Mountain Tea

The genus Sideritis includes more than 140 species and subspecies that grow mainly in the northern hemisphere. Greece is particularly rich in endemic plant species of the genus Sideritis found across the country from Macedonia to Crete at an altitude ranging from 500 to 2000 meters.

Sideritis scardica (Griseb), commonly know as mountain tea of Olympus, is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows wild on rocky places and at an altitude of 1,000 m. and above, on Mt. Olympus, Mt. Kissavos and Mt. Pelion.


In Greece it is known since antiquity and is first mentioned by Theophrastus (372-287 BC) and Dioscorides (10 AD). The scientific name Sideritis comes from the Greek word “sidiros” meaning iron and was given to the plant because of its ability to heal the wounds caused by iron objects. According to others it was named Sideritis because it is a natural source of iron, as drinks made of the plant contain iron. A third view holds that the name is due to the shape of the teeth of the plants calyx, that resemble spearheads.

Today mountain tea is much preferred by most Greeks, especially during the winter months, because of its beneficial effect against colds and infections of the upper respiratory system, that it is enhanced by adding honey.
Its beneficial effects are due to the anti-inflammatory, bacteriostatic and antioxidant properties of mountain tea.
It is also effective in soothing the stomach, it is an excellent tonic and stimulant, thanks to its iron (Fe) content.

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