Farewell to Tea

In this post-transplant life I am now living, I am forced to give a few things up. Like tea. I have always enjoyed tea, but to be honest I am just relieved I don’t have to give up coffee. I’ll take coffee over tea any day.  A world without coffee would be just too cruel.

Not only do I have to stay away from tea (including green tea) but also all herbal or organic medicines/products without consulting my transplant team because they could cause a potentially dangerous interaction with the medicine I’m taking. The problem with many herbal medicines is they just haven’t been researched enough. For instance, with green tea there is some evidence to suggest that green tea flavonoid may help in the preventing re-infection with of the virus hepatitis C following liver transplant. But nothing definitive.

That’s okay. For once in my life I am not going to fight authority (“authority always wins” anyway). I am content to follow my doctor’s orders and not do or take anything without approval. At least, I  have my coffee.

But, in the meantime, I shall miss tea, especially in the wintertime, when it’s cold out, and when a nice, warm cup of tea can be so soothing . . .

As kind of a farewell to tea, here is a selection from Drink Tea and Prolong Life, the famous essay by Eisai (1141-1215), the Tendai monk who brought Rinzai Zen (and green tea) to Japan from China:

The secret to living a long life is to drink tea; it is the most wonderful medicine for maintaining one’s heath. It springs up from the hillsides as the spirit of the earth. Those who gather and use it are guaranteed longevity. Both India and China value it greatly, and in the past our own country had a high regard for tea. It still has the same exceptional qualities and we should use it more.

It is said that in the past, humanity was in harmony with all the universe, but now it seems that humanity had declined gradually and has become fragile, so that our four bodily components and five organs have degenerated. This is why acupuncture and moxa remedies do not save, and even treatment at hot springs has no effect. Those who are treated with these methods become weaker and weaker until death comes to them, a most dreadful prospect to consider. If these traditional healing modalities fail to help people today, then there is hardly any relief in sight.

Of all things existent in the universe, the most noble is humanity. Because life is precious, it is prudent and proper to [drink tea] . . . Drink lots of tea, and one’s energy and spirits will be restored to full strength.”



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