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Mursalski Tea - an herb with healing power and valuable ingredients for longevity

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Sideritis Scardica is one of the most famous herbal wonders of Bulgaria. It has a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anemic effect and provides a lot of valuable substances to support immunity and alkalizing of the body. Floral, citrus, sweet and slightly earthy notes are intertwined in this feast for the senses, for which we will tell you more in the following lines.

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Sideritis Scardica is one of the most famous herbal wonders of Bulgaria. It has a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anemic effect and provides a lot of valuable substances to support immunity and alkalization of the body. Floral, citrus, sweet and slightly earthy notes are intertwined in this feast for the senses, for which we will tell you more in the following lines.

Mursalski tea - what it really is

Mursalski tea is called the "tea of longevity" and is extremely valuable in terms of composition - it provided many useful plant pigments, essential oils, minerals, thanins and other components. It is probably one of the secrets of the longevity of the people inhabiting the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, along with yogurt and spring water.

But what is so special about this tea and why is it worth trying it?

Mursalski tea (Sideritis scardica, Mountain tea) is prepared from dried leaves and flowers of Sideritis plants. This tea is abundant in flavonoids, terpenes and essential oils, iridoids, coumarins and sterols and does not contain any caffeine.

The name "Siderritis" is derived from the Greek word "sideros",which means "iron". In the ancient past, "Sideritis" was a common reference to plants used to treat wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. 

The raw material for Mursalski tea "Sideritis Scardica" grows in Bulgaria on plantations whereas total area is no more than 30 kilometers. Therefore, it is considered rare and quite valuable - it is also listed in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria. [ref.1] The plant used to make the tea is located on rocky slopes at an altitude of over 1000 meters. It was found that Mursalski tea with excellent qualities grows at an altitude of over 1200 metres.

Although many people in the West are not familiar with Sideritis Scardica, it has been used for centuries in the Balkans, in Greece and parts of the Mediterranean, where it grows in the wild. In different countries it is known by various names, including Mountain Tea (common name), Μαλωτίρα (Greece), Mursalski Tea - Mursalski Tea (in the Rhodope region of Bulgaria), Pirin Tea - Pirin Tea (in the Pirin region of Bulgaria), Ironwort, Shepherd's Tea, Bergtee (Germany) and others.

As for the taste and aroma, tea has a very strong and specific sweet taste. When prepared, there are also light mint notes that give it a tonic finish. The aroma is pleasant and light, without intrusiveness, which is typical for black tea for comparison.

An interesting fact about Mursalski tea is that it has long been used by rhodopean locals, who are known for their longevity, good health and vitality. In addition to its tonic effect, Mursalski tea also has a general strengthening, anti-anemic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect. This tea helps to reduce blood pressure and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some of its ingredients can help prevent the development of cancer cells and the development of atherosclerosis.

Dr. Anatoly Alikowski, a urologist from the town of Smolyan, has repeatedly spoken out in support of Mursalski tea. [ref. 2] In his medical studies, Dr. Alikowski identified the beneficial effect of the protected Sideritis Scardica plant in the following health problems:

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Useful components of Mursalski tea

Mountain tea is extremely popular in the Balkans and is most often used in the autumn-winter season in colds, flu and other viruses. The infusion of above-ground parts of S. scardica is mainly used as an expectorant to treat bronchitis and bronchial asthma, cold, pulmonary emphysema and angina pectoris. Tea aids digestion, the immune system, can relieve mild anxiety and acts as a strong antioxidant in the body. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. [ref.3,4,5]

Mursalski tea also has many other beneficial properties due to its composition. Its vitamin profile is really unique and is very effective in the treatment of chronic diseases. Back in time in Ancient Egypt, local healers have successfully used it as a means of treating infertility in men.

Next, here is the full composition of Mursalski tea, that provides these extensive benefits for the body:

  1. Flavonoids - the main active substances with antimicrobial and antioxidant effect in Mursalski tea, which contributes to its beneficial effect. They help with a powerful purifying effect, contribute to the removal of toxins, allergens, poisons from the body and improved overall detoxification.
  2. Vitamins E, C, D - key vitamins for the health of the immune system in any season and especially in the autumn and winter months, when it is difficult to get our vitamin D from the sun.
  3. Essential oils - essential oils in Mountain tea consist of numerous dominant compounds, mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, which help improve the transfer of oxygen into the body and protect at the cellular level;
  4. Amino acids - contribute to improving mood, cognitive abilities, digestion and maintaining acid-base baalnce.
  5. Twenty-three (23) minerals and trace elements: iron, copper, selenium, sodium, zinc, potassium, iodine and others of key importance for hormonal balance, nervous and brain system, musculoskeletal system and proper growth and development.
  6. Tannins - increase the elasticity of blood vessels and veins and support normal digestion.
  7. Iridoids - natural antiseptics that help fight bacteria and viruses, protecting the body from oxidative stress and cellular damage.
  8. Phenols - some species have neuroprotective action, help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
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Important areas of action of Sideritis

The species Sideritis has been widely studied by the scientific community in different countries. An animal study conducted in Southeastern Europe and Turkey with the participation of Bulgarian scientists explores the antioxidant effects of those species. The results show that Sideritis has protective chemical properties that fight cancer-inducing cell damage. [ref.6]

Another study proves prevention against Aβ-induced memory disorders through herbal extracts of Sideritis scardica and Sideritis euboea in APP-tg mice. [ref.7] Sideriitis has been proved very effective against common and dangerous strains of bacteria and fungi, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus and Candida. [ref.8] And perhaps the most interesting field of action in which Sideritis can fit is in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, both as a cure and as a prevention. Sideritis scardica extracts demonstrate pharmacological activity against the characteristics of Alzheimer's disease, which may be of an exceptional benefit in reducing or limiting cognitive decline in patients. [ref.9]

How to prepare Mursalski tea

There are several important factors to consider when preparing  Mursalski tea – water quantity and brewing time. We will show you two different techniques - the first is for quick boiling, and the second is a more complexed procedure for maximum therapeutic effect.

