Discover the Health Benefits and Unique Flavor of Sagan Dayla: The Traditional Herbal Tea from Central Asia

Sagan Dayla, also spelled Sagaan Dali, “саган-дайля”or “сагаан дали” in Russian cyrillic script, is a type of herbal tea that is native to Central Asia. Its botanical name is “Rhododendron adamsii“. It is found in the Altaï region, the Barguzinsky ridge, in the Sayan Mountains, in the Far East and even in the foothills of Tibet. The brew is believed by Tibetan sages to help prolong life. In the region of Buryat, it is consumed by Shamans.

It is often harvested in the Altaï Mountains region of Russia, where it grows naturally in the wild. In Russia, Sagan Dayla is sometimes referred to as “Taiga tea” and is known for its unique flavor and health benefits. It has been used in traditional Russian medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues and respiratory problems.

Journal of the Arnold Arboretum

Health Benefits:

As briefly mentioned above, Sagan Dayla is known for its numerous health benefits, which include improving digestion, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and promoting relaxation. It is also believed to have antioxidant properties that can help fight off free radicals in the body.

The leaves and stems of Sagan Dayla contain tannins and flavonoids, including quercetin, rutin, dihydroquercetin, and myricetin. These compounds are believed to contribute to the plant’s reported health benefits and may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties.

Tannins are a type of polyphenol that have astringent properties and are found in many plant species. In Sagan Dayla, tannins may contribute to the plant’s reported ability to soothe digestive issues and reduce inflammation in the body.

Flavonoids are a group of compounds that are known for their antioxidant properties and are found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In Sagan Dayla, flavonoids may help protect the body against oxidative stress and damage from free radicals, which can contribute to chronic diseases and aging.

Overall, the combination of these compounds in Sagan Dayla is believed to contribute to its traditional use in supporting overall health and well-being. However, more research is needed to fully understand the properties and potential health benefits of Sagan Dayla and its individual compounds.

Unique Flavor

Once brewed, the tea has a distinctive aroma and earthy flavor that is both refreshing and calming. It has a slightly bitter taste, which can be enhanced by adding honey or lemon. Personally I drink it without sweetener. This unique taste is often described as slightly bitter, floral, sweet and even coniferous. The flavor can vary depending on the preparation method and source of the tea. I have two different ones and they have more or less subtleties. Overall, Sagan Dayla has a delicate flavor that is refreshing, it is an acquired taste though. I love its unique and exotic flavor, my husband on the other hand, doesn’t find it enjoyable.🥲


To prepare Sagan Dayla tea, the dried leaves are steeped in hot water for several minutes. The longer the leaves steep, the stronger the flavor and the more potent the health benefits. I find it very hard to drink when it steeped a long time as the bitterness is prevalent.

Traditional Use

In traditional medicine, Sagan Dayla is used to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive issues, fever, and menstrual cramps. It is also believed to have anti-parasitic properties and can be used to treat parasitic infections.

Cautionary Note

While Sagan Dayla is generally safe for consumption, it should be used with caution as it contains thujone, a compound that can be toxic in large doses. Pregnant women and individuals with liver or kidney problems should avoid consuming Sagan Dayla.

Where can it be purchased?

Sagan Dayla tea can be purchased from various online retailers that specialize in herbal teas and traditional medicines. They are currently shortages though (It’s almost impossible to find on Amazon right now). A lot of speciality website don’t list it at all. When purchasing Sagan Dayla, be sure to choose a reputable supplier to ensure the quality and authenticity of the product.

Sagan Dayla at a market in Irkutsk, Russia.
Sagan Dayla at a market in Irkutsk, Russia.

How to purchase Sagan Dayala

To ensure the quality and authenticity of Sagan Dayla, it is often recommended to purchase it from reputable suppliers who specialize in importing and distributing herbal products from Central Asia. Since the source is the Russian Federation it gets a bit complicated if you’re living in North America.

I was fortunate, a friend of mine gifted me a large sample (that is running out😆). She was the one who made me try it for the first time and she lives in Germany where she got hers from a friend who has contacts in Russia. Word of mouth is so powerful! 😅

I did some research and the other ways I found are either on Etsy or a site called Ecotisane that sources it directly from Buryatia. If you have Russian connections you may have more options.

Sourcing Challenges

It may be challenging to get Sagan Dayla directly from Russia, as there may be restrictions or challenges in importing herbal products into other countries. Additionally, it may be difficult to verify the quality and authenticity of the product if purchased from an unknown source. It is often easier and more reliable to purchase Sagan Dayla from reputable suppliers who specialize in importing and distributing herbal products from Central Asia. This ensures that the product has been properly sourced and meets quality standards. It is also important to ensure that any international purchases comply with customs regulations and requirements.


In conclusion, Sagan Dayla is a unique and beneficial herbal tea that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It has a distinctive flavor and aroma and can be used to promote relaxation, improve digestion, and boost the immune system. However, it should be consumed with caution and in moderation, as it contains thujone also found int absinthe, which can be toxic in large doses. Additionally it can be challenging to find but not impossible!

More reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *