“Ba Bao Cha” or Eight Treasure Tea, first documented in the Tang dynasty, was a special tea served by the Muslim nomads along the Silk Road to welcome weary guests from afar. Many of them traveled across rugged landscapes and climates; sometimes enduring sand storms, treacherous sun-beaten deserts, and ruthless bandits along the way. This warm and sweet fragrant tea has proven to be a much-needed tonic to nourish and hydrate their bodies. Whatever climate you live in today, Ba Bao Cha still benefits your health with its wide range of healing properties.
Health Benefits of Ba Bao Cha
Eight treasures are the 8 ingredients of tea. Each of them gave the drink its own unique healing properties, which together combined into a secret recipe for beauty, youth, and longevity in ancient China. Since the Tang Dynasty, there have been many versions of this elixir depending on the availability of the ingredients and their value for each successive dynasty. Some included walnuts and sesame seeds, some tended towards more fruit-based, while others used medicinal herbs. We share with you one of our favorite versions.
In TCM, goji berries, indigenous to western China, are associated with the liver, kidneys, and lungs channels. Tonifying Liver Yin, these berries help to cope with problems such as pain in the lower back and knees, dizziness, diabetes, impaired or blurred vision. Nourishing Kidney Yin, they make your eyes brighter and improve diminishing vision. By moisturizing the lungs with Goji berries, you can treat chronic cough.
Studies have proven that goji berries are rich in antioxidants, which means they are great at fighting free radicals and inflammation in our body, strengthening immunity, and preventing a wide range of diseases.
Dried Chinese Red Dates (Jujube)
Red dates or Jujube are intended primarily to tone Qi and Blood Deficiency, the consequences of which can be iron deficiency anemia and insomnia. Both conditions have negative symptoms. So iron deficiency anemia manifests itself in severe fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, and palpitations, while insomnia entails too light sleep (you wake up from any rustle) and lack of energy after waking up.
Other beneficial properties of jujube and jujube products are free radical scavenging, antitumor activity, and anti-obesity effect.
The main function of astragalus in TCM is to strengthen and replenish Qi, the life force. Therefore, this herb has often been prescribed for various conditions of lack of vitality - fatigue, anemia, and poor appetite. Since Qi is a kind of protective shield for our body, it can be said that by strengthening it, astragalus also improves the immune system of our body.
Today, the beneficial effects of astragalus on general health, as well as its effectiveness in preventing cancer and diabetes, have been scientifically confirmed.
Licorice refers to "herbs that tonify Qi". In particular, it strengthens the Qi of the Spleen, which helps us get rid of problems such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and loose stools. This herb also clears heat and toxic fire, stops muscle spasms, relieves pain, and hydrates the lungs, thereby alleviating and stopping coughs.
Licorice root extract may also improve digestion, help relieve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and reduce the frequency and severity of postoperative sore throats.
In TCM, black tea has a warm nature and is related to the element of Fire. In ancient times, it was commonly consumed by nomads to boost energy and aid digestion. This drink is most often prescribed during cold seasons to warm the body and treat the stomach. But regardless of the weather, black tea perfectly regulates Qi circulation, eliminates phlegm and removes toxins from the body.
Modern science also credits black tea with health benefits such as protecting against chronic disease, fighting inflammation, improving blood pressure, and treating diabetes.
An ancient Chinese book on medicinal plants says that “taken over a long time it facilitates the qi and blood, lightens the body and prevents aging.” In addition, this flower cools the Heat of the Liver and Kidneys caused by Yin Deficiency, dispels Wind, removes toxins, and also heals dry and irritated eyes, which was especially needed after traveling through the dusty sand dunes along the Silk Road.
Western research has expanded the healing effect of the chrysanthemum flower for the eyes. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been proven to help with redness and swelling, while its vitamin B, C, and A content protects the eyes from retinal neuropathy and cataracts.
Longan is prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine mainly for Qi and blood deficiency. This sweet and warm fruit is also effective in neurasthenia, as it calms the mind, improves sleep, eliminates anxiety, and relieves weakness after recovery from illness.
Longan is rich in vitamin C. Thus, it improves the immune system, reduces the duration of colds, and alleviates symptoms such as a runny nose and sore throat.
Orange peel, like many components of Eight Treasure Tea, is valued in Chinese medicine for its ability to regulate Qi and prevent its stagnation in the body. In addition, its important functions are strengthening the spleen, relieving discomfort in the chest when coughing, circulating Stomach Qi, and reducing nausea and vomiting.
Eight Treasure Tea Recipe (1 Serving)
Organic Black Tea: 2 teaspoons
Goji berries: small pinch (about 6-8 pcs)
Dried Chinese red dates (Jujube): 2 pcs, sliced
Dried Longan Fruit: 2-2 pcs
Licorice root: 2-3 pcs
Chrysanthemum Flowers: 1–2 tablespoons
Astragalus: 2-3 slices
Orange Peel: 2-3 small pcs
Optional: Rock Sugar or honey to taste.
Place all the ingredients in a 6 oz tea cup, pour boiling hot water. Cover and steep for 5-15 minutes. Uncover, strain and enjoy. The tea may be steeped for 2-3 times.
With so many health benefits, it’s no wonder Eight Treasure Tea has been around for almost 2000 years. This tonic is a great opportunity to get the most of what nature presents us and enjoy a unique mix of natural flavors. Cheers to our health and vitality this season!