Mursalski Tea, or "Mountain Tea," is made using the dried leaves and flowers of Sideritis plants (ironwort). Found on rocky slopes at elevations over 3,200 feet (1000 meters) these plants are hardy flowering perennials that have adapted to survive with little water and little soil.
Popular in the Balkans (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania) it is used most often in winter, when levels of physical activity decrease and colds, aches, and pains increase. It is said to have a positive effect on almost anything that ails but, most notably, it is used for colds, respiratory problems, digestion, the immune system, mild anxiety, and as an anti-oxidant and has anti-inflammatory capabilities to help reduce fever.
Scientists recently suggested that the traditional Balkan promotion of mountain tea as a panacea for most illnesses may be remarkably close to the truth. Modern tests have indicted that the tea helps in the prevention of osteoporosis, while its anti-oxidant properties aid in general health. The studies also indicate Mountain Tea has a positive effect on almost anything that ails.
Mountain tea is known scientifically to be anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. The active elements in Mountain tea that make it beneficial for health are diterpenoids, flavonoids, and its essential oils. Significant research has been done on Mountain tea confirming its popular use to prevent colds, flu, and allergies.
Bulgarian folk lore links it to virility (it is known locally as "Viagra Tea") whereas other traditional uses are for soothing breathing difficulties, aiding digestion, strengthening the immune system, relieve sinus congestion and calming mild anxiety.