It is said that "Wanglaoji herbal tea enjoys a history of over a thousand years". Although it’s impossible for us to know who invented it, people all agree that the original inventor of Guangdong herbal tea was Wang Laoji.
In the eighth year of the Daoguang Period in the Qing dynasty (AD 1828), Wang Laoji opened a clinic with unique features in Xiguan, Guangzhou. In the clinic, two gourd-like bronze pots up to the waist of man stood on the table in the lobby. Beside the pots was a row of large bowls made of blue-and-white porcelain. Any passer-by, as long as he dropped a few copper coins in the bowl, could pour the herbal tea into the bowl from a bronze pot and enjoy the tea which is known today as Wanglaoji herbal tea.
Wanglaoji herbal tea not only quenches people’s thirst with its cool and refreshing taste, but also plays a role in preventing excessive internal heat and dispelling moist heat in our body. After we drink it, our throat would feel comfortable.
It is said that before the launch of the herbal tea in Xiguan, Wang Laoji had been boiling the tea with herbal medicine in his hometown. He often invited the villagers to drink the tea for free. Anyone who drank the tea would find it rather effective in preventing excessive internal heat.
During the reign of Emperor Daoguang in the Qing dynasty, malaria and epidemic diseases broke out and became rampant in Guangzhou. Wang Zebang, founder of Wanglaoji herbal tea, managed to invent the recipe for the herbal tea by trying medicines himself in order to save others. The herbal tea he invented not only relieved people's pain but also helped them survive smallpox, epidemic diseases and other disasters. Since then, Wang Zebang became so famous that he was even summoned by Emperor Daoguang to the Forbidden City and was then promoted as the head of the Imperial Hospital. In the 17th year of Daoguang (AD 1837), Wang Zebang opened a herbal tea shop in Guangzhou named "Wanglaoji".
Thanks to word of mouth, Wanglaoji herbal tea shop was increasingly popular. In 1840, Wanglaoji began to chop the raw material of the tea into pieces and sold them to customers in packs so that customers could brew the tea in their homes. Meanwhile the descendants of Wanglaoji opened branch stores in many places and registered the trademark of “Wanglaoji” with the shape of a gourd. Due to brand effect in the early phase, Wanglaoji herbal teas gradually became well-known in Guangdong, Guangxi, Beijing, Shanghai, etc. In his book entitled “Journey to the New World”, Liang Qichao depicted his experience of traveling in the west between 1898 and 1903. He wrote: there was a westerner skillful at traditional Chinese medicine, so he sold Wanglaoji herbal tea in Guangdong and made a fortune. Both Chinese and western people just needed to pay a small sum of money to buy it. From Liang’s book, we know that Wanglaoji herbal tea started to enter foreign markets as early as more than 100 years ago.
There is another folk legend about Wanglaoji herbal tea. In those years, Lin Zexu worked very hard in carrying out his Opium-banning Movement in Guangdong. So when he heard that Wanglaoji herbal tea was effective in relieving fatigue and internal heat, he gladly went to drink the tea and found that it was really effective. With pleasure, Lin inscribed a plaque for Wanglaoji as a token of reward.
Over the past 200 years, the fame of Wanglaoji herbal tea fame has spread far and wide. It is difficult for us to tell you all the legends of Wanglaoji. As time goes by, Wanglaoji herbal tea has become a daily necessity in the lives of many people in Guangdong. It has even become a cultural symbol. Because of it, the culture of the south of the Five Ridges gets enriched. As a result, although the clinic opened by Wanglaoji has disappeared, the herbal tea shop he opened has endured until today. Wanglaoji, a herbal tea brand with authentic secret recipe for a history of 185 years, has never changed its brand name.
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