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Tea Mythology

Emperor Shen Nung was a leader, philosopher and herbalist.  He is given credit for teaching new farming and hygienic techniques to his people.  One of his proclamations instructed them to boil their water prior to drinking to save their good health.  It is not known exactly what observation led him to this conclusion but we all know now that boiling water kills bacteria.

It was during one of these periods of boiling his water that some leaves of the wild tea bushes, (Camellia sinensis) fell into the boiling water and the first pot of tea was made.  He was said to be pleased with the aroma and sampled the infusion.  This pleased him also and he began sharing its virtues with others.

It is likely that this ‘legend’ of discovery is not historically correct and that tea had been brewed by other herbalists for many years before Shen Nung tasted it but Shen Nung gets credit for being the first to have written about it. His use and documentation of it clearly begins a log of usage of tea that is continuous until today.