Fig: 1. The Plant in Leaf, Flower & Fruit of Tea


  • I. The Soil and Climate where it grows.
  • II. The various Kinds of it.
  • III. The Rules for Chusing what is best.
  • IV. The Means of Preserving it.
  • V. The several Virtues for which it is fam'd.

By J. OVINGTON, M. A. Chaplain to His Majesty.

THEA est de coelo missa terrae progenies, Divini nominis aemula herba.

Peclin. de usu Theae.

LONDON: Printed by and for R. Roberts, 1699.

TO The Right Honourable THE Countess of GRANTHAM.


'TIS from Your innate Good­ness only, and that conde­scending Temper which is so re­markable in You, that this Foreign Leaf dares presume to court Your Favour, and hope for a welcom Entertainment. For where can a Stranger, that was always bred a­mong a People the most polite of any in the World, expect a kind Reception with more Assurance, than from a Person, whose Con­versation is adorn'd with all that Civility that even China it self can boast of? And therefore while it [Page] gains Your Countenance, 'twill find it self as happy here, as if it still had stay'd at home; nay, rather with Advantage to have chang'd its delightful native Soil, while 'tis under the more pleasant Influences of Your Protection.

But though the Name of a Per­son, Madam, so Eminent as You are, both upon the Account of Your Illustrious ORMOND Family, and those particular Accomplish­ments which give You so distinguish­ing a Character, were enough to re­commend this healthful Herb to any that were in the least acquainted with either of them; yet is it not it self destitute of some peculiar Vir­tues, which may justly claim a very favourable Encouragement from us.

For it is generally acknowledg'd [Page] to be both Pleasant and Medicinal, at once to delight the Palate and correct the Disease, and to heal the Distemper without giving any Di­sturbance to the Stomach.

And certainly were the Custom of Drinking it as Universal here, as it is in the Eastern Countries, we should quickly find that Men might be chear­ful with Sobriety, and witty without the Danger of losing their Senses; and that they might even double the Days of their natural Life, by con­verting it all into Enjoyment, exempt from several painful and acute Dis­eases, occasion'd very often by a per­nicious Excess of inflaming Liquors, which render it rather a Burthen, than a Blessing to us.

But in pity, Madam, to this tender Leaf, I must cease from Pa­negyrick, [Page] lest it should create a Sa­tyr, and the innocent Praises of it be eccho'd back in sharp Invectives. For since its Constitution is so nice and delicate, as to be injur'd even by com­mon Air, it will never be able to withstand the Malignity of an envi­ous Breath, unless Your Honour and Goodness interpose, which are so con­spicuous, that Malice it self would blush to fix an Imputation upon them.

And from these Excellencies of Yours, which are the Crown and Or­nament of Nobility, the Author hopes to find Your Pardon in the present Dedication; and that the Greatness of Your Mind will at this time show it self in Your Indulgence to,

Your most Humble, and most Obedient Servant, I. Ovington.

[Page 1]AN ESSAY UPON THE Nature and Qualities OF TEA.

THough the Use of Tea has for many Years past been highly approv'd of in the Empires of China and Japan, which are at present the chief Kingdoms that [Page 2] cherish this celebrated Leaf; yet since the Europeans by their fre­quent Navigations have open'd a freer Trade and Commerce to those Parts, and have thereby been better acquainted with the Genius of those People, and their Manner of Life, they have there­by taken occasion to inform us, among other things, with the singular Esteem which those Ea­stern Nations harbour for it, and of what daily Use it is among them. Whereupon this Western World has been induc'd of late to encourage the Importation of it,The Reasons of the Importation. and make some Experiments of its admirable Effects, either out of Curiosity, because of its Novel­ty; or out of Pleasure of gratify­ing the Palate; or because of some Medicinal Vertues, with which it is pregnant. And since the Drinking of it has of late ob­tain'd here so universally, as to [Page 3] be affected both by the Scholar and the Tradesman, to become both a private Regale at Court, and to be made use of in places of publick Entertainment, which has greatly rais'd the Character, and gain'd it a singular Repute; it might not be amiss therefore to draw up a short Account of its Nature and Qualities, to satisfy such as are its curious Admirers with the Knowledge of its Use. I will here discourse therefore of the Climate and Soil this Herb grows in, and its various Kinds; of the Method of chusing what is best, and the means of preserving it; and the several Virtues for which it is fam'd: With an An­swer to one Objection or two which are sometimes urg'd a­gainst it.

