On a recent purchasing binge at David's Tea, I came across a mysterious and unfamiliar herbal offering called 'Greek Mountain Tea.' The description suggested the tea was comprised of only one herb, Sideritis, exclusively regional to the nation of Greece.
The name "Sideritis" can be translated to "he who is or has the iron" and the Sideritis plant has been traced back to ancient Greek society, specifically associated with Dioscorides and Theophrastus. In ancient times, Sideritis was used as a generic term for plants that could heal wounds caused by iron weapons during battle. I've indicated many times before that I have a love of ancient foods: legumes, grains and mysterious herbs that have stood the test of time are dearer to my heart than any broccoflower could ever manage. These foods connect us with our forefathers and they are the least processed and most healthy because they have stood the test of time.
My very favourite nugget of wisdom about Sideritis is that the plant is found on rocky slopes at elevations over 1000 meters. These tenacious, hardy flowering perennials have adapted to survive with very little water and soil. In my favourite scene in the movie Sideways, the protagonist, Miles, describes a Pinot grape in a similar way. He feels that a plant that fights so hard to survive must generate a more compelling outcome /flavour based sheerly on the Darwinian struggle. I think it's a compelling theory. You can watch that famous video clip below.
Today, Sideritis is still used as a herb in the preparation of tea. Stems, leaves and flowers are boiled with water and then served with honey and lemon.
Sideritis has been most famously used to aid digestion and respitory ailments, strengthening the immune system and suppressing the common cold, flu, allergies, shortness of breath, and sinus congestion.
But that's not all it's good for!
Modern tests have indicated that the tea helps in the prevention of osteoporosis while its anti-oxidant properties aid in the prevention of cancer. Studies of Sideritis also indicate a positive effect on almost anything that ails the human body, with its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties.
Take a whiff of the herb and you'll understand all these purported health benefits. The mere aroma of Sideritis is enough to add a little hair on your chest.
Give it a whirl today!