from Sparta for your health

Greek mountain tea assists in prevention of psychological and physical ailments. Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dr. Pahnke, scientists from the University of Rostock and the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) found that a certain species of Greek mountain tea is helpful in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. The species scardica, of the genus Sideritis, was found to prompt a significant improvement of brain activity in laboratory mice.

Alzheimer's disease is caused by toxic waste deposits in the brain called amyloid plaques, a natural process that takes place in every human being. Subsequently, the body also has a "waste collection" process, which removes these toxins. Unfortunately, this waste collection ability is significantly reduced with increasing age and the toxic substances accumulate in the brain, triggering continual death of nerve cells.

 

A specific active ingredient in the plant Sideritis scardica, named Thiethylperazine, has the ability to bring this body's waste collection system back to its full capacity, and to literally cleanse the brain. In laboratory mice, it was found that by administering Sideritis scardica, 80% of the toxic protein deposits were removed. Of course, you do not have to wait until the brain is "covered” with plaques, but should begin to drink Sideritis scardica at a young age in order to prevent accumulation of such deposits.

 

 

Many researchers have found that Sideritis scardica benefits the central nervous system in general, and not only as a part of the "garbage collection".  In addition, a patent for Sideritis scardica has been prepared, with the aim of producing medication for ADHD children. The active ingredients in Sideritis scardica have also been found to be helpful in depression, sleeping difficulties and mental instability. Indeed, we receive regular positive feedback from customers supporting these claims. Unlike other herbal teas, such as St. John's Wort, Sideritis scardica was not observed to interfere with other forms of antidepressants.

 

Sideritis scardica has often been used as a base for research and dissertations at universities specialising in applied sciences. In addition to its influence on the central nervous system and the brain, its ability to correct disturbed bodily functions was identified in several areas. The best known is its alleviating effect on flu and cold, or in gastrointestinal problems. The fact that it also acts as an anti-aging agent because of its antioxidant action, is an additional positive side effect.

 

Greek mountain tea is like wine - each is different in taste. On the one hand there are cheap teas of unknown origin, and then there is the addictive flavour of the tea of Sparta Natura. As always in life, you have the choice between average and excellence. The aroma depends on variety (species), altitude, slope, soil conditions, microclimate and sunshine. Most importantly however, is the influence of the producer; through management and the method of drying, he can increase or completely destroy the essential oils. Simply put, the more exquisite the aroma and smooth the feeling, the more essential oils and thus therapeutic agents, the mountain tea contains.

 

There are many mountain teas, but only one belongs to the botanical species scardica. As you can see in the images below, the plant has long, uninterrupted, bushy inflorescences. As the essential oils are predominantly concentrated in the flowers, this also explains its superiority over the other species, which often have single, small flowers distributed on the stem.

 

The tea from Sparta Natura was not treated with pesticides in the field, and was neither sprayed with insecticide, nor irradiated or fumigated during storage. Instead a careful, time-consuming drying method in natural air and shade was utilised, fully preserving the essential oils and their therapeutic properties. The essential oils are present in the highest concentration in the plant when it is fully mature. As a sign of its perfect maturity, you will find several black seeds in a package of Sparta Natura. Despite this careful, conscientious and costly manufacturing method - the tea is processed entirely by hand -  our price remains competitive for our customers. You get the best Sideritis scardica, at a great price!

Sparta Natura has been working on site in Greece for several years, and we offer the best mountain tea we have found, Sideritis scardica from the mythical Mount Olympus. The tea must be boiled for 3-4 minutes, so that it can release its delicious aroma and the essential oils from the plant. If you simply pour hot water over the parts of the plant you will miss not only this great taste but also many therapeutically effective essential oils.

