Rtanj tea, a healing plant from Serbia

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Tea - a winter delight that reminds me of long winter evenings, the smell of cinnamon and apples, and the first aid when I wake up with a sore throat after a long night of singing out loud. Those upper-class curvy teacups and an afternoon treat all over the UK, but still, there is more to tea than that. Nowadays, people even prefer it to coffee, and in traditional regions, people entrust in it as alternative medicine, to help cure diseases and even give it the miraculous properties. A similar story follows the Rtanj tea made from a rare healing plant found in Eastern Serbia, that grows on slopes of the mysterious mountain Rtanj.

Essential oils © Credits to Madeleine_Steinbach

What is Rtanj tea?

Rtanj tea, also called winter savory, derives from a rare plant Saturea Montana found in the karst mountains of Eastern and Southern Serbia: Mt. Suva, Mt. Stara and Rtanj. The plant is collected during the summer months, dried and sold by the local people, and several markets throughout the country. The plant is rather rare, and as such, protected by Serbian law.

Luckily, restaurants in bigger cities serve Rtanj tea as a winter treat, but the rumor has it that the best quality and taste will be in the Rtanj village itself. 

The popularity of this tea resulted in many tourists and locals hoarding the mountain in order to take their chance at finding this healthy delight. Unfortunately, people rarely know when is the right time to stop, so this herb-picking trend resulted in a 70% decline in the Rtanj tea population. Nowadays, the tea picking is forbidden, but luckily the dedicated professional growers found a way to replicate unique environmental standards and cultivate the tea.

The healing properties of Rtanj tea

People who live at the footprint of Mt. Rtanj consider the Rtanj tea an elixir of energy, strength, and youth. They advise preventive consumption every week and have many tales to tell of its miraculous properties. It’s been used in alternative medicine for centuries.

Rtanj tea plant © Credits to weisschr

The plant contains the essential oils with strong antibacterial properties, as well as vitamins A, E, and B. It helps with the respiratory problems and diseases but also treats skin diseases when used as a wash. It can be used by old, young, ill, and healthy alike, with no side effects.

Visit Rtanj mountain

The local legends attribute the medicinal properties of Rtanj tea to the mysterious mountain Rtanj. Mt. Rtanj is shaped like a pyramid, and probably the most popular in the conspiracy theories circles. The myths around it suggest it was built by the long-lost civilization, that it hides ancient tombs, that it attracts aliens and UFOs, and that it channels unique and strong energy. Supposedly, it’s a place where people live longer, plants and animals grow larger, compasses don’t work, and a unique plant has miraculous healing properties. 

Mt. Rtanj at night © Credits to Cylonphoto

Whether you believe in the folklore legends, or just enjoy natural retreats and alternative medicine, a visit to the mountain or nearby Sokobanja, will be a pure joy. The mysterious mountain offers many evident benefits, one of which is world-renowned healing plant from Serbia - Rtanj tea.

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