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Cultivation and utilization of "Greek mountain tea" (Sideritis spp.): current knowledge and future challenges

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Abstract

The Greek ecosystems consist of a variety of plant species, of which a large percentage have aromatic and medicinal properties. Aromatic and medicinal plants play an important role in the health of people worldwide, especially in developing countries. The present review focuses on Sideritis spp. that is an important plant with an increased attention in the last years for its wide range of uses and especially due to its medicinal properties. The location and conditions of the areas that can be used for its cultivation should be similar to those of its natural habitat in order to keep the product quality. It is important to mention that both the yield and the lifetime of the crop depend to a large extent on cultivation care. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that Sideritis spp. fetch an auspicious potential for improvement of memory in healthy adults as well as in dementia patients. Currently, the demand for these plants and their derivatives has increased because they are natural, eco-friendly and generally recognized as safe products with high economic value. Therefore, it comprises an important commodity for extensive cultivation in Greece in the near future. Hence, this emphasizes the need of extensive study for reporting the additional information on the aromatic and medicinal importance of Sideritis spp.
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Asian J Agric & Biol. 2019;7(2):289-299.
Asian J Agric & Biol. 2019;7(2):289-299.
Cultivation and utilization of "Greek mountain tea" (Sideritis spp.):
current knowledge and future challenges
Alexandra D. Solomou1*, Elpiniki Skoufogianni2, Christos Mylonas2, Rafailia Germani2,
Nicholaos G. Danalatos2
1Institute of Mediterranean and Forest Ecosystems, Hellenic Agricultural Organization “Demeter”, N. Chlorou 1 , 11528,
Ilisia, Athens, Greece
2Laboratory of Agronomy and Applied Crop Physiology, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural
Environment, University of Thessaly, Fytokou Str., 38446, N. Ionia, Magnesia, Volos, Greece
Abstract
The Greek ecosystems consist of a variety of plant species, of which a large percentage
have aromatic and medicinal properties. Aromatic and medicinal plants play an
important role in the health of people worldwide, especially in developing countries.
The present review focuses on Sideritis spp. that is an important plant with an increased
attention in the last years for its wide range of uses and especially due to its medicinal
properties. The location and conditions of the areas that can be used for its cultivation
should be similar to those of its natural habitat in order to keep the product quality. It
is important to mention that both the yield and the lifetime of the crop depend to a large
extent on cultivation care. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that Sideritis spp. fetch an
auspicious potential for improvement of memory in healthy adults as well as in
dementia patients. Currently, the demand for these plants and their derivatives has
increased because they are natural, eco-friendly and generally recognized as safe
products with high economic value. Therefore, it comprises an important commodity
for extensive cultivation in Greece in the near future. Hence, this emphasizes the need
of extensive study for reporting the additional information on the aromatic and
medicinal importance of Sideritis spp.
Keywords: Cultivated practices, Ecology, Diversity, Compounds, Essential oil,
Sideritis
How to cite this:
Solomou A, Skoufogianni E, Mylonas C, Germani R and Danalatos NG, 2019.
Cultivation and utilization of "Greek mountain tea" (Sideritis spp.): current knowledge
and future challenges. Asian J. Agric. Biol. 7(2):289-299.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
Introduction
Since ancient times, medicinal plant species have been
of great importance in people's lives, becoming a
component of curative treatments. Hippocrates, the
so-called father of medicine, was one of the first to
observe and study the therapeutic properties of the
plants. Then followed by Theofrastus, who was also
considered to be the father of botany (Gurib-Fakim,
2006) and Dioskouridis (Vokou et al., 1993;
Touwaide, 2005).
Medicinal and aromatic plants play an important role
Review Article
Received:
July 01, 2018
Accepted:
May 04, 2019
Published:
June 30, 2019
*Corresponding author email:
alexansolomou@gmail.com
AJAB
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in people’s health throughout the world, especially in
developing countries. Human societies throughout the
world have acquired a wide range of empirical
knowledge, mainly over the centuries, in the
medicinal uses of plants. According to Rates (2001), a
medicinal plant is defined as any plant used: (a) to
alleviate, prevent or cure a disease or modify a
physiological or pathological process, and (b) as a
source for the production of medicines. A total of
422,000 plant species have been recorded worldwide,
of which 12.5% have been reported to have
therapeutic properties, while 25% of the medicines in
the modern pharmaceutical industry have as a raw
material plant species (Schippmann et al., 2002).
