Greek Mountain Tea and Its Healing Properties

greek mountain tea
Greek mountain tea is purported to have a range of healing properties. Credit: Kimchifan/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Greeks are not known for their love for tea, as are for example the British, Russians, and Turks. However, when it comes to tea, the first variety that a Greek would think of is ”Chai tou vounou,” or Greek mountain tea.

“Sideritis,” as it is officially known, has been used since ancient times as a medicine, as well as a refreshment.

Ancient, medieval, and modern Greeks also used this herb to boost energy and memory, and up to the present day, it continues to be by far the most popular and famous herbal tea in the country.

The term “sideritis” actually comes from the name used by Ancient Greeks for this herb.
Meaning “that which contains iron.” Sideritis was used as medicine since it is perfect for treating sore throats or the common cold and it is caffeine-free.

Many visitors to Greece in the winter may have been offered a nice hot cup of mountain tea, which is traditionally consumed without milk.

Ancient Greek biologist Theophrastus, who lived from 372 to 287 BC and is considered to be the father of botany, wrote that sideritis was so named because its properties were suited to treating wounds caused by iron objects.

Thus, Ancient Greeks not only believed it was a refreshment and a remedy for the common winter cold but also a medicine for far more serious conditions, including injuries.

In modern times, the beneficial properties of Ancient Greek mountain tea have been known for decades, as shown by scientific studies conducted around the world.

Some studies even suggest that Greek mountain tea can be a powerful friend in our fight against Alzheimer’s disease, due to its energy-boosting properties that keep the brain active.

greek mountain tea
Sideritis, the Greek mountain tea herb. Credit: Deyan Vasilev/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Greek mountain tea is popular throughout the Mediterranean with many health benefits

It must be noted that the term “Greek mountain tea” does not actually mean, however, that this variety of tea is solely Greek.

The sideritis herb can be found in abundance in most Mediterranean regions, from the Iberian peninsula all the way to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Its consumption, however, is very popular in the southern parts of the Balkan peninsula and Turkey.

Common usage in Greece

Greek mountain tea is mainly used as a treatment for its beneficial effects on colds and upper respiratory tract infections. For this reason, it is predominately drunk in the winter in Greece.

Many also drink it for indigestion and gastrointestinal disorders and it is even considered an anticonvulsant as well.

Greek mountain tea is quite rich in vitamin C. Traces of theobromine can also be found, a diuretic, which acts on the respiratory system.

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