10 Ancient Uses of Tea We Can Learn From

By Diana Zhang
Diana Zhang
Diana Zhang
Diana Zhang, Ph.D., is a staff writer with 20 years’ experience in the study of China. Based in the United States, she uses a pen name to protect her family members in China.
August 8, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013

In general, there are six kinds of tea: green tea, black tea, Oolong tea, flower tea, white tea, and yellow tea. White tea and yellow tea are comparatively less popular, or at least less available on the market. Flower tea is usually regular tea with a few selected flowers such as Jasmine or chrysanthemum added.

Nowadays, there are a lot of trendy health teas on the market made from different herbs and flowers. But these are herb drinks, not tea. Tea is a specific plant species. So if it is not tea, it won’t have the properties of tea, although it may have other properties specific to that herb.

Contrary to many people’s assumptions, green tea can be stronger than black tea. It is not the color of tea that makes it strong. For 5,000 years, Chinese have drank tea on daily basis for its health benefits. But tea is a very versatile plant that has plenty of other  uses too. 

1. Tea Bath

Out-of-date tea can be very inexpensive. It may not be good to drink any longer, but it is great to use in a tea bath. Adding tea leaves to your bath water can clean skin thoroughly and make you skin smooth and shiny. It also help to revive the skin, helps blood circulation, and is an anti-aging agent. In summer, it can help beat the heat and it also soothes sunburns.

For older people, it is better to use black tea. For young people, green tea is better.

Use half a pound of tea, pour hot water in a big pot, wait for 1 minute, then pour the tea into your bath water, keeping the tea leaves in pot. Pour another round of hot water over the tea leaves, wait 2 minutes. This time, the tea is even stronger than first time. Pour the tea into the bath. You can repeat once more. Keep the bath water warm to hot. Cold water suppresses the tea.

2. Grease Cleaner

Tea water is very effective at cleaning grease. It is common in Chinese families to use leftover tea water to clean the dinner table or dishes. There is no need for soap.

3. Digestive and Internal Cleanser 

If you think a daily shower is necessity. Then, drinking tea is like shower for inside your body. It cleans your body internally. If you understand how tea water can clean dishware, you’ll understand how tea cleans your system. Chinese drink tea after each meal, especially after meat and oily food. Tea also has a medicinal effect in helping digesting.

4. Tea Pillow

Used tea leaves can be useful too. Collect used, dried tea leaves, make them into a pillow. It will cure high blood pressure and keep your eyes clear. 

5. Antitoxin

The ancient Emperor Shennoong was the inventor of Chinese medicine 5,000 years ago. There were all kinds of poisonous herbs he tasted. One day, he discovered that tea leaves can work as antidote. He started to take tea everyday. Tea has a strong antitoxin effect.

If children have stomach problems because of bad food, tea can usually calm the stomach and dissolve the poison.

You should not drink tea to take medicine. Tea will reduce the effect of medicine. 

6. Deodorizer

Tea is sensitive to its environment. It also absorbs odor. That is why you have to seal your tea well when you store it. If you put soap near tea, the tea will have soapy taste. If you put match near tea, the tea will taste like a match.

You can make tea bags and put them in shoes, closet, oven, refrigerator or anywhere else you want to deodorize. 

7. Furniture Cleaner

For any furniture made of wood, bamboo, or tatami, using tea water to clean it will make it fresh and shiny. It also makes the furniture resistant to dust mites and bugs.

8. Ingredient for Cooking

Some people don’t like fat in meat. Add some tea leaves while cooking meat. It will not only make the meat taste better and give it a better color, it also dissolves fat.

There is a famous dish called Dragon Well Shrimp. Use fresh early spring green tea to make tea water, and cook the shrimp in the tea water. It will taste as fresh as early spring vegetables.

9. Invigorate Hair, Eyes, Mouth, and Feet

Put fresh tea leaves in hot water, or make tea in tea pot, then add it to water to wash your hair. It will clean oily hair very effectively and make your hair shine.

Place a warm wet tea bag on your eyes. It will soothe your eyes and reduce circles.

You can chew tea to make your teeth strong and give you fresh breath. It has a better effect than chewing gum.

If you use tea to wash feet everyday, it will reduce stress and cure foot diseases.

10. Plant Fertilizer

Put used tea leaves around plants. Tea will help the plants to grow with more energy. You can also use tea to clean plant leaves. It will make plant leaves shine.


Diana Zhang
Diana Zhang
Diana Zhang, Ph.D., is a staff writer with 20 years’ experience in the study of China. Based in the United States, she uses a pen name to protect her family members in China.