Malotira is one of the most famous endemic flowers of Crete and we are proud enough that it exists in our island. Needless to say Malotira is found in many places in our Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete and especially in the herbs sector . Malotira is a herb which Cretan primarily uses in tea making, and in this blog we will discuss its origin, its characteristics and its significance for us.
Malotira: A Traditional Cretan Herb Tea
Malotira (herbal name: Sideritis Syriaca) is an endemic herb of Crete used for its health properties in making tea. It is similar to chamomile and usually we find it in higher altitudes and especially in the White Mountains of Crete . It is usually found at altitudes ranging from 800m up until 2000m and as a herb it reaches a height of approximately 70cm.
Malotira: Health properties
For centuries endemic plants and herbs had a vital role in people’s lives, especially the herbs that are easily picked and dried such as oregano, thyme and obviously malotira. Throughout the centuries scientists found out that Malotira has anti inflammatory,analgesic properties, antioxidative properties, antibacterial properties and has a wholesome therapeutic value for stomach aches and stress.
Many People have also found out that Malotira helps them for a relaxing good night sleep and according to many studies has also antidepressant properties.
Malotira : A now endangered species.
Despite its astronomical health properties, Malotira seem to be in danger as the total number of Malotira has substantially decreased over the past decades, due to the uncontrolled herds of sheep and goats, as well as because of the lack of cultivated land in order to supply the demand on higher altitudes and especially from 800 to 2000 altitude.
Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete is a proud preserver of Malotira that can be found in abundance on our gardens
Endemic Flowers of Crete: Endemic Plants and Flowers of Crete- Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete- Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, Sideritis syriaca kz02, CC BY-SA 4.0
How Malotira took its name.
We already talked about the incredible health properties that malotira has to offer to the human body. Apparently, Malotira took its name from the Italic word “Maletira” Which Male means illness and the noun Tirare which means to turn, thus meaning the herb that takes the illnesses away.
Another strange trivia is that Greeks, and especially shepherds and locals who live in the huts refer to Malotira as “Kalokoimithia”. Surprisingly “Kalokoimithia” or “ “Καλοκοιμηθιά” means the herb of the good sleep, as “kalo” means good in Greek and the noun “Koimamai” is referring to sleep. Possibly local shepherds were using Malotira to take bad thoughts and stress away and this is why malotira took this naming.
What we believe.
Malotira is a wonderful organic endemic herb of Cretan soil and its health properties are readily accepted.
We believe that you have to try Malotira with honey on your trip to Crete, and even buy some packets from traditional Cretan stores for your way back. They are very lightweight, they have astounding taste and health properties, and every seap will take you back to the mountains of Crete !
We suggest that you try malotira tea at least once on your vacations in Crete. Dried malotira can also be found on many traditional Cretan products shops and markets all over Crete, and our shop has also a large variety of top quality malotira tea, as well as many other Cretan tea’s , herbs and spices. We insist that you try them and indulge yourselves into our gastronomic culture