China's three great philosophy religions - Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism, sprouted toward the middle of the Zhou dynasty. Each of these religions embraced tea for its healthful virtues and powers of rejuvenation. Monks and priests who were introduced to tea found that this beverage would help them stay awake during long meditations. To these holy men, tea represented a virtuous and necessary tonic, which they declared to be the "elixir of life" that should be consumed daily by all people. As the popularity of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism spread throughout China, so did an awareness of life-enhancing tea.