That which in England is called Tea, The Name of it. is in some other places pro­nounc'd [Page 4] Thee, especially in the Province of Fokien, which lies in China between 25 and 30 deg. of Latitude. But there, they say, the word is corrupted; for such as pretend to the genuine and pri­mitive Pronunciation of it, will have it term'd, according to the Mandarin Language,The Mandarins are the great Men in China. Tcha, and some Tsia. But how different so­ever the Name of it may be, the thing it self is universally a­greed in.

This Tea is a Leaf which grows upon a Shrub in China and Japan, The Tree of Tea describ'd. not exceeding either in Height or Breadth our Rose or Goosberry-Bushes in Europe. The Branches of which, from the Root to the Top, are cloath'd with abun­dance of tender Leaves of diffe­rent Magnitude, though of the same Form and Shape. For Co­ronius, who liv'd several years [Page 5] in the Empire of Japan, assures us, That upon the same Tree are Leaves of five different Proporti­ons, the largest of which resemble our Garden Balm, and grow to­wards the Root; and as they rise in Height, their Size decreases; but the smallest bear the largest Price. The Seed of it is round and black, which in three years time af­ter it is sown, produces new Plants. But the Flowers of it, which are all white, are of no Esteem; the main Virtue is lodged in the Leaves. When the Flowers however are new and fresh, they yield a very pleasant Smell; but in time, as I have seen them, they grow yel­low; and being put into Water, turn it brown. They consist of five whitish or palish Leaves, with many Chives in the middle of the Flower.

[Page 6]The Shrub it self is of a strong and hardy Constitution, is proof against Storms, and receives no Damage by Snow or Hail, and lives and thrives in those very Climates, the sharpness of whose Air might seem pernicious, if not fatal to its tender Leaf; for the Winter in England, in some places where it grows, is not more cold. The stony Soils are apt in China to produce the choi­cest Tea, though for the most part it is planted there in the Valleys, and in light ground. And might it therefore be convenient to have it brought hither, there is no­thing in the Nature either of our Ground or Air that seem to con­tradict its Increase among us; Especially if sufficient Care were taken for the safe and cautious Transportation of the Seed or Branches, and in their Growth they were expos'd, with the best [Page 7] Advantage, to the Sun. Though the Art here used for raising of it has not yet answer'd Expectation. But whether this proceeds from the Envy of the Chinese, who are said to boil the Seed, lest it should be planted any-where else; or from the Age of it, or untimely Collection of it, or the immode­rate Heat of the Sun, and variety of Weathers in a long Voyage, it's uncertain.

The Spring is reputed the most proper Season for gathering the Leaves,The Season for gathering it. because 'tis this time on­ly of the year that renders them most soft and delicate, juicy and tender; which gives the Water wherein they are infus'd both a more pleasant Flavor to gratify the Smell, and a Taste more agree­able to the Palate. And certain­ly 'tis none of the meanest Signs [Page 8] of the remarkable Ingenuity of the Chinese, to prepare the Leaves with so much Art to make them still continue green, notwithstand­ing all the Length of Time they have been dried. Which, I think, is not very usual with our dried Herbs in Europe.

In China are several sorts of Tea, The several sorts of it. which are unknown to us in Europe, some of which are ve­ry cheap; but others are so high­ly valuable and much esteem'd, that a single Catte is look'd upon as a Present fit for a Mandarin. A Catte is a­bout 20 Ounces. A Mandarin is a great Man in China. For so vastly different is the Price, that one single Pound of that Tea which is cultivated for the Em­peror, for the Nobility, and Lords of the Court, is sold for more than One hundred times as much of a­nother sort. And in Japan, that which is prepar'd for the Gran­dees [Page 9] there, is both planted in the most refin'd Earth, and carefully defended from all Injuries of the Air, from all excessive Colds and Heats, and every thing that may be apt to offend the tender Leaf. And as at home they commonly affect the Entertainment of a nu­merous Multitude of Servants, and a stately Furniture of Instru­ments for the Preparation of their Tea in the greatest Magnificence and Splendor; so they want not abroad such as are purposely im­ploy'd to husband it with the ut­most Care and Diligence, as well as with a peculiar Art. But that which is generally brought into Europe, is known only by these three distinct Names.

