Mursalski Tea, or Mountain Tea, is made using the dried leaves and flowers of Sideritis plants (ironwort). The tea is aptly named: the plant used to make it is 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. Only two types of this plant are cultivated - Sideritis raeseri, in Greece and Sideritis scardica (Mursalski Tea) in South Eastern Bulgaria; otherwise, these and other types are gathered in the wild.
Mountain Tea is enormously popular in the Balkans (Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania) and 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. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and to reduce fever. Bulgarian folk lore links it to virility (it is known locally as "Viagra Tea") and couples trying to conceive are said to have a heightened probability of having twins!.
Mountain tea is traditionally used to fight the common cold, flu and allergies. Other traditional uses are for soothing breathing difficulties, aiding digestion, strengthening the immune system, and calming mild anxiety. It is also used to relieve sinus congestion.
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