All the best teas made from faeces, it seems, come from China. The latest to hit the headlines is tea made from insect excrement which Chinese scientists believe reduces hypertension and improves digestion.
First it was tea made from panda poo — if you can afford the $36,000 per pound price tag — now, it seems, an infusion made from insect excrement may have some desirable health benefits, claim Chinese scientists.
A study published in Food Research International reveals that a traditional tea from Guangxi Province in south west China made from the droppings of insects fed exclusively on tea leaves can aid in improving digestion, alleviating high blood pressure and reducing fat and sugar levels in the bloodstream. Locally the infusion is known as chong shi cha. In the West it's sometimes referred to as dragon ball tea.
Not only does dragon ball tea appear to possess a range of medicinal benefits, whilst the tea is a bit more expensive than everyday tea normally found in grocery stores, against panda poo tea, it’s a real bargain retailing for a mere $25 to $250 a pound, reports French daily Le Figaro.
Research into insect poo tea was carried out by six Chinese researchers examining Chinese herbal medicine and is reported in Food Research International. The researchers characterised the insect excrement infusion as requiring a “minimal dose, having an enjoyable tea flavour, few tea residues and superb transparency”.
Additional health benefits, the researchers say, include protecting the spleen and stomach but although they consider the tea made from insect faeces to be safe and nutritional they concede that further research is required.
At present, manufacture of the specialist insect poo tea is very much a cottage industry with a variety of insect species feeding on different plants being used, there being no mass market industrial process — at least not yet — for insect poo tea.
Maybe all they’re waiting on is an attention grabbing brand name to seduce western consumers to the delights of a cuppa of insect poo tea — somehow ‘crap tea’ just doesn’t cut it.