The Mediterranean Basin is considered to be a "Global
biodiversity hotspot" (Beltran et al., 2014). The
geographical position of Greece combined with the
interactions between the biotic and abiotic factors has
designated Greece as a region of great importance
regarding the aromatic and medicinal plant species
that provide therapeutic, economic and environmental
benefits (e.g. Sideritis spp., Origanum sp., etc.)
(Katsiotis & Chatzopoulou, 2015). Sideritis
constitutes one of the most important aromatic plants
worldwide. Sideritis internationally known as
mountain tea - includes about 140 species, many of
which are native to Greece. The genus Sideritis is
polymorphic and taxonomically complex because of
the frequent hybridization that occurs in the natural
populations (Kassi et al., 2004; Kalivas et al., 2014).
The native species in Greece belong to the genus
Sideritis, sect. Empedoclia BENTHAM and are the
following: Sideritis athoa (Athos's tea), Sideritis
cladestina Chaub. & Borry (Taygetos's tea), Sideritis
euboea Heldr. (Euboa's tea), Sideritis raeseri Boiss. &
Heldr. (Parnassos's tea), Sideritis scardica Griseb.
(Olympus's tea), Sideritis syriaca L. syn. S. cretica
Sibth. & Sm. (Malotira) (Chatzopoulou, 2012;
Shtereva et al., 2015; Latté, 2016). It is noteworthy
that studies focusing on cultivation, ecology and
utilization of "Greek mountain tea" (genus Sideritis)
in important and widespread Mediterranean agro-
ecosystems, are scarce. Hence, the main aim of our
study is to present information about the cultivation
and the aromatic and medicinal importance of "Greek
mountain tea" (genus Sideritis spp.) and future
challenges
Sideritis types and plant morphology
Species of the genus Sideritis belong to the Lamiaceae
family of the order Lamiales. This genus includes
perennial plants, most of which are native to the
Balkan Peninsula.
The most important native species of Sideritis in
Greece are presented in the below Table 1.
Crop ecology and cultivation practices
Wild populations of Sideritis spp. thrive in
mountainous areas of high altitudes, over 1000 meters,
usually on sunny slopes with a high inclination.
Furthermore, it seems to occur on rocky soils with a
sand-clay composition, a wide range of pH: 6.9-8 and
a low content in nutrients. Also, the high temperature
at daytime and the low temperature at night, at such
habitats, seems to have a positive effect (Koutsos,
2006). Plants of this genus are adapted to grow in their
natural environment. Thus, due to the particular
ecological requirements of plants, the selection of the
appropriate habitat for cultivation is particularly
important. The location and conditions of the areas
that can be used for cultivation should be similar to
those of their natural habitat in order to keep the
product quality. Under these conditions, cultivated
plants - already stressed because they are genetically
adapted to a different environment - are less
vulnerable to pests and diseases, and require less input
and cultivation practices. Thereby, organic farming
becomes more possible and economical (Katsiotis &
Chatzopoulou, 2015).
Field preparation and planting
Excessive soil treatment is not necessary for
installation. The preparation of the field is carried out
in the summer with a deep plowing shortly before
planting, depending on the ground. Then, a milling or
light plowing and a disc harrowing follows, mainly to
control herbaceous plants and to facilitate planting
(Goliaris, 1999).
The planting takes place in the middle of autumn after
the first rain period or alternatively at the beginning of
spring. As far as the Greek conditions are concerned,
it is preferable in the autumn after the first rainy
season. The planting density is about 17.000-29.000
plants per ha (0,70-1 m between the lines and 0,50 -
0,60 m on the lines) (Maloupa et al., 2013). If the
planting take palace in spring and the soil is dry it is
suggested that irrigation of the new plants be carried
once or twice, in order to minimize the loses.
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Table 1. Morphological description and plant distribution of Sideritis species (Koutsos, 2006; Deligeorgidis
et al., 2008; Evstatieva & Alipieva, 2012; Dordas, 2012; Dimopoulos et al., 2013; 2016).
Species
Morphological description
Distribution
Sideritis clandestina
(Bory & Chaub.)
