Sagan Dailya (Rhododendron adamsii) is a low evergreen shrub with small (1-2 cm length), smooth, thick-skinned bluish-green leaves and racemous brushes of tiny pale pink flowers. It grows on the fringes of the woods, on stone slopes, in high-altitude and lichenaceous tundras and on seaside rocks. The Buryat name for it is Sagaan Dali or Sahan Dalya, which means “white wing”. Mongols call it “adamsyn terelj”, Tibetans – “dal-garbo” or “da-li”, Yakuts – “haskara”, Tofalars – “ak-kaskara”, and Russians – “byelogorskiy chai” (tea of white mountains). Rhododendron adamsii is in the list of rare plants of the Red Book of Buryatia Republic and Khabarovsk Territory.
Shamans and healers of the Far East of Eurasia, Mongolia and North-Eastern foothills of Tibet have been using this plant, in which “the mountain spirit dwells”, since ancient times: as a tonic and a cure for colds, stomach and kidney diseases, cardiogenic hypostasis and nervous disbalances.
Modern scientific researches found out that the plant has a high content of tannins, aminoacids and catehins. Sagaan Dali preparations increase immune status, suppress xenogenic bacterial flora in the mouth and digestive tract, stimulate kidneys, heart, and brain activities, increase sexual potency, relieve fatigue and abstinence syndromes.
When dry, these are shoot apices 2 – 5 cm length with silvery-green leaves. The infusion is transparent and has a greenish-yellow colour. The ready drink has an intense oily taste and fragrance. There are notes of fir needles, eucalyptus, thyme, berberry and green apples in the bouquet.
Phyto-tea can be made from leaves on open fire (using Lu Yui method), as well as brewed in a gaiwan or a teapot. The proportion is 2 – 3 g to 500 – 600 ml of water. It should be remembered that Sagaan Dailya is an extremely powerful energy stimulant, and its overdose can cause negative effects: nervous agitation, blood pressure spikes and kidneys disorder.