What India used to drink as tea before the British arrived?
“Before the British brought in the habit of tea, every family and household had their own steeped preparations, made using the herbs and spices at hand, infused in plain water, with no tea leaves.” - Kunal Kapoor, the celebrity chef and restauranter of India.
It is commonly believed that the Chinese were the first to introduce tea to the world and then the British took it over gradually. But how much authenticity is there in this belief? Let’s find out. According to the documented evidence, the history of drinking tea in India dates as early as 750 BC. At that time, it was of course far from being as commercialized as it is today.
It was mostly used by monks and saints who used them to stay alert. Later it was used for its medicinal properties. Records emerged during the first century as well, with stories of the Buddhist monks Bodhidharma and Gan Lu, and their involvement with tea in India. Can you guess what type of tea they all drank then? Yes, it was none other than Herbal Tea and Flower Tisanes.
The yogis used herbs, roots, flowers, bark, fruits, etc, steeped them in water and consumed them. This is nothing but the very idea behind the modern world of Herbal Teas. These are caffeine free, rich in antioxidants, and loaded with several healthy properties such as anti-inflammatory, immunity boosting, promoting cognitive abilities, inducing calmness, etc.
Studies show that Herbal tea is indigenous to India, and was cultivated and consumed here for thousands of years. Commercial production of green tea in India did not begin until the arrival of the British East India Company, at which point large tracts of land were converted for mass tea production. In the 1830s, the first tea estates were established in the Indian state of Assam, using tea plants brought from China.
With time, the royals and aristocrats began to consume it. At first, this valuable commodity was strictly for export, but as production grew and the price fell, Indians became addicted to drinking this caffeinated tea too. And, naturally enough, they followed the example of the British and drank their tea with milk and sugar making it detrimental for many. This addiction led us Indians to drink it on a large scale. It was a major turn for the fate of tea in India.
Blue Tea, as one of the Herbal Tea market leaders of the world, is on a mission to bring back the Ayurvedic Herbal Tea culture that was once an indigenous part of our ancient society. In this stressed environment we want to promote the herbal lifestyle as was in the yogic times. We grow our own authentic herbs with the help of our 200+ farmer community and directly bring them to your cups fresh. Try our range of flower tea and immerse yourself in Ayurvedic goodness.