As literally translated from Greek, sideritis means, “he who is made of iron” in reference to the ironwort plant from which infusions are produced as part of traditional herbal medicine. The ancient Greek physician, Dioscorides was the author of a five-volume book called De materia medica (“On Medical Material”) which became the precursor to all modern pharamcopeias. De materia medicais important in the history of medicine because it is a major historical source of information about the treatments used by the ancient Greeks, Romans and other cultures.
Dioscorides was a physician in the Roman army and lists 850 plants (mainly from the Mediterranean) in his great work as well as how to prepare approximately 500 remedies. While many of these plants and remedies he mentions may be familiar to those interested in and involved with herbal infusions and medicines, sideritis is perhaps one that is not so ubiquitous. Also referred to as mountain tea or shepherd’s tea, “sideritis” was a generic term in antiquity referring to plants capable of healing wounds caused by iron weapons during warfare. In examining the ironwort plant, you will note that the shape of the sepal resembles the tip of a spear.
Sideritis has many health benefits and contains antimicrobial as well as mood enhancing properties. Of course, this is true of many herbal infusions in the Nazani Tea collection, but if you are looking for something a little more unusual to impress guests, sideritis is one outstanding possibility with this delightful story about iron to it. In modern times, it is all too common and convenient to reach for a pill as opposed to deploying the wisdom of ancient herbal medicine based on centuries of experimentation and use. These pills only cover up the symptoms and do not treat the root cause of the condition whereas herbal teas assist in helping the body to heal itself. This is done by targeting primary bodily systems like the digestive, immune and nervous systems to restore harmony to the overall health of the individual.
The regular consumption of herbal teas such as sideritis can be part of you preventative medicine routine since it is best to not get to the stage of needing to visit the doctor in the first place. Advances in technology have been beneficial to humanity but have observably also created increases in anxiety, depression and the like. One must balance these embraces of modern scientific advancement with the wisdom of the ancients who discovered long ago that plants like sideritis can be enjoyed not only for their pleasant taste but also for their relaxing and regulatory elements. This applies to both health of the body and health of the mind.
If you have never heard of sideritis before, do live a life of adventure and please give it a try. It is not a common herbal infusion to find in places like the US and the UK but popular within Greek households, however you can enjoy it at Estiatorio Milos, Kanenas Coffee and Ithaki Greek Kitchen.