The first Sort is Bohe, or,Bohe. as the Chinese have it, Voüi, which is a little Leaf inclining to black, and generally tinges the Water [Page 10] brown, or of a reddish Colour. Those in China that are sick, or are very careful of preserving their Health, if they are weak, confine themselves only to this kind of Tea, This kind of Tea is of a healing Qua­lity. to which they are willing to ascribe a peculiar Virtue both for healing and preventing a Dis­ease, and extol it as a mighty Friend to Nature when it is grown faint and languishing. The Taste of it, when it is very true and genuine, is delicious and pleasant, and the weakest Sto­mach is able to bear it. This kind of Tea therefore is both in Colour and in Nature different from the other two, and very useful to such as are wasting and consumptive, and excels the others in its healing balsamick Quality, and particularly in improving by Length of Time, which is very pernicious to the rest, for it gene­rally grows better the longer it is kept.

[Page 11]The second Sort is Singlo, Singlo. or Soumlo with the Chinese; of which there are several kinds, according to the place of Growth, the manner of preparing it, and the Nature of the Tea. But that which is imported hither is of two sorts, both equally good. One of them is a narrow and long Leaf. The other smaller, and of a blewish green Colour, which tastes very crisp when it is chaw'd, and afterwards looks green upon the Hand, and infuses a pale Green­ness into the Water. The Flavor of it is fresh and fine, lively and pleasant. 'Tis strong, and will endure the Change of Water three or four times. This Tea is brought over in round Totaneg Canisters pasted over with Paper,Totaneg is a sort of Metal brought from China. A Canister con­tains between 50 and 70 l. and in­clos'd in a wooden Tub, con­taining the Quantity of half a Pecul. A Pecul is 132 l. And that you may more plainly discern whether all of it [Page 12] be new or no, these two things may be observ'd.Means to know the best Tea. First, Examine the Leaves to see whether all or most of them are green; if not, but that some of them are turn'd brown, or look decay'd, then may you guess that the Tea is not the finest, but is growing old, and will impair in Virtue daily. Se­condly, Let the Liquor, into which the Tea has been infus'd, stand in a Cup for the space of a whole Night; if after this you perceive that it still continues green, the Goodness of it seems unquestionable; but as it abates of this Colour, so, you may conclude, it has abated of its Per­fection, and wants something of its Excellence and Strength. For the fragrant Smell, the green Co­lour, and the bitterish sweet Taste, are the distinguishing Characters of the Goodness of this kind of Tea.

[Page 13]The third Sort is Bing, Bing. or Im­perial Tea, according to the Epi­thet given it by the English, and by the Dutch, Keisar. This is a large loose Leaf, and therefore takes up more Room, proporti­onable to the weight of it, than any other Tea, because it is more open and spungy. The finest Sort of it looks both green to the Eye, and is crisp in the Mouth, and the Smell of it is very plea­sant, which inhances the Price of it here in England; and 'tis highly esteem'd likewise in Chi­na, being sold there at three times the Price of the other two. But it generally is of divers Colours, as yellow, green, &c. and is re­puted weak, spending it self quickly in the Infusion, and on­ly tinctures the Water with any Spirit twice, because it is not put in weight for weight with other Tea. This likewise, as the others, [Page 14] is Imported in large thick Tota­neg Canisters included in wooden Tubs, or in Baskets made of small Bamboe Canes.

These are those several sorts of Tea, to some one of which all that is transported hither is com­monly reduc'd; and in describing this Variety, and the different Properties of each of them, some Directions have been given for distinguishing what is choice and good, from what is mean and refuse; which Instruction I shall pursue, with one Remark more, a little further.

