Greek Mountain Tea is known as Sideritis Syriaca and is made using the dried leaves and flowers of this plant. The beverage derived from this plant is also known as Shepherd's Tea because Greek shepherds would use the plants to make a brewed tea while tending their sheep in the hills.
There are around 17 varieties of mountain tea. Sideritis syriaca from Crete is one of them, known as Malotira, meaning, from the Italian, pulling away the harm.
Sideritis means also ‘made of iron’ as in ancient times it was believed that the herb was used to heal wounds from iron spears, while others believe that the name comes from the spear-like shape. Alternatively, it is considered that the word derives from the Greek word mallotos (= hairy) because of the fluffy leaves.
In ancient times ordinary people were educated about botanical medicine through Aristophanes, who incorporated information about the benefits and uses of herbs in his plays.
Until today, many rural folk use herbs to make teas to treat all kinds of conditions. For thousands of years, Sideritis has been used by the majority of the Cretan people as a remedy, but in very recent years a great deal of international research has focused on the impressive benefits of mountain tea.
Mountain tea, has a high phyto-nutrient content that protects it from UV rays and other elements, and usually grows in rocky places at an altitude of 1000 meters and above.
The tea is a pure and natural product, and the wild-grown plants are harvested by hand. It is free of any artificial ingredients, colourings or flavourings, and is NOT subject to any forced or inorganic farming techniques.
The plant has been scientifically shown to offer a multitude of important health benefits as it has powerful antioxidant qualities previously recognized only in green tea.
Although caffeine free, it is known to boost the immune system; drinking two to three cups of mountain tea every day is thought to help prevent or fight flu symptoms and stress-related ailments such as chest infections, a foggy head, digestive complaints, fatigue and anxiety.
Research has indicated that the Greek Mountain Tea helps in the prevention of osteoporosis while its anti-oxidant properties aid in the prevention of cancer. The research also indicates that Greek Mountain Tea has a positive effect on almost anything that ails.
Traditionally, it is used in combating colds and flu, respiratory problems, aiding digestion, strengthening the immune system, and calming anxiety. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and to reduce fever.