Learn how to make Greek mountain tea (sideritis) and the miraculous properties of this healing herb for better health and mental enhancement.
In the scenic landscapes of Greece, where ancient traditions blend with natural wonders, one can discover a hidden gem of Greek flora - Greek Mountain Tea.
This traditional herb, also known as Shepherd's Tea or Sideritis tea, has been cherished for centuries by the Greeks for its unique flavor and numerous health benefits.
Herbal teas have been an integral part of Greek culture since ancient times. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, considered nutrition one of the main tools that a doctor can use.
And the Greeks, known for their profound appreciation of nature's bounty, recognized the healing properties of various plants. Among the diverse array of herbal teas enjoyed in ancient Greece, Greek Mountain Tea held a special place.
What is Greek Mountain Tea?
This herbal tea called "tsai tou vounou" in Greek is derived from the leaves and stems of the Sideritis plant, also known as ironwort. This remarkable plant thrives in the rocky slopes of Greece's high elevations, as well as in other areas of the Mediterranean region.
Ironwort has many subspecies such as Sideritis scardica, Sideritis perfoliata, Sideritis clandestina and Sideritis syriaca which can be found in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
The name "Sideritis" originates from the Greek word "sideros" meaning iron, as the plant was believed to heal wounds caused by iron weapons. Another explanation is that the name comes from the shape of the sepal, which resembles the tip of a spear.
The tea is prepared by steeping the dried flowers, stems, and leaves of the Sideritis plant in hot water, releasing its beneficial compounds.
What does greek mountain tea taste like?
It is often described as having a mild taste and pleasant aroma with herbal, mineral, citrus and floral notes.
Some people describe it of having grassy and earthy undertones while others say it reminds them of a blend of mint, chamomile and sage taste with subtle sweetness and a soothing, natural charm.
Greek Mountain Tea is renowned for its numerous health benefits, backed by both ancient wisdom and modern science.
1. Boosts the Immune System: Packed with high levels of antioxidants, it helps strengthen the body's immune system and protect against oxidative stress. Regular consumption may contribute to overall health and well-being.
2. Supports Respiratory Health: This herbal tea has been traditionally used to alleviate flu symptoms and has a positive effect on respiratory problems and lung conditions making it a popular choice during cold seasons.
Recent studies suggest that the tea may have positive effects on the respiratory system, providing relief from coughs and sore throats.
3. Promotes Heart Health: Scientific studies have shown that it exhibits properties that may help lower blood pressure and support cardiovascular health.
Its antioxidant-rich composition, including compounds like chlorogenic acid, contributes to the well-being of the heart muscle and blood vessels.
4. Enhances Cognitive Function: Research has indicated that Greek mountain tea may have a positive impact on cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer's disease.
The tea's beneficial compounds can improve cerebral blood flow and protect against age-related cognitive impairments.
Additionally, according to Planta Medica studies have found that it can offer mental enhancement and help with anxiety and depression.
5. Relieves from gastrointestinal problems: Gastric ulcers pose a major challenge to health. Greek mountain tea, with its gentle and soothing nature provides relief from gastrointestinal problems, making it an ideal choice for those seeking natural remedies.
There haven't been observed any side effects or negative effects of Sideritis tea. Also, it is naturally caffeine-free something which means you can enjoy it any time of the day or night.
- 1 tablespoon of dried Greek Mountain Tea (loose tea or in tea bags)
- 1 cup of boiling water
- Optional: Lemon juice or honey for added flavor
To make Greek mountain tea, follow these simple steps:
Step 1. Boil the Water: In a small pot, bring the water to a boil (the hot water will extract the tea's aromatic and medicinal properties).
Step 2. Infuse the Tea: Add the dried Greek Mountain Tea to the boiling water. Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes, allowing the tea to release its mild and refreshing taste.
Step 3. Strain and Serve: After steeping, pass the tea through a strainer into a cup. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of honey to enhance the flavor.
Greek Mountain Tea can be enjoyed hot or chilled, depending on your preference.
You can mix Sideritis with other herbs to make interesting blends.
Chamomile, sage, mint, marjoram, lavender, lemon verbena, or ginger will make interesting additions and will offer additional health benefits.
Greek mountain tea, once cold, can be stored in the fridge. For the best taste and quality, it is recommended to consume the brewed mountain tea within the first day or two after brewing.
Store it in an airtight sealed container (a glass jar with a lid is perfect for this) to preserve its flavor and protect it from oxidation.
What is Greek mountain tea: recipe & health benefits
- 1 pot or kettle
- 1 cup
- 1 strainer
- 1 tablespoon of dried Greek mountain tea, loose or in tea bags
- 1 cup of hot water
- Optional: Lemon juice or honey for added flavor
- Boil the water: In a small pot or kettle, bring the water to a boil.
- Infuse the tea: Add the dried Greek Mountain Tea to the boiling water and stir with a spoon. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and serve: After steeping, strain the tea into a cup or teapot. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of honey to enhance the flavor.
There isn't a recommended amount of tea you should drink. According to Greek tradition, at least one cup per day is fine.
Grandmothers often emphasize the importance of this daily ritual to support the immune system and benefit from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Recent research conducted by The German Sleep Society (DGSM) explored the sleep-enhancing properties of this sideritis tea.
With its calming nature, absence of caffeine, and relaxing qualities, Sideritis proves to be an ideal natural beverage to incorporate into a healthy sleep routine.
It can help create a soothing atmosphere for a restful slumber and guide you into a peaceful, relaxed sleep.
It is recognized for its mild analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory attributes.
Dating back to ancient times, this herbal infusion has been utilized by the Greeks to alleviate symptoms of colds, aches, allergies, respiratory issues, and to strengthen the immune system.
Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable ally in maintaining overall well-being
This Tea aligns harmoniously with the Mediterranean diet, known for its emphasis on fresh produce and herbs.
It complements the healthy lifestyle choices prevalent in the region and contributes to the overall well-being of those who incorporate it into their daily routines.
Yes, it is a herb rich in iron and therefore beneficial in protecting against anemia. By incorporating Greek mountain tea into your routine, you can enjoy its iron content along with its myriad of other health advantages.