The Natural History of the Tea-Tree With Observations on the Medical Qualities of Tea, and Effects of Tea-Drinking


This treatise on the tea bush and the consumption of tea was published in 1772 by John Coakley Lettsom (1744–1815), a physician and philanthropist, whose first action on inheriting his family plantation in 1767 was to free all its slaves. He practised medicine in London, and wrote on topics which he felt would benefit society. The book begins with a description of the plant, using the Linnaean system, discussing tea cultivation and harvesting in China, and the preparation of the leaves for use locally and abroad. In Part II, Lettsom turns to the medical uses of tea, lamenting that so little scientific evidence exists for either its beneficent or its malign properties. After performing various experiments and considering the physical and social consequences of tea-drinking, he concludes that it should be avoided, because its enervating effects lead to weakness and effeminacy, advice which mostly fell on deaf ears.

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297 x 210 mm
1 b/w illus.
80 pages

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