'Tis necessary for all such as travel to China, nicely to under­stand the Nature of the Goods there, if they intend to escape the Cheats and Frauds, and to trade therein with Advantage. For such is the Subtilty of the Chinese [Page 15] in their Trade, and so artificial are they in their Traffick, and so mightily intent upon their Gain, that they falsify every thing they sell, if 'tis capable of Sophistica­tion; and he must be very quick and expert indeed, that has wit enough to escape in all things their Impositions. This they for­merly practic'd even in their Sale of Tea, though the Advantage of it was inconsiderable. For with it they sometimes mixt some o­ther Herbs of less value, to swell the Parcel, and increase the Gain, and with this artificial Mixture they cunningly dispos'd of it. But the Prudence and Caution of the Europeans prevent at present all the fraudulent Attempts of this Nature. And yet such is the peculiar Talent of the Chinese in the Management of this Art, that the Discovery of them in one Trick, is only the quicken­ing [Page 16] their Invention of another; and he that has thought himself wise in timely preventing of a small Cheat, has found after­wards how weak he was, when by this means he only tempt­ed them to over-wit him in a greater. And though 'tis pos­sible to fix their Honesty for some time in that particular wherein the fraud has been found out, yet will their inherent Pra­vity soon exert it self in some­thing else, and make them kna­vish by Transmutation. Which occasions the wary English and Dutch Merchants in their Tra­ding for Tea to open many times both the Top, the Middle, and the Bottom of the Canisters, to prevent the Cheat of courser Tea which has been sometimes privately put into one place, sometimes in­to another.

[Page 17]The Method the Chinese use in preparing of Tea, The Method of preparing Tea. to make it dry and crisp, is, as some affirm, to put it in Ovens, or in Kilns, or to expose it to the Sun; or as others say, by frying it twice or oftner in a Pan; and as often as it is taken off the Fire, it is roll'd with the Hand upon a Table till it curls. By this means the Leaves contract such a Dryness and Hardness, as inables them to retain their Virtue for many years.

Though the Tree of Tea is for­tified by Nature against rigid Colds, against Storms and bad Weather, and is able to subsist and flourish even upon stony Ground; yet the Leaf of it, when once it is prepar'd for Use, is of a Temper quite different; 'tis de­licate and tender, injur'd by the Breath, and damag'd by the very [Page 18] common Air. Rules for pre­ [...]rving it. And therefore the Chinese knowing how subject it is to Decay, and how easily 'tis tainted, carefully provide against these Dangers, by keeping of it very close, and at a Distance from all strong Smells, whether they be pleasant Flavors, or foetid Scents: for both of these are equally pernicious, and destru­ctive of the natural Smell. And those that would secure it from such Disasters, must see that it be guarded from those Enemies, must look that it be kept from any strong Odor that would affect it, and shut it up securely from the ambient Air. Totaneg is a sort of Metal brought from China. For which End the great Canisters are necessary for a large Quantity, and the Totaneg, or Pewter, or Tin Pots for a small, whether it be sent into the Country, or design'd to be kept at home; and none of it should be left expos'd, as little [Page 19] as may be, from such a Cover: But yet 'tis observ'd, that those that endeavour to preserve the Spirit and Verdure of it longest, and with least Damage, dispose of it commonly in large Tubs, which contain many Pounds, by the Bulk of which the Strength of it is increas'd against all harm­ful Impressions from without, and the Virtue of it is maintain'd more intirely within. And hence it is, that as in Wine, so in Tea, the choicest commonly is in the Middle. And that Canister, whose outside Tea may prove but ordi­nary, as being nearest the Air and Danger, may yet upon a deeper search be found to con­tain what is far more valuable: For Age, Air, and Damp, inevita­bly destroy these Sorts of Tea, which is quite out of its Ele­ment either in a moist or an open place.

[Page 20] Having thus far discours'd of the various Kinds of this foreign Leaf, and the Season wherein it should be gather'd, of the Me­thod of making choice of the best, and the Means whereby it is pre­serv'd; the Reader now will ex­pect to hear something of its Qualifications, The Qualities of Tea. and what the Vir­tues of it are, that have rais'd it to this general eminent Esteem. And if we may believe those persons who have been most con­versant with this healthful Li­quor, and receiv'd it so long in the Nature of their common Drink, we must needs entertain some Esteem for its Excellence, and harbour a valuable Opinion of it.Medicinal a­gainst the Gout and Stone. For the Gout and Stone, those painful Diseases which so frequently torment the Europeans, are scarce known in China, and among those most Eastern Asia­ticks, [Page 21] the Happiness of which they commonly ascribe to the constant Use of this Liquor a­mong them. The Privilege of which they reckon upon as a spe­cial Blessing to those Nations, especially when attended with such remarkable Effects. And if the intolerable Pains of these Di­stempers are caus'd by an acri­monious Juice, and some ferment that is saline, this Liquor is said to mitigate the Salt, disturb the Tartar, and dissolve its gravelly Particles, when 'tis much and of­ten drunk. For since it is an Acid that coagulates the Blood, and afterwards precipitates the grosser Parts of it into Gravel; this Liquor, as some imagin, mightily corrects the Acid, and prevents the Precipitation. And though the Seeds of these Disea­ses, if they are Hereditary or Chronical, cannot easily be re­mov'd, [Page 22] yet may they in some measure, by a daily Use of this excellent Drink, be much dimi­nish'd, or at least be kept from an Increase; Especially if it be drunk in such a Quantity, and at such convenient Times, when the Stomach is rather empty than over-charg'd. For then is a Pas­sage easily made, and with greater Freedom both to the Veins, and to the Reins. For a Medicine so very weak and light as this, can­not readily conquer those Obstructions that oppose it, nor make its way through them with Facility. And several Examples might be produc'd, I question not, among our selves, to con­firm the Subserviency of this Leaf to these great and noble Ends.