Hayek
(Taygetos's tea)
Perennial herbaceous plant, up to 40cm high. Its stem is
simple or branched, and the leaves are fuzzy, with a
shadowy hue, oblong - speared, intact or saw - shaped, the
lower leaves with petiole and the upper epiphytic or with
petiole. The calyx is bell-shaped, covered by dense bristles.
Peloponnisos
Sideritis perfoliata
subsp. athoa (Papan.
& Kokkini) Baden
(Athos's tea)
Native to mount Athos and Samothraki. It is a perennial
herbaceous plant, up to 40cm high. The stem is upright,
straight or branched and woody at its base. The leaves are
lanceolate and flowers are yellow in color. Also, the calyx is
bell shaped.
North Aegean islands & North-East
Greece
Sideritis
curvidens Stapf
Annual herbaceous plant, up to 5-15cm high. A white thin
fuzz covers all the parts of the plant. With one or more
straight green stems. The flowers are white and rare purple.
East Aegean islands present, East
Central Greece, Ionian Islands,
Kiklades, Kriti and Karpathos,
North Aegean islands, North
Central Greece, North-East
Greece,Peloponnisos, Sterea Ellas,
West Aegean islands
Sideritis euboea Heldr.
(Euboa's tea)
Perennial herbaceous plant, up to 30-50cm, with a dense and
white fuzz all over the whole parts of the plant. Its stem is
strong, simple or sometimes branched. The leaves are
elongated and the flowers are yellow colored. The calyx is
tubular which ends in teeth and has fluff.
West Aegean islands
Sideritis lanata L.
Annual herbaceous plant, with white thin fuzz all over the
parts of the plant. The flowers are white with black spots.
East Aegean islands, Kiklades,
North Aegean islands, North-East
Greece, Peloponnisos
Sideritis montana L.
Annual or biannual herbaceous plant, up to 35cm. The stem
is upright straight and woody in the base. The leaves are
simple and the flowers are yellow.
East Aegean islands, East Central
Greece, Ionian Islands, North
Aegean islands, Peloponnisos,
South Pindos, Sterea Ellas, West
Aegean islands
Sideritis perfoliata L.
It is a perennial herbaceous plant, up to 30- 50cm high. The
stem is green colored, straight or branched and woody at its
base. The leaves are lanceolate and flowers are yellow.
North Aegean islands, North-East
Greece, South Pindos, North
Pindos,
Sideritis purpurea
Benth.
Perennial herbaceous plant up to 30cm high, with lanceolate
leaves. The flowers are yellow, white or purple.
East Central Greece, Ionian Islands,
North Central Greece, North-East
Greece, Peloponnisos, South
Pindos, Sterea Ellas, West Aegean
islands
Sideritis raeseri Boiss.
& Heldr.
(Parnassos's tea)
Perennial herbaceous plant, up to 40cm high, with a thin
stem and lanceolate leaves and yellow colored flowers. The
calyx ends in teeth.
North Central Greece,
Peloponnisos, Sterea Ellas & South
Pindos
Sideritis scardica
Griseb.(Olympus's tea)
Perennial herbaceous plant, with a simple or branched stem.
The leaves are lanceolate, intact or slight saw - shaped with
white fuzz. The flowers are yellow colored and the calyx is
probably bell-shaped and covered with dense bristles.
North Central Greece, North
Aegean islands & East Central
Greece
Sideritis sipylea Boiss.
Native to mounts of Samos, Chios, Lesvos and Ikaria.
Perennial herbaceous plant. A dense white fuzz covers all
the parts of the plant. The flowers are yellow with some
brown spots.
East Aegean islands
Sideritis syriaca L.
(Malotira)
Perennial herbaceous plant, up to 50cm. Its stem is usually
simple, strong, upright, covered with dense white fuzz. The
leaves are oblong - lanceolate, and the flowers are yellow
colored. The calyx is tubular and ends in teeth.
Kriti & Karpathos
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The propagation materials that are used are the
cuttings and the seedlings. The cuttings are taken from
older crops which have maximum production. The
parent crops must be healthy and the cuttings are taken
a couple of days before the planting. On the other
hand, to generate the seedlings is a time cosuming
process. During late summer, especially in August
producers should collect the seeds from the blossoms
of their parent crops. Then the seeds are placed in
polystyrene or plastic trays with potting soil. Irrigation
is recommended every day for the first ten days and
then every two or three days depending on the
weather. In 60-70 days (middle November) the
seedlings will be ready for transplanting in the field.
