Greek tea of the mountain, also known as Greek mountain tea and shepherd’s tea ((Greek: tsai tou vounou – yes, it can be daunting to even try and say it!), is a tisane beverage made from the dried leaves and flowers of the plant Sideritis. Sideritis, or ironwort, is a flowering plant abundantly found on the rocky slopes of the mountains of Greece at elevations of about 1,000 meters. This plant is special as it is able to thrive in harsh climates and environments with hardly any soil and insufficient water.
Greek mountain tea is widely used today because of its many known health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-spasmodic qualities. These benefits were recognized since the ancient times of Greek physicians Pedanius Dioscorides and Theophrastus. The tea is also rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that fight chronic inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and some forms of cancers.
In 2012, researchers from the Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology have discovered that Greek mountain tea can actually aid in lowering blood pressure and relaxing the blood vessels. It also lessens pressure and tension in the heart muscles, which boosts overall cardiovascular wellbeing. Greek mountain tea relieves depression, anxiety, and general feelings of melancholy as well.
Greek mountain tea can also help strengthen the digestive tract. In another 2012 study published by Planta Medica, studies showed that drinking a cup of Greek mountain tea daily can inhibit gastrointestinal inflammation.
Aside from its potent health properties, Greek tea of the mountain is also used as a flavoring ingredient in cooking and preparing delicious Mediterranean and Cretan style meals. It can also be used as an accompanying brew.
If you have never tried this herbal tea before, then it is now time to taste it and experience all the life-giving benefits that comes with it. This simple tea is available in most groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other health and wellness stores in Greece. Outside of Greece, it can be found in rare niche shops or you can purchase it directly from Urbangrains’ site.