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    First Period of Tea History. Herb Tea Times (2700–206 B.C.)
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Lesson #11. First Period of Tea History. Herb Tea Times (2700–206 B.C.)

According to the legend the tea was discovered in China about 5 thousand years ago. Its discovery is associated with the name of the legendary emperor, one of the three Greats — Shennong. It is not known, if such emperor ever lived but in China he is a character of many stories. It is considered that Shennong has taught the Chinese to cultivate the soil and to cure with herbal drugs, has invented the farming calendar and the plough. By legend he has lived approximately in 27 century B.C.

Shen Nong

One of the legends fables that working on his Herb-Root Classic Shennong traveled a lot through forests tasting different plants and studying their effect on the human body. Once he got poisoned successively 72 times and was on the verge of death, but at the right time plucked and ate a leaf from a tree which immediately cured and detoxified him. It turned out to be the tea tree. This is how Shennong discovered the healing properties of the tea and told it to the people.

The other legend states, that Shennong being aware of the danger to drink raw water has ordered all the Chinese to boil it before consuming. Once the emperor on a long journey with his escort decided to make a stop and take some rest. They collected the wood, made a fire and put a pot of water on it. A sudden blow of wind has brought several leaves from the nearby tree and thrown them into the pot. After the water has boiled Shennong tasted it and felt that his strength restored immediately. He got interested in the tree where the leaves had fallen from. It was the tea tree.

As originally the tea was perceived as a medical herb, it was prepared and consumed respectively. The leaves were initially dried to be boiled afterwards. Such beverage was giving the immediate boost of energy, detoxified but was quite irritative for the stomach and hard to drink in larger amounts.

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