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Related to herb tea: black tea, tisane


tree or bush, its leaves, and the beverage made from these leaves. The plant (Camellia sinensis, Thea sinensis, or C. thea) is an evergreen related to the camelliacamellia
[for G. J. Kamel, a Moravian Jesuit missionary], any plant of the genus Camellia in the tea family, evergreen shrubs or small trees native to Asia but now cultivated extensively in warm climates and in greenhouses for their showy white, red, or variegated
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 and indigenous to Assam (India) and probably to parts of China and Japan. In its native state, it grows to a height of about 30 ft (9.1 m), but in cultivation it is pruned to 3–5 ft (91–152 cm). The lanceolate leaves are dark green; the blossom is cream-colored and fragrant. Today tea is consumed by more people and in greater quantity than any beverage except water. The flavor of tea is due to volatile oils, its stimulating properties to caffeinecaffeine
, odorless, slightly bitter alkaloid found in coffee, tea, kola nuts (see cola), ilex plants (the source of the Latin American drink maté), and, in small amounts, in cocoa (see cacao). It can also be prepared synthetically from uric acid.
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, and its astringency to the tannin content (reduced in black teas by the fermentation process). In all parts of the world, tealike beverages (sometimes called tisanes) are made from the leaves or flowers of a wide variety of other plants, often for their medicinal properties.

Cultivation and Preparation

China, where state farms are being supplanted by private ones, remains the largest tea grower of the world; elsewhere, tea is usually grown on plantations. Tea culture requires a protected, well-drained habitat in a warm climate with ample rainfall. The leaves are picked by hand, principally during flushes (periods of active growth), the most desirable being those near the growing tip. They are prepared by withering, rolling, and firing (i.e., heating).

The many kinds of tea are usually named for their color and grade (the best teas using only the two terminal leaves) or for their district of origin, e.g., Darjeeling and Lapsang. Teas are sometimes scented by exposure to fragrant flowers, e.g., jasmine. Brick tea is made from tea dust or inferior tea pressed into blocks. Black teas (e.g., pekoes, souchongs, and congous) differ from green teas (e.g., imperials, gunpowders, and hysons) in having been fermented before firing; oolongs, intermediate in color and flavor, are partially fermented. Green teas are produced chiefly in China and Japan; black teas in China, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya; and oolongs in Taiwan.


Tea was cultivated in China in prehistoric times and was probably first used as a vegetable relish (as it was in American colonies and still is in some parts of Asia) and medicinally. By the 8th cent., cultivation had begun on a commercial scale in China, and shortly thereafter, in Japan. The tea ceremony of Japan was introduced from China in the 15th cent. by Buddhists as a semireligious social custom. Tea was first imported into Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the early 17th cent., and its subsequent popularity played an important role in the opening of Asia to Western commerce.

Until 1834 the British East India Company held a monopoly on imports to Great Britain, trading by direct and indirect routes exclusively with China. Only after this monopoly was broken did other tea-producing areas develop as major exporters—chiefly Kenya, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Taiwan. Leading importers of tea include Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Russia, and the Netherlands. The United States also is a large importer, although coffee has long been a more popular beverage.


Tea is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Theales, family Theaceae.


See J. Shalleck, Tea (1972); J. Schapiro et al., The Book of Coffee and Tea (rev. ed. 1982).


Thea sinensis. A small tree of the family Theaceae having lanceolate leaves and fragrant white flowers; a caffeine beverage is made from the leaves of the plant.





1. an evergreen shrub or small tree, Camellia sinensis, of tropical and subtropical Asia, having toothed leathery leaves and white fragrant flowers: family Theaceae
a. any of various plants that are similar to Camellia sinensis or are used to make a tealike beverage
b. any such beverage


(Tiny Encryption Algorithm) A secret key cryptography method that uses a 128-bit key. It uses the block cipher method, which breaks the text into 64-bit blocks before encrypting them. Written by David Wheeler and Roger Needham of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in the U.K., it is available in 16 round and 32 round versions. The more rounds (iterations), the more secure the results. See encryption algorithm.
References in periodicals archive ?
GET LIMBER - Herb Tea for Flexibility - Organic green, Rainforest Alliance Certified rooibos is blended with ginger root, turmeric, cat's claw and yucca extract help to reduce post-exercise inflammation,* pampering muscles, ligaments and joints.
Tea Brands: Republic of Tea Be Well Red Teas (Get Gorgeous Herb Tea for Clear Skin; Get it Going Herb Tea for Regularity; Get Charged Herb Tea for Energy; Get a Grip Herb Tea for PMS/Menopause; Get Some Zzz's Herb Tea for Rest; Get Lost Herb Tea for Weight Control; Get Clean Herb Tea for Detoxing; Get Soothed Herb Tea for Scratchy Throats; Get Relief Herb Tea for Digestion varieties); J.
In the case of the mate de coca, we needed to know whether the herb tea bags produced cocaine alkaloids and, if so, what their concentrations in the urine were.
Swapping tea for herb tea improves the amount of iron you absorb (tannins in tea bind to iron and iron deficiency can cause tiredness).
Speciality teas include English breakfast, Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong and three varieties of herb tea.
This ayurvedic jam made of fruit, spices, herbs and honey can be eaten on its own, on toast or in herb tea.
If you find it difficult to add these foods to your diet regularly, next month I'll tell you about an herb tea that has some of these same properties.
Each night the staff sets out pots of coffee - regular and decaf - and herb tea, plus a platter of bakery items and candy to fortify the stargazers.
Their "Fine Tea & Herb Tea 8 Flavor Assortment" contains 64 teabags.
Tea blends the finest of South African Rooibos (a caffeine free, red herb tea found only in South Africa), semi-sweet chocolate and bits of delicate rose to create a tea that will melt hearts.
Try valerian tea or supplements, camomile, kava kava, passionflower or wild lettuce herb tea.
Toast the holidays with Sugar Plum Spice, a new herb tea without caffeine from Celestial Seasonings, available in supermarkets now through the holiday season.