Specification & Spread
China tea leaves — folia theae
China tea (tea plant) — camellia sinensis (l.) Kuntze ( = thea sinensis l.)
Tea family — theaceae
It is a small evergreen tree or large shrub up to 10 m tall, strongly branched. On industrial plantations, the tea plant is not allowed to grow above 1 m: it is systematically pruned, giving it a hemispherical shape. Systematic pruning contributes to abundant branching and, consequently, an increase in the number of leaves.
The leaves are alternate, short-petiolate, elliptical or oblong-elliptical, with an acuminate tip and a jagged edge, 6-8 (up to 30) cm long and 4 cm wide, dark green above and light green, shiny and leathery below. The young leaves are covered with silver hairs.
The flowers are fragrant, arranged singly or in bunches of 2-4 in the leaf axils. There are 5-7 sepals, remaining with the fruit; the corolla of 5-9 white petals with a yellowish-pink shade, with a diameter of 2-5 cm; the numerous stamens are with small yellow anthers; the pistil is with upper ovary and 3 filiform stabs.
The fruit is a flat, 3-nested woody box, revealing three leaves, with 3 large spherical, grey-brown and shiny seeds.
The origin country of the tea plant is South-West China and the adjacent areas of Vietnam and Burma, where it is found in the wild state and to this day. It is introduced into culture, apparently for many centuries BC in China. Currently, it is cultivated in almost all countries with regions with tropical and subtropical climates. In Russia, it is cultivated on a very limited area in the Krasnodar Territory. The largest tea producers are India, Sri Lanka and China.
Tea leaves contain:
- 1.5-3.5% caffeine,
- traces of theophylline,
- 20-24% tannins («tea tannin»),
- traces of essential oil
- vitamins C, B1, B2,
- nicotinic and pantothenic acids,
- trace elements.
Properties and application
Caffeine alkaloid which is contained in tea leaves:
- stimulates the central nervous system (especially the cerebral cortex) and heart activity,
- increases blood pressure,
- makes breathing faster and deeper,
- increases diuresis,
- dilates the vessels of the brain, heart and kidneys.
Another alkaloid contained in the leaves of the tea plant is theophylline which has:
- stimulating effect on the heart and
- increases urination. Catechins that are the part of tannins contained in the leaves of the tea plant, have P-vitamin activity:
- increase the strength of capillaries,
- reduce the permeability of the walls of blood vessels,
- promote the best absorption of ascorbic acid.
Due to the high content of tannins tea has:
- astringent and
- disinfectant action
- it improves digestion.
Application of tea leaves
Strongly infused tea is a means:
- tonic and
- heart activity and
In necessary cases, tea (infusion) - the first in terms of availability and versatility antidote for poisoning.
Strongly brewed tea - the first remedy with intestinal disorders.
If this disorder is not very serious, it is often enough to «treat» a glass of strong tea. Previously, the material from trimming bushes, large leaves, tea production waste was used to produce caffeine and «tea tannin». Currently, caffeine is produced mainly by synthetic.
It is contradicted with stomach ulcer, atherosclerosis, hypertension, insomnia