The final version of a review paper on the traditional use of recreational teas in Europe is now available as an open-access article with the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. To access the article, click here: View at JEE
Sõukand, R. C.L. Quave, A. Pieroni, M. Pardo-de-Santayana, J. Tardío, R. Kalle, Ł. Łuczaj, I. Svanberg, V. Kolosova, L. Aceituno-Mata, G. Menendez, I. Kołodziejska-Degórska, E. Pirożnikow, R. Petkevičius, A. Hajdari, B. Mustafa. (2013) Plants used for making recreational tea in Europe: A review based on specific research sites. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 9:58. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-58
This paper is a review of local plants used in water infusions as aromatic and refreshing hot beverages (recreational tea) consumed in food-related settings in Europe, and not for specific medicinal purposes. The reviewed 29 areas are located across Europe, covering the post-Soviet countries, eastern and Mediterranean Europe. Altogether, 142 taxa belonging to 99 genera and 40 families were reported. The most important families for making herbal tea in all research areas were Lamiaceae and Asteraceae, while Rosaceae was popular only in eastern and central Europe. With regards to botanical genera, the dominant taxa included Mentha, Tilia, Thymus, Origanum, Rubus and Matricaria. The clear favorite was Origanum vulgare L., mentioned in 61% of the regions. Regionally, other important taxa included Rubus idaeus L. in eastern Europe, Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All. in southern Europe and Rosa canina L. in central Europe. Future research on the pharmacological, nutritional and chemical properties of the plants most frequently used in the tea-making process is essential to ensure their safety and appropriateness for daily consumption. Moreover, regional studies dedicated to the study of local plants used for making recreational tea are important to improve our understanding of their selection criteria, cultural importance and perceived properties in Europe and abroad.