I spent my years of childhood and adolescence in Uttarakhand but I had never heard about Uttarakhand tea. When I visited Kausani and Nainital after about 40 years I just noticed tea garden kind of fields. It aroused my curiosity and asked my taxi driver to show me Uttarakhand team gardens. He took me to Ghorakhal tea garden and I visited the field and processing plant in detail. And I think the plant manager to assist me in these details by giving some more information and brochure.
In 1835 bushes arrived from Kolkata to Uttarakhand. These were imported from China. Planting of these was done in Lakhmaneshwar near Almora and also near Bhimtal, 20 KM from Nainital. So it was British who brought tea to Uttarakhand about 180 years ago. In 1837-38 first production was done and quality was appreciated by Calcutta Chambers of Commerce.
By 1880 about eleven thousand acres of land 63 big and small gardens were developed which also generated employment for about 5000 people.
But in 1942 after onset of Quit India movement the gardens were neglected and production was reduced. The problems faced were export, transportation, labor and lack of tea processing plants and therefore by 1949 it reached minimal.
In 1994-95 again re-establishment was initiated under employment scheme called Uttarakhand Tea Development Project.
In 1995-96 hybrid Chinese tea plants were planted in Kausani region. By 2001 about 110 hectares of tea gardens were developed and in 2002-03 tea processing plants were erected and production started under name of Uttarakhand Tea. The tea was sold locally as well as in Kolkata Auction House. Flavor and quality were compared to Darjeeling tea. This tea is being exported to South Korea, USA, Germany, Japan and Netherland.
Organic tea is being produced in Ghorakhal (20 Km from Nainital),and Champawat by Uttarakhand tea Development Board.
Benefits of Tea
An ancient Chinese proverb “ Better to be reprieved of food for three days than tea for one day”. Healers believe than tea prolongs life.
Tea has some chemical compounds such as polysaccharides, volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, purines, alkoids (such as caffine) and polyphenols (e.g catechins and flavonoids).
The benefits of polyphenols is antioxidant, anti inflammatory,, anti allergic, anti bacterial and anti viral effects. Catcechins posses anti septic, anti oxidant, and system detoxifying effects.
All types of tea have Vitamin C. It is found that 12 cups of tea provide vitamin C equal to 3 oranges.
Medicinal benefits of Tea
- Digestive complaints : Treats infectious dysentery and eases inflammatory bowels.
- Infection :Antiseptic properties due to tannins and flavonoids
- Guards tooth decay : particularly green tea is rich in flurides and so reduces severity in cavity.
- Immunity booster : Due to vitamin C and minerals
- Prevention of cancer : Drinking 10 cups of tea specially green tea decreases risk of breast cancer, blood cancer,prostrate and stomach cancer. Reduces risk of skin cancer due to anti oxidants (National cancer Institute).
- Cardiovascular diseases : Reduces artery diseases due to antioxidants, lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and stroke in men.
- Black tea reduces stress.
- Contributes to daily fluid intake
Note : These benefits are as given in brochure. I guess it may be more relevant to Uttarakhand organic tea.
The official site of Uttarakhand Tea Development Board is www.utdb.uk.gov.in. All these information are based on the brochure the tea plant provided me this this brochure seems to be pretty old publication.
The tea here was brought by British and later encouraged by state government to generate employment. Not well known to me atleast yet it was pleasant to know Uttarakhand tea.To me it seems still the volume needs to be increased along with publicity.