When cuttings are used, planting is done manually
only. Nevertheless, planting can be done with tobacco
or tomato transplanting machines when seedlings are
used and large non-sloping fields are to be planted
(Mylonas, 2017).
Soil cover is suggested only in the first and second
year of plantation, because in the next few years the
plants will have covered the surface of the field and
therefore the herbaceous plants will not be able to find
space or light to grow (Koutsos, 2006).
Fertilization Irrigation
During November, the basic fertilization takes place,
with a compound fertilizer (12-12-17 or 15-15-15
about 250 kg per ha), which is dispersed among the
plants. Also in late February to early March a spring
fertilization is used with some nitrogen fertilizer (40-
0-0 or 20-0-0 with 25 or 50 kg per ha).
In recent years, there has been a trend in April, during
the period of intense plant growth, to apply nitrogen
foliar lubrication in order to aid growth and maximize
production. In total, 40-50 units of nitrogen, 30-37
units of phosphorus and 37-42 units potassium per ha
are administered. In case of organic farming, it is
suggested to apply well-digested and sterilized
manure, compost and other organic products approved
in organic farming. In total, 20-30 units of nitrogen
and 10-15 units of phosphorus and potassium are
administrated per ha in organic farming.
Sideritis is primarily a type of perennial dry crop, but
it seems to benefit from small doses of irrigation. In
this way, the water can be absorbed quickly and the
root system remains dry. After extensive research, we
came to the conclusion, that the most effective method
of irrigation is drip irrigation because it provides
uniform humidity in the root area of the crop plants,
leaving the roots of the herbaceous plants dry. It is
suggested to irrigate the crop two or three times during
April. In 60-70 days (middle November) the seedlings
will be ready for transplanting in the field (Mylonas,
2017).
Another research about the effect of substrate type and
irrigation frequency on growth of Sideritis athoa and
other Mediterranean xerophytes was carried out
(Papafotiou et al., 2016). Two types of substrate with
10 cm depth were used, grape marc compost: perlite:
soil: pumice and grape marc compost:perlite:pumice
and two irrigation frequencies during the dry period,
every 5 days (normal) and every 7 days (sparse).
According to this study, the growth of plant diameter
of S. athoa was promoted by the soil substrate during
the first dry period, whereas at the end of the second
dry period plant diameter was not affected by the
substrate type. Irrigation frequency did not affect the
diameter of S. athoa.
Herbaceous plants management
In this crop, during the vegetative growth of plants, is
a particular competition between crop plants and
herbaceous plants is observed. Therefore the need to
control herbaceous plants is necessary, in order to
obtain production and maintain plant productivity for
several years. It is a fact that, in the first years of
plantation there are usually annual herbaceous plants,
while in older plantations both perennial and annual
herbaceous plants are observed, that grow between the
growing plants. The main herbaceous plant species
that are found in Sideritis fields come from two main
families the Asteraceae and Poaceae. The most
common herbaceous plants are the Senecio vulgaris
L., Sonchus spp., Sinapis arvensis L. and Vicia spp.
But the most durable and difficult to control
herbaceous plants are the Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.,
Echinochloa P. Beauv. and Cyperus rotundus L. from
Poaceae family.
The most effective but at the same time most costly,
tedious and time consuming way of getting rid of the
herbaceous plants is the hoeing. Hoeing is done
manually with the use of hoe and carpentry. Usually
the hoeing starts in September and continues without
stop until the beginning of the harvest; until the
beginning of May (Mylonas, 2017).
Harvest - Yield
The best harvest season is the stage of full blooming,
when the flowering stems begin to be wooded,
because it seems that the leaf's content in essential oil,
and thus in aroma is the largest (Koutsos, 2006).
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Depending on the conditions of each year, usually in
middle May, the lower altitude fields are in the harvest
stage. So, the harvest starts from lower to higher
altitudes. During harvest, the entire inflorescence is
cut and underneath a part of the stem, about 10-15 cm
long, with a knife, scissors or sickle (Mylonas, 2017).