 

Important information about Greek mountain tea

τσάϊ του βουνού (Greek) - greek mountain tea (English) – thé grec des montagnes (French) – tè greco di montagna (Italian) -Té de montaña griega (Spanish) – chà montanha grega (Portuguese) - grekiskt Bergste (Swedish) – kreikkalainen vuoritee (Finnish) – gresk fjellte (Norwegian) – griekse Bergthee (Dutch) - ギリシャ山茶 - 그리스 산 차

Genus: Sideritis

Species:       Sideritis scardica      Sideritis clandestina      Sideritis Pindou      Sideritis raeseri

If you see the term "wild collection” used online, this means that the tea has been collected in an unsustainable way:  they have eradicated the wild Greek mountain tea, destroying the Greek flora in a mostly uncontrolled and untaxed contraband, and that the tea is low in essential oils, and often does not come from Greece, thus they can offer at a cheap price.

 

Some websites point out that their Greek mountain tea comes "from wild collection". The following clarification explains why you should not buy wild, but rather sustainably produced, mountain tea.

Our Greek mountain tea

 

The three Greek mountain teas sold by us are cultivated on Mount Olympus, on the Aegean coast and on the Pindos Mountain chain (all of the species scardica).

 

The cultivated sideritis plants are often identical to naturally occurring mountain tea in the region, from a producer who owns fallow land on which this tea grew on its own, for instance. The farmers work only the soil, and gradually take new sprouts with rootlets from mother plants placing them next to the "old" plants. In this way, they not only reproduce the wild tea, but optimize the quality by selecting plants with the richest inflorescences. Another producer may dig up some wild, original plants with their roots, plant them in his field and transplant or plant seedlings with the seeds collected after flowering. Harvesting is undertaken with a hand-held sickle, and when drying, the tea is bundled and hung on special racks in the shade. In this way, the whole cycle takes place without wasting natural resources.

 

We have tasted many Sideritis teas from all over Greece and included the best in our product range. When it comes to tea, it is like wine; a genetically identical plant develops a different taste in each area, depending on the nature of the soil, positioning to the sun and altitude. In addition, the essential oils can be destroyed by improper drying, which destroys the tea's intense aroma and the active ingredients. If you buy pre-cut tea you will not know if it is really true Sideritis scardica, accounting for some bitterness which may develop during boiling.

Processing

 

Our tea is harvested by hand at the peak of flower development, because at this time the largest proportion of essential oils is concentrated in the flowers. As a sign of complete maturity you will find small black seeds in each package of Sideritis scardica from Sparta Natura. The same day the plants are bundled and hung up in shady, open shelters to dry. This must be done immediately after the harvest to prevent any growth of mould. There, the tea dries authentically for seven days, until the desired degree of residual moisture is reached. Then the tea is packed into large boxes, and these are delivered to us. In our company nimble hands and keen eyes remove other plants and stems without flowers. In careful, manual work, the tea is now packed in recyclable PP bags and air-sealed (but not vacuum-sealed). The tea and herbs are not irradiated, or processed with chemicals, which is the case for industrial tea production, before packaging.

Essential Oils in Greek mountain tea

 

The plant Sideritis contains the highest proportion of its essential oils when harvested at full bloom and it is these essential oils that have an effect on our health. However, the essential oils can be completely destroyed by improper harvesting and drying. They remain preserved only when the plant is hung up and dried in the shade with sufficient natural ventilation for seven days. In shops and on the Internet you will find Greek mountain tea which was dried in just seven hours in metal chambers by blowing in heated air. When opening a package of such tea, the smell is akin to old rolled tobacco or a mown hay meadow, and it lacks the characteristic, minty sharpness of aroma when breaking the stems. This tea, dried so quickly and destructively, no longer contains any essential oils and develops only a light colour when brewed. In addition, the process of drying the tea in this way uses non-renewable resources (mostly fuel oil). The proportion of essential oils may also be reduced by harvesting too early before full bloom. This is usually the case with illegal collections, because they fear that someone else could prevent them from harvesting.

