ALL KEKIK, ALL OREGANO?


Kekik, this Turkish word is used in Turkish language for so many different plants, that a dictionary is nont able to give only approximately a complete list of these plants again. (Langenscheidts pocket dictionary: Kekik=Thymian, the large Turkish-German dictionary Steuerwald: Kekik = thymian, thymus vulgaris and Satureja hortensis. Steuerwald approaches the thing somewhat, it mentions Güvey Otu=Origanum vulgare also here.)
How many different plants aredesignated as Kekik? Numerous plant types from different kinds of the family Lamiaceae = Labiatae (too German lip bloom plant) are called Kekik. However it is not so simple. Actually there are also numerous local names for all these plant types. Times the word Kekik is used, times a local name, depending on, where and with whom about a plant one speaks.

Kekik is rather a generic term for several plant types from different kinds of the family Labiatae. After Professor Hüsnü Can Baser, director of the medical and aromatic plant and drug research centre at the Anadolu university in Eskisehir (TBAM) are designated several plant types of the kinds Origanum, Thymbra, Coridothymus, Satureja and thymus as Kekik.

After Professor Baser (one speaks: Basher) are exported the most frequently following "Kekik" kinds from Turkey: Those are the plant types of the kind Origanum O.onites, O.vulgare subsp. hirtum, O.minutiflorum, O.majorana, O.syriacum var. bevanii. There are however further Kekik kinds from other kinds, which are acted likewise: Coridothymus capitatus (from the kind Coridothymus), Thymbra spicata and Thymbra sintenisii (from the kind Thymbra), Satureja cuneifolia, Satureja hortensis, Satureja montana, Satureja spicigera (from the kind Satureja), thymus eigii (from the kind thymus). After Professor Baser all these plant types have a community: They contain many ethereal oils and the most important component thereby are either Carvacrol or thymol.

World-wide 52 plants of the kind Origanum exist. In Turkey grow 32 Origanum plants, which belong to the 22 Origanum plant types. From the 32 Origanum species, which grow in Turkey, 21 plants grow exclusively in Turkey (endemic). Which one knows in Europe as Oregano, is always a mixture. In addition Dr.Oetker encyclopedia (food and nutrition, Professor Karl Herrmann): Oregano consists O.vulgare L and O.onites L of the herb or the sheets of several Origanum kinds, e.g.. If Oregano comes from Turkey, it is frequently also a mixture of what the Turks call Kekik. How do the mixtures develop? Depending on, from where the commodity comes and which price is to be paid. For each price range, which the importer is ready to pay there is a mixture. It is all Kekik, which the collecting tanks (farmers) call Kekik. They have naturally no notion of the botany. They collect in the high country, in the flat country, in the forest and at the mountain-slopes.

One observes a development in the last years that the importers from all over the world want to have Origanum onites, a Origanum kind. That led to the fact that this plant type of the kind Origanum has been cultivated in the Aegaen Region in addition, in the region around Antalya. Origanum onites is the Origanum kind, which is exported at most. Whether that is always and exported without exception as pure Origanum onites, is posed there.
We made ourselves the task to offer pure plant types and/or sorts from the kind Origanum in the European market. Why? We think, it are a question of time that one will partly differentiate the different plants of the kind Origanum in Europe. Depending upon taste and use!

Did you try Origanum tea? In Turkey it is far spread. And which kind is best suitable for it? Origanum minutiflorum! That is an opinion. Many prefer however Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum as tae perhaps, because they do not know Origanum minutiflorum. Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum one knows as "Istanbul Kekigi", it has a much larger circulation area than Origanum minutiflorum, which only grows in a small area (measures against extermination of the forest administration andof the farmer cooperatives was met.)

The farmers sell to the dealers frequently "sivri kekik", the dealers show the commodity further to the exporter, always as a mixture. And what is "sivri kekik"? Thymbra sintenisii from the kind Thymbra! (we do not want to say that this plant is inferior. Only so much that it is not Origanum)

What does one make with the Oregano, after one won of it the oil? Professor Baser says that the research resulted in that one can win of it raw materials for the cosmetic industry. It is however not yet so far, one uses the de-oiled Oregano occasionally also differently. Minor commodity also results from the fact that after the oil extraction the Oregano is again dried and mixed into the dried commodity.

The prices result from different factors, it depends above all on how cumbersome the picking is (like how much one can pick on a day and where one picks) and how closely the respective sort grows in an area. There are high-quality sorts or kinds, for which the picker wants to have 3 euro per kilo, after he had to live in the summer pastures for 2 months. How develop however the world prices of 2,50 euro carriage free? Is the rumor correct that an exporter sold Oregano already for 1 $ per kilo ?

Then there is the mischief of competition among the farmers! Everyone wants to be first when picking! That leads to the fact that the plants are picked prematurely, i.e. before the bloom time with according low oil rate. This problem does not develop however during the controlled wild collection and/or with organic farming (biocertified).

The prices (the various mixtures) orient themselves after their oil rate, since a large market for Oregano oil exists. There are however large fluctuations of the oil rate of the individual Oregano kinds. These depend on which (Chemo)type was examined by a kind and likewise on the picking date. Professor Baser gives the following numbers for the individual kinds: O.onites 1-5 %, O.vulgare subsp. Hirtum 1-7 %, O.minutiflorum 1-4 %, O.syriacum var. bevanii 3.7-5 % a one chemotype of the O.majorana from Antalya 5-8 %. To differentiate between the different types of a kind bring probably further problems, here will help the local names.

Mountain Teas
Herb Teas



On the following pages you can find landscape photographs from the Taurus Mountain (taken: eastern of Antalya). In the pictures you can recognize different mountain tea places.
The mountain tea is picked in free nature in southern Turkey on the high country of Antalya. There are the high mountain-slopes of the Taurus mountains, faraway from roads and motor traffic, no industrial …. >>>>
The name betrays some: Tea for drinking and the plant grows on the mountains.

The name "mountain tea" causes immediately associations with the few connoisseurs: "Greek mountain tea".
A Austrian food book (Codex alimentarius Austriacus) describes it in such a way in the section "tae-similar products": "Greek mountain tea consists of the dried, aboveground parts of Sideritis scardica...>>>>

All kekik, all oregano ?
Kekik, this Turkish word is used in Turkish language for so many different plants, that a dictionary is nont able to give only approximately a complete list of these plants again
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