Regardless of the method of preparation, in no case should you prepare the tea in a microwave or heat the water in such an appliance. The reason is that the preparation of tea in this way destroys all useful nutrients in the plant. Water heated in a microwave does not allow to achieve the necessary boiling and soaking time. Our recommendation is to use spring water to make the tea and also you should avoid using tap or distilled water.

Here are the two methods of preparation to try at home:

  • Quick method of preparation (for 2 cups of tea): In a stainless steel saucepan or glass boil 2 cups of spring water. Add 1 to 1-1/2 sprigs of tea. Cook for 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Leave for 5-7 minutes before drinking.
  • Traditional brewing method (for 2 cups of tea): In a stainless steel saucepan or glass boil 2 cups of spring water. Add 2 sprigs of tea. Cook for a minimum of 2 minutes or a maximum of 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the tea in for 20 minutes before drinking.

Optionally, you can add cane sugar, honey or other natural sweetener for more sweetness.

Photo by Olenka Sergienko from Pexels

Contraindications to Mursalski tea consumption

Product stems growing in ecologically clean areas do not contain harmful substances such as pesticides and nitrates, which can cause an allergic reaction or poisoning. However, individual reactions after taking Mursalski tea may occur - if there is discomfort, skin rash, digestive disorder, dizziness or any other reaction, you should avoid consuming it.

Fortunately, such reactions are quite rare, and tea can be used by almost all except hypertensive patients.

But perhaps most importantly, Sideritis scardica also occurs at our latitudes and we should appreciate this sacred gift for good health and longevity.

Sources used

  1. Pirin Tea (Mursal Tea), Red Book of the Republic of Bulgaria Volume I - Plants and Mushrooms
  2. Dr. Anatoly Alikowski pointed out the wonders of Mursal tea, April 28, 19
  3. Effects of Gamma-Irradiation on the Antioxidant Potential of Traditional Bulgarian Teas
  4. Dietary burden of phenolics per serving of "Mountain tea" (Sideritis) from Macedonia and correlation to antioxidant activity.
  5. Żyżelewicz D, Kulbat-Warycha K, Oracz J, Żyżelewicz K. Polyphenols and Other Bioactive Compounds of Sideritis Plants and Their Potential Biological Activity. Molecules. 2020;25(16):3763. Published 2020 Aug 18. doi:10.3390/molecules25163763
  6. Aneva I, Zhelev P, Kozhuharova E, Danova K, Nabavi SF, Behzad S. Genus Sideritis, section Empedoclia in southeastern Europe and Turkey - studies in ethnopharmacology and recent progress of biological activities. Daru. 2019;27(1):407-421. doi:10.1007/s40199-019-00261
  7. Hofrichter J, Krohn M, Schumacher T, et al. Sideritis spp. Extracts Enhance Memory and Learning in Alzheimer's β-Amyloidosis Mouse Models and Aged C57Bl/6 Mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;53(3):967-980. doi:10.3233/JAD-160301
  8. Tadić V, Bojović D, Arsić I, et al. Chemical and antimicrobial evaluation of supercritical and conventional Sideritis scardica Griseb., Lamiaceae extracts. Molecules. 2012;17(3):2683-2703. Published 2012 Mar 5. doi:10.3390/molecules17032683
  9. Heiner F, Feistel B, Wink M. Sideritis scardica extracts inhibit aggregation and toxicity of amyloid-β in Caenorhabditis elegans used as a model for Alzheimer's disease. PeerJ. 2018;6:e4683. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.7717/peerj.4683
  10. Wightman EL, Jackson PA, Khan J, Forster J, Heiner F, Feistel B, Suarez CG, Pischel I, Kennedy DO. The Acute and Chronic Cognitive and Cerebral Blood Flow Effects of a Sideritis scardica (Greek Mountain Tea) Extract: A Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Parallel Groups Study in Healthy Humans. Nutrients. 2018 Jul 24;10(8):955. doi: 10.3390/nu10080955. PMID: 30042362; PMCID: PMC6116054.
  1. Mursalski tea - what it really is

    • Useful components of Mursalski tea

      • Important areas of action of Sideritis

        • How to prepare Mursalski tea

          • Contraindications to Mursalski tea consumption
            • Sources used


          Sideritis scardica (Mursalski tea, Mountain tea) is an endemic plant on the Balkan Peninsula, which is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of antimicrobial infections, gastrointestinal complaints, inflammations and rheumatic diseases. Its composition is impressive and its usefulness is supported by dozens of clinical studies in its capacity as herbal tea. Mursalski tea can help treat numerous common health problems such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma, cough, increasing the body's immune defenses.


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