AN EXACT DESCRIPTION OF THE GROWTH, QUALITY AND VIRTUES
OF THE TEA LEAF, by Thomas Garway, in Exchange Alley,
near the Royal Exchange, in London, Tobacconist, and
Seller and Retailer of Tea and Coffee.
"Tea is generally brought from China, and groweth there
upon little shrubs and bushes, the branches whereof are
well garnished with white flowers, that are yellow
within, of the bigness and fashion of sweet-brier, but
in smell unlike, bearing thin green leaves, about the
brightness of Scordium, Myrtle or Sumack. This plant has
been reported to grow wild only, but doth not: for they
plant it in their gardens about four foot distance and
it groweth about four foot high, and of the seeds they
maintain and increase their stock. Of all places in
China this plant groweth in greatest plenty in the
province of Xemsi, latitude 36 degrees bordering up on
the west of the province of Namking, near the city of
Lucheu, the Island Ladrones, and Japan, and is called '
ChA.' Of this famous leaf there are divers sorts (though
all one shape), some much better than others, the upper
leaves excelling the others in fineness, a property
almost in all plants; which leaves they gather every
day, and drying them in the shade or in iron pans, over
a gentle fire, till the humidity be exhausted, then put
close up in leaden pots, preserve them for their drink,
TEA, which is used at meals, and upon all visits and
entertainments in private families, and in the palaces
of grandees; and it is averred by a padre of Macao,
native of Japan, that the best tea ought to be gathered
but by virgins who are destined for this work, and such,
'quae non dum manstrua patiuntur; gemmae quae nascuntur
in summitate arbuscula servantur Imperatori,
acpraecipuis e jus dynastus: quae autem infra nasccuntur
adlatera, populo conceduntur.'
The said leaf is of such known virtues, that those very
nations so famous for antiquity, knowledge and wisdom,
do frequently sell it among themselves for twice its
weight in silver; and the high estimation of the drink
made therewith hath occasioned an enquiry into the
nature threrof amongst the most intelligent persons of
all nations that have travelled in those parts, who,
after exact trial and experience by all ways imaginable,
have commended it to the use of their several countries,
and for its virtues and operations, particularly as
The quality is moderately hot, proper for winter and
summer. The drink is declared to be most wholesome,
preserving in perfect health until extreme old age. The
particular virtues are these;
It maketh the body active and lusty.
It helpeth the headache, giddiness and heaviness
It removeth the obstructions of the spleen.
It is very good against the stone and gravel, cleaning
the kidneys and ureters, being drank with virgin's
honey, instead of sugar.
It taketh away the difficulty of breathing, opening
It is good against tipitude, distillations, and cleareth
It removeth lassitude, and cleanseth and purifieth acrid
humours, and a hot liver.
It is good against crudities, strengthening the weakness
of the ventricle, or stomach, causing good appetite and
digestion, and particularly for men of corpulent body,
and such as are great eaters of flesh.
It vanquisheth heavy dreams, easeth the frame, and
strengtheneth the memory.
It overcometh superfluous sleep, and prevents sleepiness
in general; a draught of the infusion being taken, so
that without trouble, whole nights may be spent in
study, without hurt to the body, in that it moderately
healeth and bindeth the mouth of the stomach.
It prevents and cures agues, surfets, and fevers, by
infusing a fit quantity of the leaf, thereby provoking a
most gentle vomit and breathing of the pores, and hath
been given with wonderful success.
It (being prepaired and drank with milk and water)
strengthenth the inward parts, and prevents consumption;
and powerfully assuageth the pains of the bowels, or
griping of the guts, and looseness.
It is good for colds, dropsys, and scurvys, if properly
infused, purging the body by sweat and urine, and
It driveth away all pains of the collick proceeding from
wind, and purgeth safely the gall.
And that the virtues and excellences of this leaf and
drink are many and great is evident and manifest by the
high esteem and use of it (especially of late years)
among the physicians and knowing men of France, Italy,
Holland and in England it hath been sold in the leaf for
six pounds (sterling) and sometimes for ten pounds the
pound weight; and in respect of its former scarceness
and dearness it hath been only used as a regalia in high
treatments and entertainments, and presents made thereof
to princes and grandees till the year 1657. The said
Thomas Gaeway did purchase a quantity thereof, and first
publicly sold the said tea in leaf and drink, made
according to the directions of the most knowing
merchants and travelers in those eastern countries; and
upon knowledge and experience of the said Garway's
continued care and industry in obtaining the best tea,
and making drink thereof, very many noblemen, physicians
and merchants, and gentlemen of quality, have ever since
sent to him for the said leaf, and daily resort to his
house in Exchange Alley aforesaid, to drink the tea
And that ignorance nor envy may have no ground or power
to report or suggest that which is here asserted, of the
virtues and excellencies of this precious leaf and
drink, hath more design than truth, for the
justification of himself, and the satisfaction of
others, he hath here enumerated several authors, who in
their learned works have expressly written and asserted
the same and much more in honour of this noble leaf and
drink, viz.--Bontius, Riccius, Jarricus, Almeyda.
Horstius, Alvarez Semeda, Martinivus in his China Atlas,
and Alexander de Rhodes in his Voyage and Missions, in a
large discourse of the ordering of this leaf, and the
many virtues of the drink, printed in Paris, 1653, part