myth


How did the Goddess become the Tea ?

It is very interesting on how Chinese gave name to things like flowers and herbs. From the resemblance to the whiskers of a cat, Clerodendranthus Spicatus was named MaoXuCao 猫须草 or translated as Cat Whiskers Herb.

Similarly, depending on which Chinese accent, some said that Roselle (the herb that Good Image Roselle Tea was based on) sounded a bit like “luo shen” and because it is pretty due to its ruby red color, it was given the name “LuoShenHua” or “洛神花” in Chinese.

After reading the various Chinese texts on this fable, I have digested and translated the legend of LuoShen as follows :-

LuoShen 洛神 was the legendary Goddess of Luo who ranked very highly among the Chinese mythological deities. She was a ravishing beauty which many ancient scholars and writers including the great poet, QuYuan 屈原(Warring States period 475-221 BC) would not hesitate to embellish and extol with beautiful poems.

According to one of the popular legends, on both sides of the Luo River 洛河(in China Henan province), there was a well-known story of Lady Mi 宓妃 who later was conferred Goddess of Luo.

Lady Mi was the daughter of FuXi伏羲, the legendary Chinese emperor deemed to be the mythical creator of fishing, trapping, and writing. Because she was very fascinated with the beautiful scenery on both sides of the Luo River, Lady Mi descended onto the Luo River basin where the brave YouLou 有洛clan resided. There she mingled among the industrious folks and taught them how to create nets, fish as well as the skills of hunting, livestock-raising and herding which were learned from her father.

One day, while everyone was working, Lady Mi took out her seven-string qin (七弦琴is a Chinese musical instrument) and played a melodious tune. Unfortunately, this exquisite melody was heard by HeBo河伯 (pronounced Her Pu-or), the prodigal demigod of the Yellow River. He infiltrated into the Luo River to get a glimpse of this qin player and was instantly mesmerized by the beauty of Lady Mi. He subsequently transformed himself into a white dragon, caused a great havoc in the Luo River and engulfed Lady Mi.

While Lady Mi was imprisoned in the water palace of HeBo, in order to drown her daily sorrow and anxiety, she strummed her seven-string qin. Her melodious tune attracted the lonely HouYi 后羿to her side.

About HouYi: HouYi was the renowned legendary deity and great archer who with his magical bow and arrows shot down nine of the ten suns that caused constant great droughts and miseries to earth. His heroism created jealousies among some other deities who later caused him and his wife, ChangE (pronounced Chunch Er) to be demoted to earth as mortal human beings. To atone for his downfall, he successfully pleaded with a higher deity for two elixir pills for his wife and himself. However, ChangE swallowed both of them while HouYi was out hunting and she ascended into the sky and became the goddess of the moon. Thus, HouYi was left alone on earth.

Upon hearing Lady Mi’s bitter encounter, HouYi was very indignant and rescued her from the water palace and returned to the Luo River. Both of them fell in love. On hearing that Lady Mi had escaped and that both of them became lovers, HeBo was so embarrassed with shame and anger that he again transformed himself into a white dragon and attacked the Luo River, gobbling up the villages, farms and livestock.

The furious HouYi came to the rescue and shot an arrow into HeBo’s left eye which sent the panicky HeBo fleeing. Knowing that he was no match for HouYi, HeBo went to lodge a complaint with the King of Heaven. The King of Heaven who knew about the whole saga, sided Hou Yi by telling that HouYi shot a dragon and that HeBo should not have transformed himself. HeBo got no choice but to retreat to his water palace and left both Lady Mi and HouYi alone.

Since then, Lady Mi and HouYi led a happy live in the town of LuoYang洛阳. For their contributions, HouYi was later conferred the title of God of ZhongBu宗布神by the King of Heaven and Lady Mi was conferred Goddess of Luo. Subsequently, the folks on both sides of the Luo River erected the grandiose Temple of Luo Goddess at the east gate of the old city.

Thus, the legend of LuoShen was passed down from generation to generation.

Goddess of Luo

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Tea ‘healthier’ drink than water
Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.

The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates.

Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers,UK nutritionists found.

Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health.

Healthy cuppa
These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage.

Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption.

They found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack.

Some studies suggested tea consumption protected against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut.

Other health benefits seen included protection against tooth plaque and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening.

Dr Ruxton said: “Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.”

Rehydrating
She said it was an urban myth that tea is dehydrating.

“Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate.

But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid.

“Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth,” she added.

There was no evidence that tea consumption was harmful to health.

However, research suggests that tea can impair the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk of anaemia should avoid drinking tea around mealtimes.

Dr Ruxton’s team found average tea consumption was just under three cups per day.

She said the increasing popularity of soft drinks meant many people were not drinking as much tea as before.

“Tea drinking is most common in older people, the 40 plus age range.

In older people, tea sometimes made up about 70% of fluid intake so it is a really important contributor,” she said.

Claire Williamson of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “Studies in the laboratory have shown potential health benefits.

“The evidence in humans is not as strong and more studies need to be done.

But there are definite potential health benefits from the polyphenols in terms of reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancers.

“In terms of fluid intake, we recommend 1.5-2 litres per day and that can include tea. Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink.”

The Tea Council provided funding for the work.

Dr Ruxton stressed that the work was independent.

BBC Health 24 August 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5281046.stm