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A look back at the history of mushroom tea, and its return

From medicinal treatments to ceremonies and socialising, mushroom tea is nothing new -- it has a rich history that dates back thousands of years ago. But we can't talk about mushroom tea without talking about tea itself. We have to give all thanks to the Chinese who started the consumption of this drink, and to the Dutch who spread it all over the world.

Tea as the holy water

Tea dates back thousands of years ago when the Chinese started to drink it for medicinal purposes. They used tea to cure bad stomach aches, damaged eyesight, and diseases. Because of tea's healing power, it was only available to nobles and monks. It wasn't until the development of tea growth and processing methods that the taste of the drink improved, which led to a transition from medicinal tea to an enjoyable drink that quickly became part of everyday life. Soon, tea expanded globally, with the Dutch being responsible for bringing it to the European continent. You could expect that once any product arrived at the centre of international trade, it would boom in the world. Today, tea is the second most enjoyed drink after water.

History of tea ceremonies

Tea has a long history of ceremonial use, having been first used by Zen Buddhist monks. This doesn't belong only to the past, it became a tradition and continues to this day. The Japanese would use tea in a “wabi-cha” style, which is the result of incorporating Japanese “wabi-sabi” into the conventional tea ceremony in pursuit of deep spirituality. “Wabi-cha” involves being grateful for things as they are, and cultivating communication in places that are pure and simple. This is the basis of tea ceremonies that are still being used today.

Okakura Kakuzō (1862–1913), an important figure in Japanese art development, described tea ceremonies in his famously known book The Book of Tea:

It insulates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.

Okakura's deep description of those ceremonies grants them a social aspect: people would come together to use tea with pure intentions for healing and spirituality. This social form calls our attention, as we wonder what this social context looks like in today's society.

Tea ceremonies in today's society

The social aspect of tea is not particular to ceremonies from years ago -- it became a cultural expression in many countries, like India, the UK and Morocco, to name a few. For some groups, beer or wine are the go-to drinks in social gatherings, for others, tea is celebrated. But not just any tea: mushroom tea. Not any mushroom, magic mushrooms.

The use of mushroom tea can be correlated with the practices of indigenous people in certain parts of the world. For instance, Ayahuasca has been a practice for 1000 years, with the use of specific plants from the Amazon forest brewed and served as a tea for ritualistic moments. Although mushroom tea and Ayahuasca are not the same, the social aspect of these two touch upon each other. While in these ceremonies, usually hosted by native people, they come together to find healing. However, large dose psychedelic ceremonies need guidance and should be done in safe places.

But not all mushroom tea needs to be 'mad'. It isn't always necessary to go to the jungle. The proposition of Happy Tea allows a modern approach to mushroom tea: appreciating a low dose drink with friends while socialising. No big rituals or mentors needed.

Mushrooms have a bitter taste, can be hard on the stomach and cause nausea. That's why many people prefer to drink it in tea. It doesn't require your stomach to break down the mushroom, a process that causes some of the psilocin to be lost in the process. By grinding the fungi and steeping them in hot water, it can create extracts that yield up to 400 active ingredients since it increases the mushroom’s surface area, enabling the body to absorb more.

The truth is, it all comes down to your own preference. Eat it or drink it, mushrooms or truffles in small doses can be used as an alternative approach to socialising. Many people use alcohol to live social experiences, which often leads to abuse of the substance, causing undesirable effects such as anxiety and troubled sleep. On the other hand, Happy Tea's philosophy really enhances the idea of feeling happy and conscious, rather than drunk and unconscious.

Experiencing mushroom tea

You might be wondering how you feel when you drink mushroom tea. It depends from person to person. However, personal experiences may help you have a clue. Drinking a low dose of mushrooms will make you feel chill and a bit giggly. In my experience, I felt my body a bit floaty, which is a great feeling for someone who's constantly anxious. On a different note, there was one time that I drank mushroom tea on an empty stomach. At that time, I really felt my body floating and was giggling a lot. It's a pity that I was not with friends then.

Because of the chill feeling, mushroom tea may also help you with social anxiety. When your body receives psilocybin, it processes it into psilocin, which then interacts with serotonin receptors in your brain. Oh, yes, serotonin! It can regulate mood, cognition, learning, memory and other functions of the brain. It's widely known in the scientific community as a chemical messenger that stabilizes mood and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. First, it helps with that anxious sentiment because it brings you to the present and gives you a feeling of connection to the "here and now" (in high doses of mushroom, your perception of time changes). When communicating with the serotonin receptors, psilocin can reduce depression by boosting happy hormone levels in your system. In fact, research has shown that psilocin increases both the extracellular dopamine and 5-HT (serotonin) concentrations in areas of the brain. That's why you may feel happy when you take mushroom tea with your friends.

Are you interested to try? Visit the webshop and read more about Happy Tea. Text some friends and share this experience with them.

Written by Julia



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