Although tea cultivation and its systematic consumption […]
Although tea cultivation and its systematic consumption for both, refreshment as well as medicinal purposes, has its legendary original way back in the 3rd century A.D. in China, tea has been an integral part of Indian culture even before the British started commercial production of the beverage as late as the 16th century. The earliest recorded physical evidence of tea consumption in China is said to have come from the period of reign of Emperor Jing of Han dynasty as early as 2nd century B.C. Documented evidence suggests it may have been consumed for its restorative benefits even earlier. The first records of cultivation are also mentioned to be around this period. The earliest unearthed literary document surrounding Green Tea, its medicinal benefits and consumption is Kissa Yojoki or The Book of Tea, which explains how brewing and drinking tea in the correct manner can affect the five vital organs and help fight ageing.
The birthplace of the Tea plant, scientific name Camelia Sinensis is said to have been Yunan district in China from where it spread to other places. Yunan accords for itself a special status in history to be the first place where human beings discovered the magical brewing properties of tea leaves and its refreshing experiences. Scientific exploration by botanists have confirmed the Camelia Sinensis to be the variety of tea consumed widely in South East Asia including those that are grown in the hills of Sikkim, Assam & Darjeeling. This variety of the tea plant is singularly home to the hill slopes of Yunan & Sichuan in China & Northern Burma. It can suggested that the seeds for the same had been brought to Indian shores by the British from China for mass cultivation of the “elixir of life” as the Chinese referred to green tea fondly.
It has been popular in China for its medicinal benefits predating thousands of years before green tea became popular in India
Tea was consumed as a beverage in certain parts of India too, quite abundantly, even before the British East India Company started its commercial production in the country. Some tribes of the Kanchenjunga hills claim to have been drinking tea, chia in their vernacular dialect, since the advent of their existence and is an integral part of many of their traditional rituals. However their remains a wide gap in the process of brewing tea, popularly in India & traditionally in China. Whereas Chinese have been traditionally ingrained as a part of their culture to brew tea by boiling the tea leaves and consuming the liquor without adding any other ingredient, India tea is much heavier with milk sugar and many other spices added to the brew. The Chinese variety of tea and the process of extracting the golden green brew and consuming it straight without adding any other ingredients is popularly referred to as Green Tea in India.
Could that be the reason why a lot of the medicinal value of tea is lost because the concoction is heavily taste dominated in India? Moreover the tea leaves as such never make it to a cup of the brew in India whereas the traditional Chinese method of brewing tea involves sprinkling tea leaves in every cup of tea, in the form that is presently sold. It is no wonder that on an average more Indians suffer from cholesterol and related ailments than any other part of the world. Since green tea leaves undergo less industrial processing than traditional tea leaves which are called Sencha in industry jargon, they tend to retain larger amounts of oxidants which not only help fight ageing vigorously, but also possess a capacity to rapidly increase metabolism and regulate glucose levels, thereby reducing possibilities of diabetes and cholesterol related ailments. Green tea from Sencha leaves is not very famous for its taste though a higher quality provides a naturally sweetening brew. They are normally unshaded and slightly larger unshapely leaves which are best steeped or brewed at slightly lesser than boiling temperature for couple of minutes at most, thereby releasing the right amount of tannins for the subtle astringent tinge to the flavour of the brew. Only low quality tea requires higher amount of steeping time and temperature. The vitality restoring properties of green tea along with its medicinal value and antigenic abilities have now found new foothold in the tea loving populace of India and are hugely popular amongst the younger generation and the older alike.
With doctors also recommending CHINA GREEN TEA as a health supplement and often as a replacement for the normal Indian milk tea
Green tea is known to keep cancer at bay and replenish the skin tissues thereby keeping the skin supple. It is no wonder that the Chinese often do not look their age and are still active and fit at old age.