Greek Mountain Tea - the essence of the Mediterranean Diet
Greece provides the perfect mountainous habitat for a vast number of health-giving plants and herbs, perhaps the best known of which is Greek mountain tea, or Τσάι του βουνού (Tsái tou vounoú) as they call it in Greece. Greek Mountain tea – belongs to the Sideritis genus of flowering plants, of which there are over 150 different species known. It grows at high altitudes, usually over 1000m, with little or no soil and can often be found on the surface of rocks.
Consumption of Greek mountain tea dates back to ancient civilization in Greece, when the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, hailed its benefits for the immune and respiratory systems. According to Greek mythology, it was also the drink of the Titans and Greek grandmothers are still known to urge their grandchildren to drink at least one cup per day to make them as strong as a Titan as part of their Mediterranean diet.
Continuing this tradition of natural health and well-being, our OLIFE.bio mountain tea provides a deliciously healthy, caffeine-free, herbal tea infusion made from the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Sideritis plant. It is 100% biologically certified and sustainably farmed by our young neighbour and friend, Thomas Sionis, who lives in the mountains close to Kalavrita on the North Peloponnes, at about 1200m above sea-level. Thomas and his family harvests the tea by hand during early summer mornings, when the temperature is still cool and the yellow flowers are in full bloom. He then chooses only the most pristine flowers for air-drying in well-ventilated barns and packaging at his home in Kalavrita. After that, it is ready to make its way to us, so we can bring this key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet to our family and friends in Northern Europe.
There are two simple ways of making Mountain Tea. The most traditional method for one serving is to add a small handful of the herb to water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow the tea to boil for a few minutes and then remove the pot or saucepan from the heat. Allow to steep an additional 5 minutes and then strain into a mug or cup. Alternatively, you can simply pour boiling water over the plant. Note that it is important to use all parts of the plant and not just the flowers. This is not only proven by the traditional use, but scientific analyses have also shown that the healthiness of the tea lies in the mix of all the plants components: leafs, stems and flowers. You will appreciate this tea for its vibrant herbal green and simple citrus flavours – which can easily be paired with honey and/or a dash of lemon juice – or simply drunk on its own as a soothing, refreshing and above all healthy drink at anytime of the day.