An Analysis on Pseudo-Tea from Perspective of Chinese Medical Literature

Ling He, Liangxin Chen, Ning Wang, Fajun Zhang, Yini Chen, Weiming Chen


As export of Chinese tea gradually developed and peaked in the 19th century, reports on pseudo-tea started appearing frequently, attracting attention from both the government and merchants. Although pseudo-tea has existed in both China and western countries, the western merchants adulterate tea specifically for profits. In contrast, pseudo-tea emerged in China with the popularization of tea drinking and its use has also been recorded in literature. In many studies on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) literature, pseudo-tea such as leaf of Liu/Babylon weeping willow, Huai/Chinese scholar tree, Shinan/Chinese photinia, and Gaolu/big leaf tea have not only been identified and recognized, but also considered particularly suitable for mixing with genuine tea. Tea is a medicinal and edible product, and public cognition on tea production and tea drinking is influenced by TCM literature. Hence people always mix pseudo-tea with genuine tea as a common practice. However, pseudo-tea was behind the decline of Chinese tea trade in the foreign trade market when western countries entered the high-quality tea trade and started developing colonial tea industry. This article discusses the "Pseudo-Tea", defines as in TCM literature, or substitute genuine tea for drinking, or blends and decocts with genuine tea for drinking, which all constitute the pseudo-tea.


TCM Literature, Pseudo-Tea, Adulterated Tea, Substituting Tea


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