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Many people are aware of the medicinal uses and benefits of tea - but did you also know that even the tea stems and roots that don't make it into your cup can also be useful?
At the moment, we're busy decorating our house here in Fuzhou. Many health conscious friends of ours remind us daily about the risks of the lingering paint smells and fumes, and have offered a number of quite strange methods for getting rid of the smells.
For example, one friend recommended putting bowls of vinegar around the house to absorb the fumes. While it seems to be working, our whole house now stinks of vinegar!
A slightly more preferable solution is a traditional Chinese method of using the leftover stems and roots from tea processing. Normally, when tea is processed, workers will manually pick out the hard twigs from the soft tea leaves. In some lower quality teas, the twigs will be ground up and mixed together with the tea - not in our tea I might add!
Anyway, so one short trip to a local tea supplier, and I had a massive 5kg bag of leftover tea roots. Although not good to drink, they smell fantastic (much better than vinegar), and spread around the house they're helping soak up the paint smells really well.
And you thought tea was just for drinking!!