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Friends bring me all sorts of strange herbs.

Like this one.

Malotira or Greek mountain tea.Pic: Malotira or Greek mountain tea. A year or two ago a student asked what this strange greek plant was. I had no idea, looked high and low, and still had no idea. Later she'd found out that it was malotira, latin name of Sideritis syriaca.

And last week a couple of friends wanted to show this strange Greek plant they had, as dried tea, just in case I knew what it was.

'course I knew, it was just a matter of finding the piece of paper where I'd written the name a year or so before.
And they'd brought a good pint or two of dried herb, for me, for my troubles. My friends are nice people.

Malotira is a Lamiaceae (mint family) plant. It's called "Greek mountain tea", and is used for coughs, fevers, urinary tract troubles, to lower blood pressure, and as a soothing evening tea.

It's tasty, too. Dunno how strong that "evening tea" bit is, though.


Just returned from stocking up with Malotira whilst in Crete. There seems to be a lot of local confusion as to whether Malotira and Greek mountain tea are the same thing or not. I was told by several market vendors there that they are- and also by others that they are two quite separate plants. I've certainly bought mountain tea in tea bag form in the past and it has nothing like the aroma of Malotira.

Oh, the joys of common names ...

I've gotten this herb direct from Athens from a Greek seller on eBay - his family lives on Crete and gets their herbs direct from the island. It is a fantastic tonic tea. From what we have experienced it calms an upset stomach, and helps to get rid of the toxic effects of strong prescription medicines. Where once my husband might wake up groggy from medication, if he drinks Malotira before going to bed he wakes up alert and clear headed. It is also a wonderful antidepressive. Quite tasty with a bit of lemon, either hot or poured over ice. I find that if one drinks it when one is feeling out of sorts it helps to make one feel well the next morning. Perhaps it has anti flu properties, as well. The dried Malotira that I have has soft hairy stalks, and small yellow white blossoms surrounded by small green leaves.

I forgot, it is also great with a bit of honey, too!

Thanks for that, Neith! As you can see in the photo, the malotira I have is so fuzzy it's gray-green, with small yellow flowers.