Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tea is Blooming
Tea is a camellia with small white flowers. Whole books have been written about camellia sinensis, but I will limit myself to a couple of paragraphs here. One of the most interesting stories is the one that links the industrial revolution to tea. alan Macfarlane, an anthropologist at Cambridge University postulates that the IR would never have been possible without tea. For thousands of years, people who gathered in dense communities had problems with keeping the water clean enough to drink and suffered from dysentery and other intestinal problems. To avoid the sickness, they often drank a sort of "near beer," water with a small amount of alcohol in it to make safer. The problem was, drinking alcohol at breakfast, lunch and dinner makes people a bit dumb. But with the advent of tea, people could have safe water without the alcohol. The ritual of boiling the water kills germs, but the tea is also a sort of antibiotic. Thus, people could move to cities, remain healthy, and use the full power of their brains. In addition, workers who drank tea in the afternoon could work longer because the caffeine is a stimulant. Many factors played a part in the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Perhaps tea was one factor.