While doing some research, we came across an interesting paper published last month (December 2018) in the journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology. The paper, entitled Dietary effects of Sideritis scardica “mountain tea” on human in vivo activities of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes in healthy subjects was the result of a study done at the University of Thessaly. The authors noted that Greek Mountain Tea had never before been tested for possible side-effects or interactions with drugs, and they, therefore, wanted to know, what enzymes if any might be affected by the consumption of the tea.
The good news is that the authors of the study concluded that “Usual consumption of the aerial parts of S. scardica decoction is unlikely to result in herb-drug interactions involving the enzymes studied, with the exception of potential herb-CYP2A6 substrate interaction in males.”
Why is it good news that there is potential to interact with the CYP2A6 enzyme? Well, this enzyme activity is related to smoking as it is the enzyme that metabolizes nicotine in the human body, and it has been suggested that lowering the activity or inhibiting CYP2A6 could be helpful in smokers who are trying to quit the habit. According to the chapter entitled Principles of Pharmacogenomics by Y.W. Francis Lam & Larisa H. Cavallari, published in the book, Pharmacogenomics: Challenges and Opportunities in Therapeutic Implementation (2013):
“Nicotine is metabolized by CYP2A6 to cotinine, and the clinical relevance of the CYP2A6 polymorphism has been primarily investigated in managing tobacco abuse. Nonsmokers were found to be more likely to carry the defective CYP2A6 allele than were smokers. In addition, smokers with the defective CYP2A6 allele smoked fewer cigarettes and were more likely to quit. These results likely reflect higher nicotine concentrations, enhanced nicotine tolerance, and increased adverse effects from nicotine in CYP2A6 PMs. Based on these observations, CYP2A6 inhibition may have a role in the management of tobacco dependency.”
We can’t say for sure that consumption of Greek Mountain tea (Sideritis) will help male smokers quit, but there is evidence that in addition to inhibiting CYP2A6, that consumption of this beverage can help with feelings of anxiety and improve mental well-being and outlook. There is also some evidence (with more research being needed) that regular consumption may also assist with symptoms from Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
We also know that there appears to be a major connection between teenagers with ADHD and taking up the habit of tobacco smoking, so perhaps Greek Mountain tea can work as a remedy for both the treatment of ADHD and the prevention of taking up the habit of smoking.
Ahn J, Ahn HS, Cheong JH, Dela Peña I. Natural Product-Derived Treatments for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Safety, Efficacy, and Therapeutic Potential of Combination Therapy. Neural Plast. 2016;2016:1320423.