Nor are the Tartars, who are now Masters of this large and [Page 23] flourishing Empire of China, in­sensible of the Benefit of this In­fusion,A Help to Di­gestion. or Strangers to the Vir­tue and Vsefulness of it. For whereas these persons are by Na­ture very hardy, and have so far improv'd this Hardiness by Cu­stom, that raw Horse flesh is their ordinary Food; and this they eat, and digest with the same Faci­lity, as we do Beef that's boil'd or roasted. Now hereupon how­ever it sometimes happens that their Stomachs are oppress'd with Crudities, and mightily weaken'd through Indigestion; to cure which, they readily apply them­selves to Tea, without consulting any other Physick; and in this they find so much Relief, and their Appetites are so effectually strengthen'd, that they soon re­cover their Digestive Faculty a­gain, and remove the languid In­disposition. But the Leaf which [Page 24] is most powerful upon this occa­sion is very harsh, course and unpleasant, and only grows in the Northern Province of Xensi, most of which lies between 35 and 40 deg. of Latitude. Which Courseness renders it far more a­greable to the strong Constitu­tion of the stout and robust Tar­tar, than to that of the delicate and soft Chinese. And that this is a Virtue very remarkable in Tea, it seems from hence very probable, in that the Liquor im­pregnated with its Particles will soften Flesh, Le Compte, p. 221. and renders hard Meats tender, whereby we may judge that it hastens Dissolution, and thereupon facilitates Digestion. Besides, the soft pointed Volatile Salt where­with it abounds, and the hot Wa­ter wherein it is infus'd, do migh­tily repair the natural Fluidity of the Juices of the Body, and by [Page 25] a gentle Astriction agreeably for­tify the Tone of the Bowels, and of a weak Stomach; vide Peclini de Potu Theae Dialogum, p. 41. And if this therefore be a Qua­lity inherent in this Liquor, to strengthen a faint Appetite, and correct the nauseous Humors that offend the Stomach, it must needs in some measure happily contri­bute to the Health of some weak and feeble Constitutions, and like­wise throw off abundance of those Crudities created in the Body through Excess. And by this means, that the Vigor of the Ap­petite is regain'd, the Sweetness of the Blood may be preserv'd, and the Sharpness that is in it be abated; whereby this China Drink may prove a friendly Remedy a­gainst the Scurvy, A Remedy for the Scurvy. that Northern popular Disease, and become as valuable a Blessing to us, as it is unto the Tartars, who fall in­to [Page 26] the same Distemper with us, upon the very same Account, of a gross and high Feeding.

