An article posted by Tasting Table highlighted the unique and long-standing tradition of Greek mountain tea, made from the Sideritis plant, which has been consumed for thousands of years due to its medicinal qualities. Unlike popular caffeinated teas like green or black, Greek mountain tea is naturally caffeine-free and is considered an herbal beverage, offering a broad range of uses beyond just brewing, including as a flavoring in sweet and savory dishes.
Scientific research has demonstrated that Greek mountain tea possesses comparable antioxidant properties to those found in green tea, and that the plant’s oil extracts have antimicrobial properties. Furthermore, research has suggested that it may have positive effects on mental health, including easing depression and sleep apnea. Nevertheless, the strength of the tea can fluctuate, and it is essential to acquire it from reputable sources while checking the packaging dates.
Greek mountain tea is extensively accessible online, in Greek supermarkets, and herb stores. As a member of the Sideritis genus, which comprises over 160 species of flowering plants found in the rocky, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia, it offers significantly greater variability than many other tea varieties. The name Sideritis derives from the Greek term “sideros,” meaning iron. The ancient Greeks used the plant as a treatment for battle injuries, believing that the iron in the plant had healing properties and could speed up the recovery process. The plant is well-suited to harsh growing environments, such as high altitudes, little water, and poor soil.
As a result, the Sideritis plant has been utilized in traditional medicine and cuisine throughout the Mediterranean region for centuries. Even the father of medicine, Hippocrates, promoted the health benefits of Greek tea, implying that the reputation of this natural remedy has withstood the test of time.