 

The postgraduate study of an aspirant from the University of Thessaly in 2003 showed the following amazing results:

 

  • Essential oils in cultivated Sideritis surpass the quantity and quality of wild tea

  • Wild Sideritis of all altitudes contains less essential oils

  • Sideritis cropped at high altitudes contains less essential oils, but the more valuable components are present in an increased amount

  • Tea dried in electric dryers contains less essential oils

  • Sun-dried tea does not contain any essential oils, these were destroyed by the sun

 

The highest proportion of essential oils and the health-related active ingredients therefore contains Sideritis cultivated at a high altitude, which was cut off in full bloom and hung in the shade for one week.

Greek mountain tea - effects on health

 

As mentioned, the Sideritis plant contains essential oils which diffuse into the water when the dried herbal medicine is brewed. The positive effects on physical health have been known since Dioscorides (25-90AD), the most important pharmacologist of antiquity. In recent years, The University of Rostock and others have demonstrated the spectacular influence of Sideritis scardica on mental and psychological health. The essence of this research indicates that: over many years, deposits called amyloid plaques are deposited in the brain. With increasing age these plaques (French for "platelets") can no longer be removed by the body, the result being that nerve cells in the brain die off, causing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Here we see the active ingredients of Greek mountain tea come into action and function like a kind of cleanser.  In tests with laboratory mice, it was found that by administrating the tea, the toxic protein deposits in the brain could be reduced by 80 percent. In a nutshell, Greek mountain tea cleanses the brain thanks to its effect on the central nervous system. In addition, it contains many natural antioxidants and flavonoids, which make free radicals harmless; this slows down the aging process, along with many other positive effects.

 

Alzheimer's mice after the treatment with Sideritis scardica

scardica-tea :

The author of a dissertation from the University of Athens in 2007 has found that Sideritis scardica - one of the very few of 150 Greek mountain teas - contains iridoids which destroy "bad" cells in the human body! The benefits of iridoids

What is Greek mountain tea?

 

The name "Greek Mountain Tea" is not protected. In principle, any herb gathered in Greece (or elsewhere...) can be called “Greek mountain tea”. The plant known for thousands of years as "Greek mountain tea" is classified as the botanical genus "Sideritis". In each region, a different species grows in the wild. There exist over hundred species which all taste different. For this reason, the farmers also plant the naturally occurring species in their area. We will spare you with details about its life cycle, altitude and harvest time here, however, it is interesting to note that the plant thrives without any human intervention and resources when planted at the appropriate altitude and if the farmer wants it.

 

There are many different species of the genus Sideritis. One can easily distinguish these from the naked eye, as is the case with apples; nobody would confuse a Golden Delicious with a Granny Smith. The difference is easy to see in the shape of the plants in the photo above. Unfortunately, as the species Sideritis scardica has become famous after German medical researches, some websites illegally sell other species as Sideritis scardica. One should not buy a shredded mountain tea, since the inexperienced eye cannot see whether it is actually Sideritis scardica. In addition, there is too much stalk included in shredded mountain tea, which naturally contains less essential oils. Once crushed, the tea oxidizes and loses essential oils and taste.

 

Sideritis scardica is more difficult to cultivate than raeseri for instance, hence the difference in price.

 

The genus "Sideritis" grows in many areas, however, it is misleading to use the term "Greek mountain tea", for Sideritis from another country, from Albania for instance, without indicating the country of origin on the packaging. Moreover, wild Sideritis is also threatened with extinction there, so we recommend buying only farmed tea.

