Tea making is the ancient practice and art of using hot water to draw out and release both the flavor as well as the myriad other beneficial and health promoting components of various different kinds of herbaceous materials.
Although there are numerous legends associated with the origins of making tea, one of the most enduring has it that the drinking of tea first began more than three thousand years ago and was discovered by one of the first Chinese Emperors, a figure by the name of Shen Nong.
Also known as the Divine Farmer and one of the earliest rulers of China, Shen Nong is credited with originally teaching the then nomadic masses how to cultivate their own food so they could remain in settlements and begin to develop culturally.
According to the legend, Shen Nong had decreed that all water should be boiled before being consumed, and one day as water was being boiled for him to drink, a gentle breeze carried some dried leaves which were blown from a nearby bush, until they landed in the pot of boiling water.
Having a great curiosity and affinity for nature, Shen Nong decided to investigate the resulting brew by tasting it himself. And upon savoring the novel liquid he declared it to be both refreshing and delicious, as well as invigorating to the body.
And thus, it is said, the brewing and drinking of tea was born.
Despite this charming legend however, chances are that the use of hot water to infuse and decoct herbs most likely began long before this legend is said to have taken place. Surely humanity’s long and very fruitful relationship with the healing and nourishing properties of the botanical kingdom reaches even further back into our history on this planet.
Besides water, tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world today, and the ceremony and ritual surrounding its preparation and consumption has been elevated to nothing short of an art form in many different cultures across the globe.
If we care to make it so, brewing and drinking our own tea can indeed be a meditation in itself, and imbuing the process with awareness and conscious intent brings an even deeper dimension to the entire experience. This is particularly true when the teas being prepared are derived from herbs that you’ve grown in your own garden, or perhaps even harvested by hand yourself directly from the wild.
So when brewing your teas, you may find it beneficial to do so with reverence, to be mindful of the origin, intelligence and remarkable healing qualities of the unique herbs you’ve chosen to prepare and consume in that moment, and to hold a space of gratitude in your heart for the gift of botanical blessing Mother Nature has imparted to you and those with whom you may be sharing your artfully and consciously home brewed teas.
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