Tea has long been a part of our human culture. For centuries, people have been drinking tea either as a means of its health benefits, or simply as an activity to take on with friends and family. The Spanish word t'e comes from the Chinese ts cha (as does the English "tea"). This Chinese word stems from the original tea drink made from Camellia (Santayana et al. , 2004). Tea eventually made its way from Asia to Europe by way of the East India Company, and has been adopted by Spain ever since.
Currently the Spanish word t'e has expanded to include many more species of plants across a wide range of families. The most popular species of t'e in Spain include Jasonia, Sideritis, and Biden's a urea. Out of all the wild growing species of t'e in Spain, the most consumed is Jasonia (Santayana et al. , 2004). In this paper I will discuss the most widely used t'e, as well as some of the common medicinal, and ethno-botanical properties associated with this diverse group of plants. Jasonia is without doubt the most popular tea in all of Spain.
Many consider it a delicacy served in fine restaurants, while others prefer it as a cold infusion served over ice. Jasonia is gathered in July or August when the plant is flowering. The top flowering part of the plant is collected and dried to be used as a tea. Bermejo et al (1995, as cited in Santayana et al. , 2004) found that this tea contains specific phenolic acids derived from caffein acid, , and essential oils. These compounds have been widely used throughout the region to help digestive disorders as well as colds, depression, and even to assist with whitening the teeth.
Another widely used t'e in Spain is Sideritis. This plant, although not as widespread as others, is extremely popular within the regions it is found. An infusion of the is taken to aid with stomach problems associated with difficult digestion. Mostly this tea is consumed following breakfast, or as a social beverage with friends and family. Also, a herbal liquor is created from the plant by distilling the in liquor (Santayana et al.
, 2004). This species is under threat by intensive collection in the regions it is found. Currently, there are no implementations in place to prevent collection in the wild, therefore further studies must be done to determine the exact threat this plant is experiencing. In conclusion, the diversification of the word t'e throughout the region of Spain has allowed us to see how its popularity has grown. Although the original form of the word only referred to one species (Camellia), it has now grown to include over 50.
The linguistics of the common names for many species is closely related to either the place of origin (i. e. t'e de puerto-mountain pass tea), plant morphology (i. e. t'e de -spikelet tea), or its medicinal properties (i. e.
t'e de - purging tea). This morphological diversity of the language for tea leads one to believe the richness of the cultural heritage of the drink. In order to protect this cultural heritage, studies must be conducted to determine the best conservation measures needed to save currently threatened species (like the Sideritis). Santayana, M. P. Blanco, E.
Morales, R. (2004). Plants known as t'e in Spain: An ethno- pharmacy-botanical review. Journal of Ethno pharmacology (98): 1, 1-19..