Sideritis scardica from

the Aegean coast

delicious, rustic taste

Sideritis scardica from

Mount Olympus

delicious, noble, exquisite

Illegal depletion of Greek Flora

 

The increased demand for Greek mountain tea did not escape some domestic and foreign racketeers. People illegally cross the northern border of the country and steal the wild plants. The tea is cut improperly, at best just before flowering, thus the plant is unable to propagate or drop seeds for the following year. In the worst case scenario, the plant is pulled out together with the roots. The Greek Government has therefore banned any unauthorized gathering of wild tea for commercial purposes and even put some species under protection, such as the "Tea from Taygetos". In the north of the country, in the Peloponnese and in Crete, plants are already very decimated. Greece is a very mountainous country and has more than a thousand kilometres of northern border; it is quite impossible to control the region. An unauthorised truckload is occasionally discovered, but only by accident. However, the informed consumer can prevent the total extinction with his buying behaviour. Stay away from anything that prides itself on "wild collection" or bags with labels without a company name (this also applies to purchases in Greece itself). The seller can tell you what he wants; he was not present at the harvest or he deliberately closed his eyes, or worse, maybe he is convinced that there is no danger of extinction!

 

However, even with "cultivated mountain tea", it is not always certain that you are not buying illegal wild tea. Therefore, one should rely on intuition and common sense, and judge the seller according to appearances. If someone sells tea from a nature reserve for instance, this testifies to his complete ignorance, illegality and disrespect. Nature reserves are also protected in Greece!

 

We are aware that the topic of "illegal wild collection of Greek mountain tea" is not earth-shattering, given the many tragic human fates, the fifty shades of decadence and the many vicious atrocities. However, if one has the choice, we find that one can act without harm in an ethically correct way.

 

Here you can see some Greek publications dedicated to the topic of risk of extinction:

 

 

 

 

 

Agelioforos

 

Econews

 

Dasarxeio

 

Circular 133581/3471 Ministry of Environment

 

Circular 165110/288 Ministry of Environment

 

Circular 131571/1608 Ministry of Environment

Greek mountain tea - Preparation

 

So that you can benefit from the effects of Sideritis in your old age, you should start drinking a cup daily, hot or cold, from the age of 30.

 

If you have unruly children, we recommend boiling two litres of tea in the morning, adding honey and lemon juice and keeping them in bottles in the fridge. In this way, the children always have an iced tea available, which is flavourful and inconspicuously healthy for them.

 

How do you prepare Greek mountain tea? For a large cup (300 ml), break two or more stems (4 gr.) into three pieces and place them in a pan or in your tea maker with cold water. Allow it to simmer for three or four minutes and then immediately pour the tea into a cup. If you leave the tea in the pan, a bitterness may develop. That’s the way Greek people prepare their tea according to ancient tradition, although, they use more than two stems of dried tea per cup. Over time, you will find out what quantity and brewing time suits you best. The tea should develop an intense colour during this process.

 

Others say you should pour boiling water over the tea parts and let it steep for 10 minutes. We have not yet found an investigation that would favour one way over the other regarding the release of its essential oils. A study  by Koedam (1986) states that the odorants are released in the beginning of the process, giving the strained tea a more intense odor. However, Arthur Koedam also says that the active ingredients pass into the water only after an intense heating and that essential ingredients do not evaporate. Another sign of their release is also the intense colour of the tea.

 

When extracting essential oil from the Sideritis plant by hydro-distillation, the dried herbal medicine is boiled with distilled water for 2-3 hours to separate and glean essential oils at the end of the process. Logically then, the active ingredients are only extracted from the plant at high heat and dissolve throughout the water; this would then endure a lively boiling, as has been done in this country since the ancient Greeks (how did they know that, without any mass spectrometers and gas chromatographs?).

 

Want it luxurious, sweeten with Greek honey.

If you drink the tea in a thick glass cup, it tastes twice as good.

Greek mountain tea while boiling

Greek mountain tea in the optimal glass mug

Storage/disposal

 

Patenting of the plant Sideritis

 

One may wonder if it is really possible to patent a naturally occurring plant. It seems so, as the following two excerpts from the German and the European Patent Office prove. (Use of Sideritis plants for treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD). This "invention" was then logically put on the black list of European patents. You cannot invent anything that nature has created.

European Patent Document

German Patent Document

Blacklist of European Biotech Patents 2009–2011

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