Sideritis can be cultivated in the same field for 5-8
years from which both 2nd and 3rd year are the most
productive. From the 4th year and onwards the
production begins to decrease. It is important to
mention that both the yield and the lifetime of the crop
depend to a large extent on cultivation care. In a full
year of production, yields in dry product reach 1000-
1500 kg dry weight per ha (Dordas, 2012).
Drying process
Then the quantity of tea plants that are harvested after
bundling is transferred for drying to specially
designed sheds in order to obtain the best greenish-
yellow color. The basic principle is to place the plants
as quickly as possible (after the harvest) in a dry,
warm place, without direct sunlight, with good
ventilation and dust free. Drying in the sheds is done
either by spreading or in small bundles hanging upside
down in a shady, cool place. Drying takes 5-8 days
without the use of technical means. If the drying does
not take place in shade or when the type of metal of
the shed is not the appropriate, then the plants become
discolored and their quality is degraded (Gabrieli and
Kokkalou, 1990). There is also a degradation of
quality and appearance when high atmospheric
humidity prevails during drying, i.e. when it is raining.
Another common way of drying the plant material-,
(large quantities of harvested tea plants in industrial
applications), is by using ovens into which a stream of
air is fed. The plant material is placed in special panes
with small holes so as to allow hot air to circulate
inside the oven and to achieve the drying of the plant
at low temperatures and in a short period of time.
Furthermore, this method prevents the loss of active
ingredients and -/- or their spoilage (Mylonas, 2017).
Utilization of Sideritis spp.
Uses and benefits
Species of the genus Sideritis has been used since
ancient times as a therapy because of the anti-
inflammatory, anti-rheumatic
and antimicrobial actions (Vasilopoulou et al., 2013;
Cinar et al., 2009). The mountain tea is one of the most
well-known herbs of the greek nature, with many
beneficial properties. The prepared beverage is
preferred because of the beneficial action in colds and
inflammation of the upper respiratory system, while
recent surveys have shown that contributes to the fight
against Alzheimer's disease (Hofrichter et al., 2016).
It is reported that plants of genus Sideritis contain
terpenoids (iridoids and caurans), phenolic derivatives
(flavonoids, phenolic acids, phenylethanoic
glycosides), fatty acids (Paliogianni, 2007) and
mineral content (Romanucci et al, 2017). Chemical
analysis has shown that the extract of Sideritis plants
contains three main classes of active ingredients:
Essential oils, Diterpenes and Polyphenols (Linardaki,
2007). But most researches focus on the Essential oils.
Essential oils
The first studies on the recognition of the oils
constituents start mainly at the beginning of the 80s.
The first paper was published in 1986 entitled: The
composition of the essential oil in the Greek mountain
tea (Sideritis spp.) (Koedam, 1986). As plant material
pieces of the species S. clanderstina and S. raeseri
were used and in order to get the oil the method of
hydroapostaxis was used, followed by analyses
chromatography and mass spectroscopy (varian MAT
445 GC MS system). The results of this procedures
gave essential oil for the species clanderstina, 0.09%
and for raeseri 0.12% (on dry drogue).
The chromatographic analysis of the two species
resulted in giving over 70 different ingredients from
which 50 were identified. It is worth mentioning some
of the conclusions of this chromatography, especially
for S. raeseri. In S. raeseri the substances bpinene, a-
pinene, a-humulene, limonene, b-caryophyllene and
germacrene were found in this order (each one with a
percentage more than 5%). It is also remarkable that
in the study of Papageorgiou et al. (1999) the
substance was found as a main component of the oil
S. raeseri (2.2%) while in the study of Koedam (1986)
its percentage is 0.18%.
Moreover, Komaitis et al. (1985) and Romanucci et
al., (2017) state that the essential oil constituents of
Sideritis cretica Boiss are limonene, β-phellandrene,
γ-terpinene, p-cymene, hexanol and other compounds
which seem to have potential chemotherapeutic
applications. Also, in another study two novel
acylflavones were found, identified as isoscutellarein
7-trans-p-coumarate and apigenin 7-,40 bis (trans-p-
coumarate) and were isolated from the diethyl ether
extract of the S. syriaca aerial parts. The extract is also
phytochemically characterised by the presence of four
known acylated flavone glycosides [apigenin 7-O-
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(trans-p-coumaroyl- b-D-glucopyranosides)] and
three known acetylated flavone glycosides. Also, in
Sideritis cretica the most abundant phenolic acids
were gallic acid, ferulic acid and caffeic acid, catechin
and epicatechin, quercetin, according to Proestos et al.