The last Remark which I shall make of this innocent lovely Li­quor, is the Advantage which it has over Wine, It prevails over the Fumes of Wine. and the Ascen­dant which it gains over the pow­erful Juice of the Grape, which so frequently betrays Men into so much Mischief, and so many Follies. For this admirable Tea endeavours to reconcile Men to Sobriety, when their Brains are overcast with the Fumes of In­temperance, and disorder'd with Excess of Drinking; by driving away the superfluous Humors that cloud the Rational Faculty, and disturb the Powers of the Mind. And therefore all those persons who have by this means lost their Senses, and have pass'd the Bounds of Moderation, ought presently [Page 27] to water their Veins with this Li­quor, and refresh themselves with its sober Draughts, if they are willing to recollect their roving Thoughts, and be Masters of their Faculties again. For this is none of its meanest Triumphs, that 'tis able to subdue this con­quering Liquor, that has foil'd so many wise and powerful; that it is an Anti Circe, can counter­charm the inchanted Cup, and change the Beast into a Man. Vertiginem capitisque dolorem (prae­sertim à crapula ortum) mitigat ­ten Rhyne. p. 15. And that it is not altogether destitute of this remarkable Faculty of suppressing Vapors in the Brain, seems not improbable from what is observ'd of it in China. For when any one there is unfortunately seiz'd by a Vertigo, It Cures the Vertigo. through a Redun­dance of Humors towards the Head; the Use of this Liquor is [Page 28] often a kind Relief to this Di­stemper, by obstructing the Pas­sage of the Steam from the Sto­mach and lower Parts. Because the thick Vapors that continually ascend, being the Cause of this Disturbance, whenever they are check'd and controll'd in their Passage by the lively Spirit of Tea, the Megrim sensibly a­bates. For Tea has none of that fiery Spirit that inflames the Blood, and disorders the Phan­tisms of the Brain, and is the pro­per Vice of Wine; 'tis quick in­deed, and active as that Liquor, but happily destitute of all the intoxicating Quality.It comforts the Brain. It nimbly ascends into the Brain, but then 'tis with a candid Design of pu­rifying and of quickening it, not immediately to render it muddy, sluggish and confus'd. And upon this score it justly claims an In­terest and Share in the Affecti­ons [Page 29] of all Men of fanciful and sprightly Thoughts, of all that would animate their Faculties without Disturbance, and main­tain their Idea lively and bright, in that it actuates and quickens the drowsy Thoughts, adds a kind of new Soul to the Fancy, and gives fresh Vigor and Force to the wearied Invention. As some ingenious Persons in this Kingdom by frequent Experience can testify.

And if Ingenuity may be al­low'd to have a Vote here, I can produce that which is un­questionable in the Testimony of Mr. Waller, whose Character of this Herb may be seen in these Verses.

Of TEA, commended by Her Majesty.
VEnus her Myrtle, Phoebus hat his Bays;
TEA both excels, which she vouch­safes to praise.
The best of Queens, and best of Herbs we owe,
To that bold Nation, which the way did show
To the fair Region, where the Sun does rise;
Whose rich Productions we so justly prize.
The Muses friend, TEA, does our Fancy aid;
Repress those Vapors which the Head invade:
And keeps that Palace of the Soul serene,
Fit on her Birth-day to salute the Queen.

[Page 31]And from this eminent Pro­perty which it has of animating the Faculties,And keeps Men waking. and keeping up the Vigor of the Spirits, arises that other remarkable Power which it gains over Sleep and Drowziness, and the natural Inclination of the Body to Rest. So that a few Cups of this excellent Liquor will soon rowze the cloudy Va­pors that be night the Brain, and drive away all Mists from the Eyes. 'Tis a kind of another Phoebus to the Soul, both for in­spiring and inlightning it; and in spight of all the Darkness of the Night, and all the Heaviness of the Mind, 'twill brighten and animate the Thoughts, and ex­pel those Mists of Humors that dull and darken Meditation. Ac­bording to Dr. Chamberlayn's Ac­count in his Treatise of Tea; When I have been, says he, compell'd [Page 32] to sit up all Night about some extraordinary Business, I needed to do no more than to take some of this Tea, when I perceiv'd my self beginning to sleep, and I could easily watch all Night without winking; and in the Morning I was as fresh as if I had slept my ordinary time; this I could do once a week without any trouble. And this certainly must gain it a mighty Veneration from all those Sons of the Muses, who labour in the Night, and are desirous to keep their Memories fresh, and their Senses waking; and endeavour to prolong those Hours that are devoted to studious Thoughts, in Strength and Clearness of Under­standing; Because at such times in the Use of this sprightly Li­quor, they perceive a speedy Re­medy against their natural Wea­riness and Stupidity.

