Greek mountain tea, or as the Greeks refer to as, ‘Tsai Tou Vounou,’ has been in use since antiquity.
With more than 100 different subspecies growing wild in the Mediterranean at altitudes higher than 1000 meters, Greek mountain tea has profound bioactive properties including essential oils, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, shown to offer anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti carcinogenic, and gastroprotective effects.
Its botanical name, Sideritis, is derived from the Greek sideros meaning iron, and is believed to be used to heal wounds caused by iron weapons. Traditionally, Greek mountain tea is used to improve psychological balance, to increase mental strength, and prevent age-related problems even prior to the discovered pharmacological evidence.
Today its medicinal properties have found their way into the medical field with extensive and rather exciting new research in brain and mental health. A review of the literature showed an array of neuroprotective properties and pharmacological activity within the central nervous system; increasing cerebral blood flow, improving cognitive performance, reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms, all collectively displaying profound neuroprotective effects. Most notably, it is shown to combat amyloid plaque aggregation and the associated neuroinflammation linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
On a personal note, I have always relished its earthy and floral taste, dancing with hints of mint and citrus. Filling my cup (and vessel) with Tsai Tou Vounou brings me something so soothing, calming, and grounding. Its smell is one that carries me back to the Greek mountains and to my ancestral home.
Most Greeks know this herbal remedy well and cherish what it brings with every sip. For those who are just now introduced, consider trying for a natural herbal remedy known to not only aid in brain health but to also strength the immune system, calm an upset stomach, prevent a cold, and warm the soul.
To brew a cup simply add to boiling water and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink alone or add lemon and honey. You will be so grateful you did!