Angelica Keiskei or Ashitaba (アシタバ or 明日葉 lit. ‘Tomorrow’s leaf’) as it is commonly known, is a fast growing biennial herb, 50-120 cm in height, native to the Izu Islands of Japan. Introduced to Tawian by the Japanese in 1895, it flourishes amidst the high mountain bamboo, red spruce, and cypress of Chiayi and Nantou counties. The taste is rich, sweet, and buttery, but it is the smell we personally love.
Of all the Ashitaba grown throughout Taiwan, we have found that the tea produced in Alishan and Nantou is by far the best. Alishan and Nantou’s high elevations, lushly forested slopes, volcanic soils, cooler temperatures, and high avg. rainfall, produce soils with the acidity and mineral profile necessary for Ashitaba to thrive. With a high organic content and good drainage, the rich loamy soils of these growing regions together with a favorable climate are ideal conditions for producing Ashitaba of exceptional quality.
In addition to its complex of b- vitamins, Ashitaba contains numerous flavonoids including chalcones which exhibit a broad spectrum of anti-cancer and chemopreventaive effects. Ashitaba is known to lower blood sugar and is often referred to as a ‘slimming tea’ for its positive effects on Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) as well as diabetes and obesity. Free of caffeine and high in chlorophyll and theanine, Ashitaba contains an array of antioxidants (more than green tea) and polyphenols making it one of the healthier natural teas available.