[Page 33]And that the several Virtues which are here ascrib'd to this delicate Leaf are not meerly No­tional, or of bare Conjecture, the Testimonies of several eminent Authors might be produc'd, such as Ray's Histor. Plant. Olaus Wor­mius in Musaeo, p. 165. Tulpius Observat. 1. 4. cap. ult. &c. But the account of one of them only shall be at present sufficient. The Learned Michael Etmuller, Pro­fessor of Physick at Lipsick, in the third Edition of his Notes on Schroder's Pharmacy, publish'd by his Scholar Dr. John Caspar of Westphalia, gives an account of the Herb Tcha, or Tea, to this purpose; It powerfully corrects In­digestions and Crudities, so as that the very Chinese use this Drink to strengthen the first Digestion, and to purify the Mass of Blood by a Flux of Vrine. Whence it is that they rarely labour under the [Page 34] Hypocondriack Passion, descended from a deprav'd Stomach: for Tcha's Aromatick Virtue takes a­way all acid Crudities. Besides, it is a very famous Cephalick, adds a wonderful Strength to the Animal Spirits, and by that means opposes the Megrim, and admirably com­forts the Memory, and other Fa­culties of the Soul. Moreover, it drives away Drowziness, and keeps a man awake without Weariness.

It is a most noble Antinephritick and Antipodagrick; whereupon they that take this Drink, are not sub­ject to the Stone and Gravel, while it partly throws it out, and partly destroys the preternatural Acid in the Stomach and Guts, and like­wise in the Blood, (volatilizing it, if coagulated by an Acid) in which Respect it preserves both from the Stone and Gout, whereby the Chi­nese and Japanese are rarely, if [Page 35] ever, infested with them. All which admirable Effects, and much more, are confirm'd by the most famous Wilhelmus ten Rhyne, Physician, Botanist, and Chymist to the Emperor of Japan, in his Discourse De Frutice Thee; Who there affirms too, that it both pre­vails against the Dropsy, and is an Antidote extraordinary against the Weakness of the Sight.

But notwithstanding all this Authority, this Leaf has former­ly been subject to Reproach and Cavil. And it were a happy Leaf indeed were it altogether Objection free, and out of the Reach of Enmity and Contra­diction. But however, this Hap­piness it has, That herein it shares Fate with all things that are ex­cellent, which are often aspers'd even for their Innocence, Two Objections answer'd. and in that respect owe all their Mi­sery [Page 36] to their Perfection. That which was wont to be argued in Disparagement of that general Credit which this Drink by its Merits has obtain'd, was, That it was a Parent to the Cholick and Diabetes, though it was very use­ful upon other accounts; and that it unhappily caus'd these Diseases among us. But notwithstanding that 'tis very well known, that these are no upstart Distempers here, but challenge a Standing of ancient Date; yet were they the necessary Consequence of the Use of this modern Liquor in England, all the Eastern Nations, especially China, India, and Ja­pan, must needs be sorely afflict­ed with them; and therefore in­stead of encouraging as they do, must rather renounce their be­loved Drink, unless they are more inamour'd with it, than with their Health. And yet we [Page 37] never hear that these Diseases are complain'd of there, though this Liquor is as familiarly us'd by them, as Small Beer is with us; and that not only by the Natives, but by several Europe­ans, who are nevertheless alto­gether Strangers to the Painful­ness of those Maladies. If the Diabetes derives it self from this Fountain, how comes it to pass then, that among all the nume­rous Admirers of Tea, so very few labour under that Distem­per? And as to the Cholick, ma­ny skilful Practitioners in Phy­sick do observe, that several Per­sons of inferior Note in England, whose Fortunes never rais'd them to the Character of being Tea-drinkers, are more disturb'd with that Distemper, than such as plentifully drink it daily.

[Page 38]Yet some will urge, That al­though these Virtues which I have mention'd may be fairly at­tributed to this China Liquor, yet are they sometimes obstructed by the Use of that Sugar which is commonly mix'd with it. And this indeed, I must confess, may somewhat abate the Efficacy of it in some Operations; yet this Advantage it produces, in bene­fiting of the Lungs and Reins; to which it is a mighty Friend.

And yet after all, though these rare and excellent Qualities have long been observable in Tea, yet must we not imagine that they always meet with the same Ef­fect indifferently in all Persons, or that they universally prevail. For either the Height of a Di­stemper, or the long Continuance of it; either the Constitution of the Person, or some certain occult [Page 39] Indisposition may avert the Effi­cacy, and obstruct or delay the desir'd Success. It may either be drunk without Advice, or at un­seasonable Times; either the Wa­ter, or the Tea, may be bad; and if the Physick it self be sickly, we cannot easily expect much Health by it.


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