(2008) and 5-caffeoylquinic acid, lavandulifolioside,
verbascoside, isoscutellarein, hypolaetin,
isoscutellarein and other compounds in Sideritis
scardica, Sideritis raeseri, Sideritis syriaca, Sideritis
taurica and Sideritis lanata (Stanoeva et al., 2015).
Also, Tirillini et al. (2011) analyzed the oils from
leaves and inflorescences of Sideritis syriaca L.
grown and harvested in Italy. The major components
in the oil from leaves contained hexadecanoic acid
(31.1%), epi-α-bisabolol (14.5%), benzyl benzoate
(7.5%), and (E)-caryophyllene (6.4%), while in the oil
from the inflorescences contained epi-α-bisabolol
(25.7%), benzyl benzoate (17.7%), hexadecanoic acid
(7.8%), β-caryophyllene (7.3%), and (Z)-α-bisabolene
(6.0%).
The second study involved with S. raeseri, concerning
the composition of its essential oil, was conducted
with the collaboration of the pharmaceutical Dept. of
Messina University of Italy and the laboratory of
Athens University (Galati et al., 1996).
The plant material was collected from Mt Parnassos
on an altitude of 1800 m in July 1994 and the
blooming parts of the plant (bloody drogues) were air-
dried. For the extraction of the oil, a procedure of
distillation with the plant material remaining in the
evaporator for 3 hours, was used. The oil came to be
0.14%. For the identification of its components they
used gas chromatograph with helium carrier gas,
together with a mass spectrometer (GC/MS) 36
components were identified, representing 86.57% of
the oil. On a greater scale the substances
camphor (14.9%), 1,8-cineole (11.61%), abisabolol
(7.78%), 13(16)14 labdien-8-ol (7.35%), trans-
chrysanthenyl acetate (6.35%) and terpinen-4-ol
(5.70%) were found.
Also, Dimaki et al. (2017) mention that the incubation
of plant material prior to hydrodistillation or
ultrasound-assisted extraction in citrate buffer,
significantly enhances the overall yield and number of
components obtained and is recommended for the
analysis of Sideritis volatiles. The acidic pre-
treatment method was also successfully applied to
analysis of cultivated Sideritis raeseri Boiss. & Heldr.
in Boiss. ssp. raeseri; α-pinene, α- and γ-terpinene and
β-thujene were predominant albeit in different
percentages in flowers and leaves.
Moreover, according to Baser et al. (1997) found that
the major constituents of water-distilled essential oil
from aerial parts of Sideritis scardica subsp. scardica
in Turkey, were P-pinene (17.91%), carvacrol
(14.78%) and a-pinene (7.26%).
Other studies concerned with the quantitative and
qualitative composition of the essential oil were
conducted in Mediterranean countries such as Spain
and Turkey (Ezer et al., 1995). In eight species of the
genus Sideritis of Spain (different from those of
Greece) the quantity of the oil did not differ
significantly from that of the Greek species, but, in the
composition a lot of quantitative differences were
found regarding the percentage and the kind of the
components.
Most of the studies of aromatic plants is concerned
generally with the quantitative and qualitative
definition of the essential oil. In these studies, the
method of distillation is used, with the top of dried
plants during the blooming season.
Distillation time takes from 2.5 - 3 hours. The
essential oil yield is quite low in comparison to other
aromatic plants (just 0.05 - 0.5%). The separation of
the components happens mainly with a gas
chromatography using He as a gaseous phase and a
variety of columns. The identification results are
primarily done with a mass spectrometer.
When the studies have to do with the tracing of special
components it seems that the use of organic solvents
is preferable. According to Gergis and Argiriadi
(1990), it is proposed the removal of the volatile
components of the species of the genus Sideritis with
extraction of the plant parts with liquid carbon dioxide
and Freon -11 is proposed.
However, the most economical and widely used
method for obtaining essential oil from aromatic
plants is water distillation. The only disadvantage of
this method is a possible hydrolysis of some of the oils
components as the plant material has a direct contact
with water (Samaras, 2003).
