The importance of floral elements in Chinese traditions dates back to the earliest origins of their culture. The gods, dragons, and other mythological entities from Ancient Chinese folklore were personified in the many blossoming plants and vines that are native to the Asian continent. The practice of brewing tea from these symbolic representations of the powers of nature has always been a form of ritual tribute as well as a dietary function.
The tradition of Chinese flower tea has come to include the practice of combining different flowers in such a way that the act of brewing tea becomes a form of visual entertainment that also provides a spiritual or religious ceremony. The personification of the various dragons of Chinese mythology is seen in the visual display created by brewing amaranths, sunflowers, marigolds, and jasmines.
Jasmine tea in particular is a popular favorite among Chinese flower tea makers. This is partially due to the very aromatic qualities of this tiny flower in its many species. The fragrance of the jasmine is retained even after the processes of drying and combining with other botanicals in the tea-making process itself. Yet the symbolic meaning of the jasmine is an equally important reason that this flower is used so often in Chinese flower tea.
Jasmine tea has been brewed for hundreds of centuries all across Asia for its well-know ability to calm nerves and other bodily functions. Jasmine is used as a sedative agent not only in tea but in the practice or aroma therapy that, although a relatively new phenomenon to Western culture, has been a part of everyday Chinese healing since the beginning of their culture. Jasmine tea is brewed to settle upset digestive systems, reduce inflammation in wounds, and ease the sleep of children and adults alike.
This is why the jasmine flower is used so often in combination with other floral buds in Chinese flower tea. Its medicinal application, along with the aesthetic value of its fragrance, adds significantly to any choice of flowering plant that is used in tea making. The numerous varieties of colors that jasmine flowers come in are another reason for their wide use in Chinese flower tea. White jasmines combined with a pink rose becomes a crown of passion when the brewed, as the petals of these flowers unfold. A dried bundle of yellow jasmine, marigold, and globe amaranth flower buds, artistically woven together, miraculously unfurl into a colorful bouquet that reminds one of wildflowers in a meadow at springtime.
The tradition of skillfully weaving flower buds together to create a showpiece of color and fragrance in a teapot is one of the carryovers from the days of the ancient Chinese dynasties, when dragon spirits and forces of nature were a very real part of the life and ideology of the Chinese people. The Western culture of today has inherited this tradition in the practice of making Chinese flower tea, not only for its homeopathic healing qualities but for its ability to enlighten the spirit as well.