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 A Little Tea Chemistry

 A little Tea Chemistry


The history of tea tells us that the Chinese were very aware of the medicinal properties of leaf from the tea bush.   Up until the Tang Dynasty (618AD) records show that tea was cultivated specially for health enhancing reasons.

When tea was first introduced to Japan in 800 AD it was recognised as beneficial to health .

The Dutch and English introduced tea through apothecary shops with publicity describing its virtues in the coffee houses.

Leaves from the plant ‘Samellia Senensis’ can be processed in different ways to produce either green, black or oolong teas.  Each type of tea has different properties.

Tea contains manganese, zinc, potassium and magnesium as well as some carbohydrates or fats.

Tea is rich in fluoride – the green variety containing about twice as much per cup as the black.  Each cup contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine, less than half that found in coffee.

Tea doesn’t contain tannin of the type obtained from tree bark, but has a class of chemicals called polyphenols, which are similar to tannin, but do not have the detrimental effects.

In the UK some famous Tea brands have some close connections with medicine-

  • ‘Typhoo’ is Chinese for doctor
  • PG from PG-Tips stands for ‘Pre – Gestive’
  • The Coop’s tea company ’99’ comes from the form number of the prescription pads used by doctors.
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