Two alternatives of this method which are usually
used in industries is water distillation by steam so the
oil doesn’t come in direct contact with water.
Nowadays, according to the plant species other more
complex methods can be used (Samaras, 2003).
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Table 2. Medicinal properties of the genus Sideritis spp.
Medicinal Properties
Action
Essay
Reference
Anti-
inflammatory
The flavonoids, terpenes and lipid fight inflammation together
with phytosterols, a and b amines and diterpenes.
Charami et al., 2008
Analgesic
This action comes from associations less polar than those of
anti-inflammatory substances. Such substances
are: phytosterols, a and b amines and diterpenes based
on kaourenio.
Gonzalez-Burgos et
al., 2011
Antibacterial
and
antifungus
There are substantial anti-virus and properties, resulting from
essential oils having monoterpenic hydrocarbons. From the
plants studied more closely were those with essential oils rich
in apipenio and carvacrol.
Fokialakis et al., 2007;
Aligiannis et al., 2001
Antioxidant
Sideritis remarkable antioxidant properties. Especially, extracts
of the plants with ethyl acetate and butanol. The antioxidant
properties result from the polyphenoles which block the free
roots. In comparison with other aromatic plants of the
Mediterranean area, the action of Sideritis is moderate.
Aerial parts apart from leaves of Sideritis syriaca, whose water
extracts are widely used as a decoction, were rich in apigenin
and phenylpropanoids. These chemical compounds seem to be
responsible for the antioxidant activity of Crete’s mountain tea.
Hodaj-Çeliku et al.,
2017; Gonzalez-
Burgos et al., 2011;
Armata et al., 2008;
Charami et al., 2008;
Kostadinova et al.,
2008
Alzheimer’s
disease
Sideritis scardica extracts inhibit aggregation and toxicity of
amyloid-β in Caenorhabditis elegans which was used as a
model for Alzheimer’s disease. The mid-polar extracts (40 and
50% ethanol) were the most active, decreasing the plaque
number by 21% and delaying the amyloid-β-induced paralysis
by up to 3.5 h.
Heiner et al., 2018
Mental disorders
The effect of various Sideritis scardica extracts on serotonin,
noradrenaline and dopamine uptake in rat brain synaptosomes
and serotonin uptake in human JAR cells was carried out. It
was found that the pharmacological profile of S. scardica
extracts as triple monoamine reuptake inhibitors suggests their
use in the phytochemical therapy of mental disorders
associated with a malfunctioning monoaminergic
neurotransmission, such as anxiety disorders, major depression,
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental impairment or
neurodegenerative diseases.
Knörle, 2012
Gastroprotective
Different extracts of Sideritis scardica (diethyl ether, ethyl
acetate, and n-butanol fractions of the crude ethanol extract)
exhibited significant gastroprotective activity. The most
effective was the n-butanol extract, which was even
significantly more effective than ranitidine at a dose of 100
mg/kg. It was suggested that the high total phenolic content of
the butanol extract was responsible for the strong
gastroprotective activity.
Todorova &
Trendafilova, 2014;
Tadić et al., 2012
Alexandra D. Solomou et al.
296
Asian J Agric & Biol. 2019;7(2):289-299.
Mineral content
The cultivated Sideritis raeseri is a good source of
minerals. More than twenty minerals were found in
the dried parts of Sideritis raeseri plants. K and Ca
were the most abundant, while the Mg increased
during flowering. It’s remarkable that the
concentration of Fe was higher than the other
micronutrients such as Cu, Zn and Mn (Romanucci
et al., 2017).
Polyphenol contents
Tea, coffee and herb beverages contain high
quantities of polyphenols. It’s widely known that the
consumption of beverages that contains polyphenols
increases every year. The total polyphenol content of
Sideritis is 240g per kg dry weight. So the herbal
extracts of Sideritis can provide a wide variety of
health benefits (Romanucci et al., 2017).
Medicinal properties
The most important medicinal properties of the
genus Sideritis are presented in the Table 2.
