By Liu Ai, Italy
I’m an apprentice in a teahouse. Before I learned the tea ceremony, I had thought that the tea, compared to the boiled water or other drinks, was nothing but tasting a slightly bitter. But when I began to work in the teahouse, I found that there was much knowledge in the tea that it was not as simple as I had imagined.
In China, there are ten kinds of famous tea, including black tea, green tea, dark tea, white tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, chrysanthemum tea, and pu’er tea, etc. Each of them has their own special flavors and effects. So, if man keeps drinking tea for a long time, it will have different benefits for their health. For example, the black tea is warm in nature which can warm the body and tonify the stomach, so it is suitable to be drunk in winter, and most beneficial to the elderly and to those who have a cold constitution. The green tea is cold and cool in nature; it can lower fire and has an effect toward refreshment. So summer is the best time to drink it. The oolong tea is fit for most people to drink as it is warm in nature, and it also has the effect of warming the body and tonifying the stomach. What’s more, this tea smells fragrant, and after you drink it, its fragrance will still stay in your mouth, bringing you endless aftertastes. The pu’er tea is a kind of dark tea. After you eat some oily things, you can drink it to clean your stomach and break down the fat, so it has properties of losing weight. However, the tea is divided into two kinds: raw tea and cooked tea. The raw tea isn’t fermented, so it can break down the fat effectively; but drinking it too much will harm the stomach. Besides, it doesn’t taste better than the cooked tea. Therefore, most people choose to drink the cooked tea because it is warm in nature and can tonify the stomach.
When I started learning the tea ceremony with my master, she told me, “The mountain spring water is far away from the city pollution. It is the most natural water and is the ultimate in ordinary spring water, so the tea steeped in it will naturally taste better than in any other ordinary spring water. Even though we use the purified water to steep the tea, it doesn’t have the sweetness of the mountain spring water.” After hearing that, I knew there was a great deal to learn in drinking tea. My master smiled at me and said, “You see, how is my health?” Seeing she was flush with health, I replied, “Very well.” Then she told me, “I was busy with my work before and had a bad stomach. Besides, due to a lot of pressure in my life, I often suffered from insomnia. When I savored the tea quietly, however, my anxious heart would be tranquil gradually. Moreover, when I regularly drank the tea according to the season—taking the green tea in the summer to clear heat and lower fire, while taking the black tea in the winter to be against cold and to warm the stomach, gradually, I have recovered my health. But remember, we’d better not have tea at night. Because night is our sleeping time, and the tea can refresh our mind, drinking tea will be counterproductive.” Hearing these words, I just knew that the effects and value of the small pieces of tea-leaves really lived up to their reputation.
Later, I knew a friend. She often came to our teahouse to have tea. At first, she was sallow, and suffered from insomnia and constipation. After she chose the tea that suited herself to drink for some time, she looked better and better, and her condition improved greatly. Afterward, I also wanted to try drinking some tea. Because I had a cold constitution, with cold fingers and toes, I chose to drink the black tea. It was beyond my expectation that after some time, my body no longer felt as cold as before, and that my hands and feet weren’t too cold either. For a time, since I often stayed up late, when I walked on the road, everything became a blur in my eyes. I then heard that the Chrysanthemum tea could improve eyesight, so I kept drinking it and slowly adjusted my bedtime. After a period, things weren’t so blurred in my eyes. I had experienced the wonderful effects of the tea myself. I felt that although these kinds of tea couldn’t replace the medicine, still, the minor sickness and the chronic disease could be prevented or cured by drinking the right tea. It is really amazing! After sighing with emotion, I was curious about where these effects of the tea came from.
Afterward, I saw the word of God saying: “Among all things, whether it is animals, plants, or all kinds of grass, God also created some plants that are necessary to resolve harm or illness to the human body. … There are plants that improve blood circulation to remove stagnation, relieve pain, stanch bleeding, provide anesthesia, help people recover normal skin, eliminate blood stasis in the body, and eliminate toxins from the body. In short, they can all be used in daily life. They are of use to people and have been prepared by God for the human body in case of need. Some of these were allowed by God to be inadvertently discovered by man, while others were discovered from certain special phenomena or by certain people prepared by God. Following their discovery, mankind would pass them down, and then many people would know about them. This way, God’s creation of these plants has value and meaning. … God worked in secret. When man had not yet come into this world, before coming into touch with this mankind, God had already created all of this. Everything He did was for the sake of mankind, for the sake of their survival, and for the consideration of mankind’s existence, so that mankind can live in this rich and plentiful material world God prepared for them, and so that they can live happily, not having to worry about food or clothes, and not lacking in anything.”
It turned out that all things are created and controlled by God. Before God created man, He had already prepared everything that we need. God knows that we will get sick in real life, so He bestows different effects on every plant that they have different uses and values; then our illness can be cured by the various medicinal herbs. For example, some can resolve phlegm and relieve cough; some can warm the stomach and relieve diarrhea; others can clear heat and remove toxins, and still others can resolve food retention and break down the fat. No matter what effects they have, we humans are the greatest beneficiary. This means that the plants that God created, whether they are big or small, have their own value and meaning of existence.
In fact, not only in the plants are God’s almightiness and wisdom contained, but also the environment for our survival, such as air, light, appropriate temperature, etc., are suitably arranged by God, so that we can live in a favorable environment. Additionally, the various food and fruits that God provides in every season can in time supply us with various nutrients that we need. From this we can find that God’s love to us is comprehensive: From our living environment to our daily food, God gives us in abundance. It really makes me praise God’s good intention and His miraculous creation. If we carefully observe the trees, flowers, fish, insects and birds around us, it is easy to find that the Creator is nourishing all things and providing for us at every moment. Thank God! All the glory be to God!