With autumn officially here, it’s the perfect time to introduce a seasonal tonic to replenish your qi. “Ba Bao Cha” or Eight Treasure Tea, is a popular medicinal tea in China, and enjoyed for its health benefits and exotic sweet flavor. The origins of this elixir can be traced back to the muslim tribes along the ancient Silk Road.
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. This era was a politically stable time period, allowing neighboring regions to experience unparalleled prosperity and promoted frequent cultural exchange over centuries. Many journeyed 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 proved to be a much needed tonic to nourish and hydrate their bodies.
Since the Tang Dynasty, there has been many versions of this elixir, some included walnuts and sesame seeds, some tended towards more fruit-based, while others used medicinal herbs. Below is the recipe of one of our favorite versions.
Eight Treasure Tea
Black tea: 2 teaspoons
Goji berries: small pinch (about 6-8 pcs)
Dried Chinese red dates (Jujube): 2 pcs
Dried Longan Fruit: 2 pcs
Licorice root: 1–2 pcs
Chrysanthemum Flowers: 1–2 tablespoons
American Ginseng: 1-2 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.
Benefits of Ba Bao Cha
So what makes this tea a tonic? Goji berries and jujube, indigenous to western China, are rich in antioxidants and minerals to help nourish blood. Tonic herbs such as ginseng and licorice are qi boosters and possess adaptogenic properties to help regulate your immune system. Black tea is rich in polyphenols and is commonly consumed by nomads to boost energy and aid digestion. Chrysanthemum flowers are cleansing and help brighten eyes; a necessity especially after traveling through the dusty sand dunes along the Silk Road. Longan, a sweet and warm fruit, contains monosaccharides, amino acids, Vitamins B & C, calcium, phosphorus, iron and other micro-nutrients to nourish blood and calm spirit. Finally, orange peel helps regulate qi and prevents stagnation in the body by harmonizing all of the herbs in the blend.
With so many health benefits, it’s no wonder this tea has been around for almost 2000 years. Let's drink to our health and vitality this season. Cheers!