Did you know tea causes “nervous paralytic disorders and can make women ugly”?!!!

It doesn’t and no it can’t (unless you’re pouring it on your face.) The above is what some sad souls from the 18th and 19th century Europe claimed and believed about tea! In 1706 a French Doctor published a book cautioning against “the abuse of hot liquors”. The book contained cheerful advice warning against the excess heat tea causes in the body which would in turn kill you. His book was translated into English, and placed tea in hater’s sights for the next 150 years or so. 


Another prominent tea hater was John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement in the UK in the 1700’s. John Wesley founded the Methodist Church, a division of Protestant Christianity that focuses on the absolute love of God and living a holy life. In 1748 Wesley claimed in an essay that tea had wrecked within him “a nervous paralytic disorder” and that it was money better spent on the poor. He obviously saw past the sinfulness of tea later in life, as he went back to tea. Yet his essay had a powerful impact as the Methodists had many followers, and it encouraged others to become increasingly critical of tea. Which they did, but for increasingly insidious reasons. 


In 1757 the British philanthropist Jonas Hanway published a vicious attack on tea; claiming that tea drinking caused one to suffer from a weakened disposition and that it was the main culprit behind the fact “there is not so many beautiful women in this country as there once was”. Harsh.  However a careful reading of Hanway’s piece revealed his real problem with tea. Hanway was convinced that tea was damaging the working classes; rendering them lazy, weak and infertile! A damaged working class would of course have an impact on the upper classes that relied on the labour of the working classes to stay rich. Huh! So much for a “philanthropist”!


Fortunately, the wonderful literary critic Dr Samuel Johnson leapt to tea’s defence. In a series of satirical essays he mocked Hanway’s articles, reducing them to rubble with lines like: “with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.” Dr Johnson had no problem with any one drinking tea, which was unlike many upper-class people at the time, who published articles arguing like Hanway that tea would ruin the lower classes and in turn ruin the rich. Snobs. 



Eventually tea gained far too much momentum to be stopped short by a few haters and the ‘tea debate’ has become a tiny footnote in History. Yet its only recently we have learned the true extent of just how brilliant tea can be for your health! From combating life threatening diseases, to actually improving your physical beauty, those tea haters will never know just how wrong they about tea.


Nothing is better than a cup of Chill-Out Tea while reading!