The History and Health Benefits of Tea


The mythologies of ancient China have given life to some of the habits and rituals we have come to partake in on a daily basis. The most famous example of this lies in the story of the mystic emperor and forefather to Chinese civilization, Shen Nung and how came to discover Camillia Senensis or what we know now as tea. The story of how this plant was discovered has become the touchstone of tea lore around the world.

According to the legend, Shen Nung was born in the twenty-eighth century BCE to a beautiful young princess who was possessed by a heavenly dragon. Shen Nung had the head and horns of a bull and the body of a man; he spoke after three days and walked after seven. Shen Nung studied herbs and developed many herbal remedies, for his invaluable contributions in the field of herbal remedies, he was elevated to the status of patron saint of Chinese Apothecaries. During one of his expeditions the emperor was traveling through a hilly region of the south of China, it was late in the afternoon. The emperor was tired and ordered his party to stop for a break. His aides were setting up camp and boiling some water in a kettle-the emperor had taught his people that only boiled water was safe- when a sudden wind blew down from the hills. Some dried leaves from a nearby bush whirled up in the air and fell into the boiling water. Ever the curious herbalist, the emperor decided to try the concoction. He liked the refreshing and slightly bitter flavor and he felt cheerful and energetic that evening. His experience taught him that there was much soul substance in those leaves, so he collected some and took them home to experiment. They were, of course, the leaves from a Camilla Sensensis bush.

Thus humanity is said to have received the delightful gift of tea. The year was 2732 B.C.E. Since these early tales of tea, the plant has traveled very far to end up in our cups many centuries later. But its journey is steeped in a history of much more intrigue then a simple beverage. Stories of the rise of empires and the fall of many in the wake of this plant traveling from East to West. Come join us for a class on the History and Benefits of this sought after plant.

Over the years, herbalist Laliv Zang, has cultivated a curiosity and knowledge of tea. She is partnering with Opuntia Cafe to invite you on a journey to get to know Camillia Senesis. We will host a discussion on the history and health benefits of tea along with a tasting of 5 varieties of of our Samovar teas.

Saturday The 28th of April, from 1pm to 2pm in the trailhead conference room.

$20 a person will include the class and tea tasting. Sign up online or at the cafes retail desk -only 10 seats available. Click here to register.

Jeanna Gienke