An audience member told the story of a Chinese philosopher seeking to learn all medicinal 10,000 herbs. Towards the end of his life, the philosopher had learned 5,000 of the 10,000 herbs. Upon his deathbed, a student boldly asked about the other 5,000 herbs and where to find the information. The Philosopher shared the instructions of where to find his research with the inquisitive student. After his death, the student followed the philosopher’s directions to find the information about the last 5,000 medicinal herbs. Opening the drawer, the student only found Camellia Sinensis, the leaf used for tea.
Recently, I attended a panel discussion hosted by The Meaning of Tea® to benefit the nonprofit herbal research and education organization, the American Botanical Council (ABC). The panelists included: Mark Blumenthal of the founder and executive director of the ABC; Dr. Selena Ahmed, an ethnobotanist and author of over a dozen articles on tea, and co-author of “Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet” with photographer Michael Freeman; James Norwood Pratt an author and expert of tea for 30 years; Letha Hadady, D.Ac. is a tea enthusiast nationally certified in acupuncture and Asian herbal medicine and author of “Asian Health Secrets, Healthy Beauty”; Jeff Carpenter, who owns Zack Woods Herb Farm with his wife Melanie, who is an herbalist, where they grow and market 35 species of certified organic medicinal herbs; and Scott C. Hoyt, the filmmaker and director of “The Meaning of Tea.”
Topics ranged from the health benefits of tea with plenty of antioxidants, increasing numbers of Americans becoming tea drinkers, how to continue the growing trend of tea drinkers, teaching people the proper technique of making tea (keep it healthy without sugar and milk) and Hadady revealed beauty companies have yet to discover how tea is used in beauty treatments (she also gave me her book, “Feed Your Tiger”, in which I look forward to writing about it at the beginning of next year.
Towards the end of the panel discussion, we were treated to tea cookies and an iced cocktail of Pear purée, Earl Grey tea and Brooklyn Gin garnished with fresh nutmeg. This Brooklyn Gin is unlike most gins on the market, for it’s botanically rich with citrus flavors, local grown fruit and juniper berries cracked by hand. It’s very clean. Meant to be savored. It’s a taste that won’t recall those college years of drunken madness. Instead, think of a nice vacation in a log cabin on a lake. Clean air with the scent of fresh pine. Birds singing… Chill with it.
On my way out, Alexis of TeaspoonsandPetals.com (she wrote a guest post earlier in the year located here), gave me a bag of tea goodies: Jasmine Pearl tea, a floral green tea scented with jasmine; Organic Golden Monkey, a black tea from Yunnan Province, China; and Rejuvenation tea, an organic herbal mix of nettles, peppermint, raspberry leaf, milky oats, lemon balm and calendula blossoms from Zack Woods Herb Farm. We were also able to sample a beautiful brown tea, Black GABA Oolong tea from Taiwan. All of the teas are available for purchase at TheMeaningofTea.com.
Are you a tea or coffee drinker? If you’re a tea drinker, do you use loose-leaf or tea bags? Lastly, what’s your favorite tea?