You may have heard about the “blue zones” of the world, where diets and lifestyles converge to add up to incredible vitality and longevity. For example, people in Okinawa, Costa Rica, and Mediterranean coastal and mountainous regions in Greece regularly see lifespans that reach 100 years old. This can be due to many factors—fresh air, exercise, rich social lives, and healthy diets. But in almost every case, teas make up a significant percentage of the beverages people in blue zones drink. Green tea is one that’s familiar to most, but Greek mountain tea is one you may not have heard of. Greek mountain tea (Sideritis scardica) has been a prized beverage in the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean for generations and was a favorite of Hippocrates in ancient times. This hardy botanical thrives in harsh conditions, which is what helps the plant create its protective compounds. Greek mountain tea has an invigorating effect on the mind and body. Shepherds in the Mediterranean drank it to stay warm, alert, focused, and resilient while tending to their flocks outdoors. The beverage is even commonly known as “shepherd’s tea” due to its association with the trade. It is the perfect beverage for mental and physical endurance. Like so many botanicals, Greek mountain tea has multiple benefits just beginning to be explored with scientific and clinical studies.
Clinical Results for Cognitive Health
In recent years, Greek mountain tea attracted the attention of researchers who wanted to see what results participants would see in placebo-controlled clinical trials, especially for cognitive health. One placebo-controlled, double-blind study tested two dosages of a Greek mountain tea supplement (475 mg and 950 mg) against an active control of Ginkgo biloba (240 mg) for comparison’s sake, and a placebo. After this month-long trial, Greek mountain tea showed significant benefits:
- Better accuracy and higher scores for processing visual info while under pressure.
- Less anxiety for individuals taking the higher (950 mg) dosage.
- Improved circulation in the prefrontal cortex —the part of the brain involved in impulse control, learning, and working memory.
Although ginkgo showed some positive effects on accuracy under pressure, the results weren’t as strong as they were for Greek mountain tea. Plus, ginkgo didn’t help participants feel the calm alertness that characterized those in the Greek mountain tea group. Greek mountain tea also appears to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine, making it a contender for treating symptoms of depression and attention-deficit conditions. Other scientific work shows compounds in Greek mountain tea can protect against the development of Alzheimer’s by decreasing amyloid beta formation (the plaques and tangles that can interfere with brain signals) and reducing physical paralysis symptoms associated with the disease.
Greek mountain tea is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to stop free radical damage at a cellular level. Scientific research finds it is as strong as green tea, even though it contains different compounds and works through different pathways. Greek mountain tea provides a compound called acteoside, which promotes various healthy responses in the body. This compound has been found to inhibit many types of cancer, including prostate, brain, and melanoma. Scientific research shows that extracts of Greek mountain tea protect the gastrointestinal system from harm, reduce inflammation as effectively as a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and prevent cancer development without harming healthy immune cells. While Greek mountain tea is a powerful antioxidant that protects healthy cells, it appears to induce oxidative stress in tumor cells and ultimately stops them.
Liver, Digestion, and Blood Sugar
Greek mountain tea compounds have been shown to help the liver efficiently detoxify harmful compounds while also protecting liver cells. Greek mountain tea also promotes healthy gut bacteria, making it a valuable herbal for assisting in nutrient absorption and digestion. Interestingly, preserving healthy probiotics in the body also helps the polyphenols from Greek mountain tea work most effectively. Scientific work has found that Greek mountain tea activates a protein in liver cells that plays a starring role in how the body unlocks energy from calories, releases hormones, and regulates blood sugar levels. This same study showed Greek mountain tea reduced triglycerides and fasting glucose levels and increased the activity of catalase, a key antioxidant enzyme. So aside from general liver function, this herb could prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and weight gain, too.
Optimal Health and Longevity
Greek mountain tea contains beneficial polyphenols and other nutrients that can re-energize your mind and body. Traditionally, it has been known for boosting immune defenses, treating respiratory illnesses, and alleviating urinary tract issues. Research shows it also stops the growth of harmful bacteria and scavenges destructive free radicals, and clinical work continues to examine its effects on preserving cognitive and physical vitality. In my many years of researching life-enhancing nutrients, I believe Greek mountain tea is one of the most effective botanicals I’ve encountered. I urge you to add this wonder of the Mediterranean to your daily regimen.