Conclusion
Aromatic and medicinal plants are an important
economic resource and earn popularity globally as a
source of raw material for pharmaceuticals and
traditional health care system. It is believed that
cultivation of Sideritis spp. may play an important
role for Greek agriculture by providing high added
value also on remote areas and degraded slopping
lands in the semi-arid zone of the country. Also, the
cultivation of Sideritis spp. can be used as a tool for
biodiversity conservation resulting in several
environmental benefits. Finally, Sideritis spp. are
economically important plants and their
pharmacological profile suggests their use in the
phytochemical therapy of mental disorders
associated with a malfunctioning monoaminergic
neurotransmission, like major depression or the
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Acknowledgment
The authors acknowledge the Department of
Agriculture Crop Production and Rural
Environment, University of Thessaly (Greece) and
the Institute of Mediterranean and Forest
Ecosystems, Hellenic Agricultural Organization
"DEMETER" (Greece) for the access to the literature
research database.
Contribution of Authors
Solomou A: Conceived Idea, Literature Search,
Literature Review, Manuscript Writing, Manuscript
final reading and approval
Skoufogianni E: Conceived Idea, Literature Search,
Literature Review, Manuscript Writing
Mylonas C: Literature Review, Manuscript Writing
Germani R: Literature Review, Manuscript Writing
Danalatos N: Manuscript final reading and approval
Disclaimer: None.
Conflict of Interest: None.
Source of Funding: None.
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... LXV, No. 1, 2021Print ISSN 2285-5653, CD-ROM ISSN 2285-5661, Online ISSN 2286-1580, ISSN-L 2285 appreciated, is due to various components, the best known being: monoterpene, myrtenal, hexadecanoic acid, myristicin, menthol, limonene (Stefkov G. et al., 2014). Sideritis plants have four distinct stamens, similar to most species in the Lamiaceae family, and the clearest identifying feature is the characteristic smell of the leaves (Solomou A., 2019). Perennial plant with a short lifespan (5-6 years on average), it reproduces by seeds. ...
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The Greek territory provides an ideal environment for growing plants and herbs, which are to be found in abundance, flourishing on mountain sides, where they grow naturally. Medicinal plants are considered as important factors in sustainable development, environmental protection, and public health. The aim of this chapter is to present comprehensive information about the diversity, ecological value, cultivation, and utilization of the economically important medicinal plants such as Salvia sp., Origanum sp., and Sideritis sp., in Greece, stressing their medical-environmental and economical values. The utilization of our natural wealth together with the conservation of biodiversity is issues of paramount importance. Valuable aides to these appear to be the medicinal plants which play a crucial role in both these sectors. Another important fact we should keep in mind is the potential use of medicinal plants and their unconventional applications in sustainable agriculture, enhanced by the selective and multiple biological properties of their essential oils. Numerous and valuable uses are more than possible as the diversity of medicinal plants presents new sustainable opportunities—financial and environmental—for agriculture, and this should be the motive to boost further studies concerning the cultivation of medicinal plants.
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Species in genus Sideritis (belonging to the Labiatae=Lamiaceae family) are perennial plants, distributed mainly in the Mediterranean Region. Herbal materials of the species are used in folk medicine for their anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, digestive and antimicrobial activities. DNA-based fingerprinting technologies have been applied in genetic studies in a wide range of plant species. An integrated study using different DNA fingerprinting techniques will be beneficial for Sideritis genetic and conservation studies. Repetitive DNA sequences can be of great value in assessing level of polymorphism as they are distributed throughout the genomes. Here we report the first application of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, known as the directed amplification of minisatellite-region DNA (DAMD-PCR), an inexpensive, PCR-based method to amplify minisatellite DNA regions of 8 Sideritis species. The plant material consisted of Sideritis erythrantha var. erythrantha, S. pisidica, two S. arguta, two S. perfoliata, S. stricta and S. libanotica subsp. linearis. Multivariate cluster analysis, principal coordinate analysis (PCO), and unweighted pair group mean average (UPGMA) were used to visualize the relationship among the species. The mean polymorphism information content (PIC) of primers was 0.835 (±0.09) and ranged from 0.556 to 0.914 indicating the polymorphic level of the DAMD-PCR technique. The mean genetic similarity (MGS) based on the Jaccard's coefficient was 0.405 (±0.138) among the Sideritis species. The genetic distance varied from 0.284 (between S. arguta 1370 and S. arguta 778) to 0.903 between (S. perfoliata 20 and S. perfoliata 47). Results of the present study indicated that DAMD- PCR technique is a powerful technique that could be used in genetic studies of Sideritis.