Update: 2006-08-06 02:22 PM -0700


Myanmar Medicinal Plant Database

Family: Theaceae

compiled by U Kyaw Tun, U Pe Than, and staff of TIL. Not for sale.

Contents of this page

Family: Theaceae 1 entry
• Camellia sinensis • {lak-hpak}

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Camellia sinensis

Family: Theaceae

Burmese-Myanmar transcript names:
• Agri.Dept.2000 53-1421: {lak-hpak}
• FAO : NL
• Lè-seik-shin : NL
• Nagathein : 3-193: {lak-Bak}
• UHM 11: La-phet (fam. Ternstroemiaceae)


Myanmar-Script Spelling :
• Official Myanmar Dictionaries 
{lak-hpak} - -- TravPo-M-Dict 293
{lak-hpak} - n. 1 tea plant. 2 pickled tea leaves. 3. pickled tea leaves mixed with other ingredients and and served as a delicacy - Myan-Engl-Dict 443


Burmese-Myanmar transcription: La-phet

UKT: The Burmese-Myanmar spelling under the illustration on the right (from Nagathein) is orthographically wrong.
   Myanmar akshara or the Myanmar script in which Burmese is written is an alpha-syllabary (sometimes incorrectly called syllabic alphabet) and is totally different from an alphabet the writing system of Europe. It is derived from the Asoka script, which is found on Asoka inscriptions dated a couple of centuries after the birth of Gautama Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism. Technically, Myanmar script together with the parent Asoka script, is known as a abugida. Each character of an abugida, unlike the letter of English-Latin alphabet, has an inherent vowel similar to the English short a. The abugidas are characterised by the presence of a vowel killer which in Myanmar is known as an a-thut and in Devanagari (the script in which Hindi is written) is known as Virama ् . All abugidas, unlike the alphabets, can form conjoined characters or conjuncts.
   The spelling used by Nagathein involves three characters, {ka.}, {Ba.}and {la.}, which in Devanagari are: क भ ल respectively. Nagathein has the characters {la.} and {Ba.} conjoined into a vertical conjunct which would involve the sound /lbak/ which cannot be pronounced, and is therefore not allowed in Myanmar script.


La-phet and Myanmar culture

UKT: Myanmar is probably the only country in the world in which the tea leaves (containing Caffeine - up to 4 %) are eaten. Eating 'prepared' tea leaves ("pickled" is not appropriate) is recommended for old people "to check the 'wind' ".

"Eating la-phet" by the contesting litigants in front of the judge was ceremoniously done in settling all legal matters at courts of law under the Myanmar kings. It signaled that the matter had been settled: all legal matters were settled in Myanmar in accordance with Myanmar Buddhist legal codes which were based on the Buddhist Monastic code (set mostly by Gottama Buddha himself) and ancient "dhamathats" such as the Manu Dhamathat. However, if the matter involved the royal decrees (set by the reigning monarch), the case was considered to be criminal, and could involve capital punishment. It is interesting to note that even a murder case between ordinary citizens was not considered criminal and usually did not involve capital punishment. The offender and his immediate relatives were forced to pay either in cash or labour to the offended (widows and orphans) -- in effect made to support the offended party.

La-phet was so important in all matters that even one of its traders became a minor god or "nat" by the name Maung Po Tu Nat (see my edition of "Folk Elements in Burmese Buddhism". Original by Maung Htin Aung, printed and published by U Myint Maung, Deputy Director, Regd: No (02405/02527) at the Religious Affairs Dept. Press. Yegu, Kaba-Aye P.O., Rangoon, BURMA. 1981. The book is also available online http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ . In my edition I have cited U Po Kya Thirty-seven Kings of U Po Kya, {pa-ra.mi sa-pé} 2nd printing 1999, p.36-51.

25. Maung Po Tu  --  {maung-po:tu} U Po Kya p.46
   Native of Pinya and tea-trader. Lived in the reign of king {min:hkaung} the first of Ava. Went on a trading trip to Momeik and Thibaw in northern Shan State, and was killed by a tiger on his return trip.


Hindi: {kyaay} -- Nagathein

English common name used in Myanmar:
• Agri.Dept.2000 53-1421: Tea plant
• FAO : NL
• Lè-seik-shin : NL
• Nagathein : 3-193: NG
• UHM 11: Tea leaves

• Leader from: Camellia thea, b/w 175X300, is from Nagathein
• Camellia sinesis, colour 225x300, http://www.fito.nnov.ru/special/alkaloids/thea_sinensis.gif


Plant identification characters :

• Evergreen shrubs 3-5 feet high with alternate elliptical or oblong-lanceolate, shiny, coriaceous, short petioled, serrated leaves, white axillary flowers and capsular fruits -- UHM


Distribution in Myanmar:

• Upper Burma Hills, Shan States, Kachin State, Wa State -- UHM


Part used and uses :

• Prepared leaves and leaf buds.  Astringent, cerebral and cardiac stimulant -- UHM


Constituents :

• 1. Caffeine - up to 4 %, 2. Callotannic acid, 3. Gallic acid, 4. Resin, 5. Volatile oil (7), 6. Traces of Theobromine, Theophylline, Adenine -- UHM

Contents of this page

Entry format: Botanical name / Family / Ref. Burmese-Myanmar transcripts (• Agri.Dept.2000 : • FAO : • Lè-seik-shin : • KS-TMN: • Nagathein : • UHM :/ Myanmar-Script Spelling Official Myanmar Dictionaries : - TravPo-M-Dict - Myan-Engl-Dict - Myan-Ortho / Hindi / Sanskrit / English common name used in Myanmar / Picture / Plant identification characters / Distribution in Myanmar / Part used and uses / Constituents /
End of TIL file