Mountain tea is part of the family Lamiaceae of the genus Sideritis. The genus includes over 100 species, mainly found in Mediterranean countries, the Canary Islands and North Asia. In Greece there are approximately 17 species of which the best known are:
- Tea Euboea: Sideritis Euboea,
- Tea Olympus: Sideritis Scardica,
- Tea Taygetus: Sideritis Clantestina
- Tea Crete (Malotira): Sideritis Syriaca,
- Tea Parnassus: SideritisRaeseri.
It is an aromatic, medicinal, herbaceous, perennial plant, although some species are annual. The part of the plant being collected is the inflorescence in full bloom together with 5-6 cm of stems. The flowering stems are typically dried so that they can be used for a long time.
Research shows that mountain tea has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-oxidant properties (some species are comparable to green tea), as well as antibacterial and immunomodulatory. It is also known for protecting the gastrointestinal tract, and contains substances with antidepressant functions.
In almost all Mediterranean countries it is used as a herb for various purposes. As a beverage it has many beneficial properties, which are due to components of its essential oil. The beverage is palatable and can be consumed hot or cold, plain or preferably with honey.
The quality is proportional to the altitude: increased height is typically associated with higher quality.
How to use:
Beverage preparation: Add some leaves and flowers of the herb to water (quantity of a cup) and boil for 5 minutes. Then strain it and drink it plain or with honey.
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