaves of the Zaatar or the color will darken/blacken and the taste will diminish.

The best way, in my opinion to ensure that as much water gets removed from the leaves is by utilizing a salad spinner.

Salad Spinner Zaatar
A salad spinner is the best way to dry wet Zaatar leaves.

Set your Zaatar in a dark room, spread out evenly and temperature ranging from 70-75 degrees F.  Ensure that, at least, for the first day that there is air movement in the drying room (a small fan would do).

Collection of Zaatar
Zaatar before drying

Then after three (3) days your Zaatar herbs are completely dry.

Dried Zaatar
Zaatar fully dried.