Sipping a freshly brewed cup of Oolong tea has been a common practice for me since my very early 20’s when I was exposed to Japanese acupuncture, traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong and a multitude of Eastern philosophies, healing and therapeutic arts. Rose buds (mei gui hua) were often added at my first introduction to Oolong tea, which gave it a sweet hue of flavour and fragrance and added health benefits of gently moving stasisof Qi and Blood. Maybe those subtle flavours of the tea associate me with reflections on days of transition into a career that I unintentionally fell into, being immersed in learning from extraordinary teachers and observations on how human beings have an enormous potential to heal. 

Da Hong Pao is known as the ‘King of Tea’s’ and translates to ‘Big Red Robe’ and is possibly the most venerated Oolong tea in China. The tea was celebrated with in the Qing Dynasty and its origins have been traced back to the Ming times and through the Song Dynasty, where it was much adored for its supreme quality and flavours.

There are many legends that tell how Big Red Robe was named. 

One such legend, shared with me by a beautiful friend who has Chinese roots was of a general who was riding on horseback across China and he fell sick. When he arrived in the next village on his journey the people welcomed him in, he took off his big red robe and they gave him a special tea with healing effects to drink. The tea cured him. Thus, it was then named ‘Big Red Robe’. Although I do not advise to drink Oolong tea in the hope of being ‘cured’ of all ills, I often chat in the clinic about the health benefits and properties of Oolong. Oolong is warm in nature, warmer than the less fermented green tea and better for those suffering with cold inside and it contains an array of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and trace elements.

Another legend of Big Red Robe is a light hearted story about Monks who had planted tea bushes and they had great difficulty accessing the plants as they grew on Rocky Mountain Cliffs. They decided to train monkeys to collect the leaves. They dressed the monkeys in red robes in order to be seen from afar and legend has it that Big Red Robe was named after the red robes worn by these ancient tea pickers.  

So with those legends told I’m off to boil the pot!

What’s your favourite hot healthful brew?