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28 Delightful Facts About Tea

It truly is the nectar of the Gods.

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1. According to legend, tea was invented by the Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BC.

Legend has it the Emperor was sipping from a cup of boiled water (having earlier decreed that all water should be boiled before consumption) when some tea leaves blew into the cup, creating the world's first cup of tea.

4. Tea breaks have been a British institution for 200 years.

Tea is traditionally taken at around 11am and 3pm. Many workplaces in the UK still allow employees a 15 minute tea break in the morning and/or afternoon.

7. Black tea was invented by mistake.

Black tea was the accidental result of the heavy processing needed to preserve the tea for transport from China to the west. That's why unprocessed green tea is favoured in the east and black tea in the west.

12. Tea helps you achieve inner peace.

Tea contains L-Theanine, which relaxes you without causing sleepiness, aids concentration and makes you more aware of your surroundings - this helps in achieving a meditative state.

13. Tea is also an energy drink.

Despite its relaxing properties, tea also gives you a boost. As well as containing caffeine (half the amount found in coffee), tea is rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B6 which encourage gradual energy production throughout the day - so a morning cuppa really does set you up for the day.

15. Tea makes delicious cocktails.

Tea replaced gin as the UK's favourite drink in the mid 18th century but the two can still be enjoyed together in a gin and tea cocktail. Green tea liqueur is also the basis for many exotic cocktails, and is popularly paired with heated whisky to make a Green Tea Hot Toddy.

17. Tea prevents cavities.

Both green and black tea are known to prevent cavities by preventing plaque build up and inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Enjoy a cup of unsweetened tea after eating sugary foods for best results. Adding milk may be OK, as the calcium is also good for strong teeth.

18. Tea eases sunburn and promotes faster healing of cuts and grazes.

The tannin in tea works to soothe the sting of sunburn - steep three bags in cold water and apply directly to the skin with a flannel or cloth. Tea's antiseptic qualities also make it a good first treatment for minor cuts and scrapes.

19. All over the world, tea is given as an offering to the Gods.

The ancient Greeks were known to use tea in libation ceremonies which honoured the Gods, and ancient Chinese and Japanese rituals still practiced today see tea poured at the base of an altar as a heavenly offering.

20. The world's most expensive tea costs £1,850 ($3,000) per kilo.

It's a type of oolong called Tieguanyin. The tea bag shown is also the world's most expensive at £7,500 ($12,000) - it contains 280 diamonds and was produced to celebrate PG Tips' 75th birthday. No word yet on how tasty it was when brewed.

21. However, tea is also thrifty at half the price of coffee.

Assuming you prefer your tea without diamonds, it comes in at less than half the price of coffee at 3p per cup versus coffee's 6.5p. Tea bags can also be used at least twice without the flavour diminishing.

23. Tea makes you beautiful.

Cold, used tea bags placed over the eyes reduce puffiness and dark circles; added to a foot bath it works as a deoderiser and when drunk it suppresses the appetite, helping with weight loss. Tea can make your garden more beautiful too - used tea leaves can be used as fertiliser for roses.

24. Drinking green tea keeps mosquitoes away.

Mosquitoes don't like green tea - drinking well-brewed, unsweetened green tea repels mosquitoes and other bugs as it is excreted through the skin. If you don't like green tea, rubbing used leaves/bags over the skin before going outside has the same effect.

27. Tea protects against heart disease (as well as cancer and diabetes).

The health benefits of tea have been proven in numerous studies. Most significantly it is known to help maintain a healthy heart, while the anti-oxidants in tea may help lower the risk of developing cancer. Tea is also effective in regulating cholesterol.

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