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History of Tea and Its Benefits

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places.

history-of-tea-and-its-benefits

Discovery of Tea

When we have our everyday cup of tea, how many realize that this beverage is an ancient Chinese concoction. History tells us that tea was discovered by Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC. It must be mentioned that Shen Nung the discoverer of tea had a keen interest in health and medicine. He had observed that people who drank boiled water tended to be free of disease than others. They also lived longer. This shows that the emperor had a keen power of observation and could observe anything out of the ordinary. This quality led to the discovery of tea.

Shen Nung after a hearty meal had a habit of sitting under a tree. He would then drink hot water from a pot on a charcoal fire. The hot water would help ease the discomfort of overeating to which he was addicted. One day while sitting under a tree; some leaves from a nearby tree fell into the pot and unnoticed he consumed the hot water. He was astonished at the different tastes and even more delighted that his discomfort went away. This was how tea was discovered.

The concoction needed a name. Accordingly, Shen Nung named the brew "ch'a", the Chinese character meaning to check or investigate. In 200 B.C. a Han Dynasty Emperor ruled that when referring to tea, a special written character must be used illustrating wooden branches, grass, and a man between the two. The popularity of tea in China continued to grow rapidly from the 4th through the 8th century. Cultivation of the crop started and tea plantations spread all over China.

The preparation and cultivation of the crop were strictly controlled. There was a stipulation at the earlier stages that only young women, presumably because of their purity, were to handle the tea leaves. It was also assumed they were virgins and thus uncontaminated. These young female handlers were not to eat garlic, onions, or strong spices in case the odor on their fingertips might contaminate the precious tea leaves. Though tea became popular in China it took many centuries for it to spread to the rest of the world.

history-of-tea-and-its-benefits

Benefits of drinking tea

Tea is a popular drink in India and also all over the world. It is a simple beverage with just water, milk, leaves, and sugar, but it gives a great taste. Tea is a beverage that can be brewed to one's own individual taste. You can enjoy it as it is or adds whatever you like from Milk, honey, sugar lemon, herbs, spices, or plain simple ice.

There are 3 main types of tea depending on the way they are processed. The most common is black tea which goes through a process in a tea factory where the tea leaves are oxidized or fermented and then finally dried. Next, we have green tea which does not go through the process of oxidation and lastly, we have Oolong tea which is not very common.

Oolong tea is slightly fermented while green tea is not fermented at all. This means that all Oolong tea leaves go through the process of oxidation and leaves are dried over a period of several weeks. These leaves are exposed to oxygen which results in a darker brown color than green teas which are not oxidized

Tea has hardly any calories and is low in sodium. It contains traces of proteins, carbohydrates and also vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Tea is one of the most common sources of antioxidants. The other common sources are fruits and vegetables. Black tea has an antioxidant capacity of 927, while green tea has an antioxidant capacity of 814+/- 30. This figure is measured by the oxygen radical absorbance method using peroxyl radical (AAPM). Trolox is a common Antioxidant and 1 umol(micromoles per liter)of Trolox= 1 gm of dry matter. Trolox is an antioxidant like vitamin E and it is used in biological or biochemical applications to reduce oxidative stress or damage.

Antioxidants protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals produced in the body. Studies indicate that tea flavonoids are strong natural antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. This is done by decreasing the inflammatory reactions of arteriosclerosis, by decreasing platelet aggregation and by positively influencing vascular activity. Drinking tea can thus be very beneficial.

Drinking tea improves the mood as it has a direct stress-relieving effect. To drink tea people have to take time off from their work and as a corollary, it distracts them from their current problems. In addition, it also is an antidote to stress. The antioxidants present in the tea may help counter the damaging pattern of physiological activation, which is characteristic of the stress response. That is why tea time is always welcomed by every one.

history-of-tea-and-its-benefits

America and tea

The United States took to take a little late. Due to patriotic fervor, they preferred coffee but despite this America is responsible for a few developments in the field of tea. At the St. Louis World Trade Fair of 1904, a special tea pavilion was organized. The producers were offering hot tea to the attendees. As it was very hot being summer the man supervising decided to pour tea into glasses packed with ice cubes. This new concoction thrilled and saw the birth of iced tea. Today, the U.S. consumes 50-billion glasses of iced tea in a single year.

Teabags are also American development. In 1908, a New York merchant sent samples of his product sealed in silk bags to restaurants and cafes. He later found out that the restaurants were brewing tea directly in the silk bags to save time. This process caught on and led to the tea bags.

Tea is now one of the popular drinks all over the world. .Drinking tea with its variants like herbal tea is dominating the world because of the belief that it is good for health as well as an icebreaker.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 22, 2020:

Thank you dear Flourish.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 22, 2020:

I didn’t realize tea was all that beneficial. I enjoy lightly sweetened iced tea. Thanks for providing its history.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 21, 2020:

Liz, Thank you for commenting. By the way all credit to the English for the development of the tea industry in India.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 21, 2020:

Pamela, your comment is most welcome it's always a pleasure to read them.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 21, 2020:

Tea is a very popular drink in the UK. In recent years the different varieties available have increased a lot.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 21, 2020:

This is such an interestng article, MG. I knew tea had been around for a long time, but I sure didn't know all the history. It is also. interesting. It is also good to know tea is healthy.

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