Sideritis (Gr: Σιδερίτης), also known as ironwort, mountain tea and shepherd's tea, is a genus of flowering plants well known for their use as herbal medicine, commonly as an herbal tea. They are abundant in Mediterranean regions, the Balkans, the Iberian Peninsula and Macaronesia.
History and etymology
In Greek "Sideritis" can be literally translated as "he who is made of or has iron". The plant was known to ancient Greeks, specifically Pedanius Dioscorides and Theophrastus. Although Dioscorides describes three species, only one (probably S. scordioides) is thought to belong to Sideritis. In ancient times Sideritis was a generic reference for plants capable of healing wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. However others hold that the name stems from the shape of the sepal which resembles the tip of a spear.
Sideritis Benefits to Health and Beaty.
Indeed sideritis (and malotira) is a pleasant herbal remedy for a sore throat, a great aid in any disease of the respiratory system, possessing soothing and healing properties, as well as a healing cure for ailments of the digestive tract. These actions, known since antiquity, have been confirmed by recent scientific studies, along with its mild anti-anxiety action and its anti-inflamatory properties.
The percentage of flavonoids, monoterpenoids, diterpenoids, phenylopropanole, iridoids and carvacrol included in sideritis ascertain anti-oxidant, anti-infectuous, and pain reducing properties. It is bacteriostatic, disinfectant, diuretic, stimulant, antianaemic, detoxifier and combats diarrhea. Specifically the essential oil of the malotira, the Cretan variety, is especially helpful in fighting microbes, while the essences of Siderities euboea and Sideritis clandestina aid in the prevention of osteoporosis by augmenting the resistance of the bone with regular use.
In cosmetics, sideritis is only recently being exploited as a rich source of antioxidants, which help face creams claim better performance in anti-aging (due to fighting free radicals more effectively) and shampoos/hair preparations for colored and natural hair that better perform against the decolorizing and damage due to daily exposure to UV radiation. Greek brand Korres is among the pioneers of putting sideritis in their cosmetics, backed up by university research by teams working for the University of Patra, Ioannina and Athens.Comparison of odor profile of SIDERITIS/Mountain tea with REGULAR TEAWhile regular black tea is rich in polyphenols, that tannic profile lends a smoky, more pungent and bitter profile to its flavor. Mountain tea on the other hand is different: the lower ratio of tannins, the lack of caffeine and the iris-like ingredients make for a light, ethereal and innocent wooly aroma that will remind you of the wild Greek hillsides. The infusion gains a honey-golden shade with a tinge of green. A drop of honey, especially Greek thyme honey, rich in herbal aromatic facets itself, enhances the flavor and heightens the experience. A stick of cinnamon or a slice of lemon are also good accompaniments in that cup of mountain tea you're brewing. Come winter and it's great to sip some when unwinding at home.