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Eucommia ulmoides, a treasured plant in Zhangjiajie

Updated : Dec 06, 2021
Tea grower Xie Youwang finds potential tea business in Cili County which is rich in a tea plant named Eucommia ulmoides.

Cili County in Zhangjiajie City is home to abundant Eucommia ulmoides. Before 1952, it was the only county across China and even the world over where large numbers of wild Eucommia ulmoides grew. Each part of Eucommia ulmoides can be made full use of with its barks used as medicine and leaves and flowers for tea. Later, such plant has been gradually exported out of Hunan Province since its professional planting in Jiangya Forest Farm.

Born in a family of doctors of traditional Chinese medicine, Mr. Xie knows well the medical value of Eucommia ulmoides. And after continuous efforts he finally initiated the experimental growing of Eucommia ulmoides used both as medicine and food.

With years of experience in making tea, Mr. Xie decided to produce Eucommia ulmoides dark tea of with his own brand named Chakunyuan, first introducing the dark tea into Zhangjiajie.

Compared with Yunnan Pu’er and Anhua dark tea, Eucommia ulmoides dark tea has its own unique aroma and taste. It has a slight pleasant fungus smell and tastes mellow without any sour or musty taste of other ordinary dark tea.

Such characteristic has something to do with the light fragrance of Eucommia ulmoides leaves and the special fermentation process. Different from the cold and hot fermentation adopted for Yunnan Pu’er and Anhua dark tea respectively, Eucommia ulmoides dark tea undergoes the fermentation at the temperature of 60 to 70 degree Celsius and requires accurate control of fermentation speed. Besides, he mixes it with some other medicine-and-food materials according to the relevant theories of traditional Chinese medicine.

A tablespoon of the tea should be first washed with boiling water and then the water at about 85 degree Celsius from a kettle is poured to it in the direction of counterclockwise. And the tea is made ready for drinking.

After several rounds of brewing, the leaves will spread out and expose white filaments when torn. Mr. Xie compares such filaments to collagen or bones of Eucommia ulmoides, which is the main reason why people in ancient times would take it as a medicine.

So far, Eucommia ulmoides is recognized to be the only plant that can survive after being stripped of its barks in the world.

Edited by Li Ling 

2019 Zhangjiajie Bureau of Culture, Tourism, Broadcasting and Sports