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Culture. Wellness. Beauty. Art. The encompassing lifestyle of tea…

 

Road to Wellville

Just as a cup of tea can enliven the senses and restore the mind, this ancient plant is also purported to be a powerful medicinal, upheld by Chinese tradition as a preventative for cancer, diabetes and tumors.

According to legend, the healing tea plant was discovered more than 5,000 years ago by the emperor Shennong, who is known as the father of Chinese medicine. “The divine farmer”—also called the inventor of acupuncture—believed tea to be a potent antidote to more than 70 poisonous herbs and, with leaves rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, an effective treatment to numerous ailments. Today, faithful tea drinkers continue to extol tea’s virtues: The plant is touted to decrease stress, boost the immune system, promote blood circulation, aid digestion and stimulate mental acuity.

A Fountain of Youth?

Spa-goers will notice that tea is a common ingredient in beauty regimens the world over, and it’s no coincidence: Packed with fluoride, vitamins C and B and antioxidants to ward off free radicals, tea (especially green and oolong varietals) is reported to fight acne, brighten skin tone, enhance your pearly smile and slow the aging process. After brewing a cup, use your tea bags as soothing eye masks to reduce dark circles and puffiness. Or, try tea oils in the bathtub—the natural emollient encourages soft, supple skin.

Popular culture also heralds tea as a wholesome aid in healthy weight loss. Green tea is said to speed the metabolism and expel toxins, promoting a slimmer body by reducing cholesterol and inhibiting fat.

Free of chemicals that are abrasive to the body and harmful to the environment, organic tea is an eco-friendly beauty elixir for the inside and out.

An Artful Ritual

Japanese culture takes great pride in its ancient tea ceremony; the Chinese share gongfu tea among family and friends. Whatever your heritage or style, the art of serving and drinking tea is a ritual akin to smelling the roses—a chance to slow the pace of your hectic everyday life and savor a sense of wellbeing, either alone or among a small coterie.

The craft of tea equipage has evolved throughout the centuries, from handmade clay bowls and pots in the provinces of China to the more formal, silver-clad tea service of England. But you don’t have to curl your pinky around a tiny cup to be a proper tea practitioner. Choose a look that suits you—whether its modern ceramic, Ming Dynasty porcelain or a simple bowl that allows a view of the tea’s unfurled leaves. The true art is in the experience.

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