A Timeless Beverage with All Kinds of Health Benefits  


Tea: An Introduction

Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods, and consumed as a beverage (hot or cold) by steeping in boiled water. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It often has a soothing or refreshing quality, with subtle flavors that many enjoy.

There are multiple varieties of tea: black, white, green, oolong and pu-erh all coming from the same species of plant (though different varieties and processes may be used).

The term herbal tea usually refers to an infusion or tisane of leaves, flowers, fruit, herbs, or other plant material that contains no Camellia sinensis.

Black Tea

Black tea goes through the most processing, which includes withering, oxidation and firing, resulting in its dark red hue and sweet smell.
Unlike high levels of caffeine found in coffee, the lower amounts in black loose leaf tea promotes blood flow in the brain without overstimulating the heart. Some of black tea's other benefits include:

 

  • Sharpening mental focus and concentration
  • Preventing tooth decay
  • Soothing the digestive tract (an anti-inflammatory)
  • Relieving diarrhea
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Improving circulation
  • Maintaining normal blood pressure
  • Expanding the airways, making breathing easier for asthmatics

 

White Tea

White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas. The leaf buds are picked before they fully open, preserving the high levels of antioxidants, and are then quickly air dried to produce some of the rarest tea available.The benefits of white loose-leaf tea vary widely. It is well known that tea contains antioxidants which can help slow free radicals that lead to aging, cancer, diabetes and more. Because white tea is carefully harvested and processed, it contains far more antioxidants than other forms of tea. Some of the benefits of white tea include:

  • Stimulating the brain
  • Increasing alertness and endurance during physical activity
  • Increasing the body's metabolism to help lose weight
  • Acting as a diuretic which can lower blood pressure
  • Restoring fluid balance 
  • Preventing tooth decay
  • Strengthening bones, preventing osteoporosis and relief from arthritis

Drinking white tea can also be very relaxing, lowering stress levels through the preparation and consumption.

 

Green Tea

Once picked, green tea goes through minimal oxidation, retaining its high levels of antioxidants.
The health benefits of green loose-leaf tea are endless, making it a great beverage to drink daily as part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that green tea (due primarily to its anti-oxidizing properties) can help in the following ways:

  • Countering fatigue, laziness, sleepiness and lack of energy
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Boosting immunity
  • Toning muscles and skin (anti-aging)
  • Eliminating toxins from the body
  • Reducing chances of cancer
  • Reducing cholesterol
  • Increasing cardiac and arterial health
  • Reducing blood-glucose levels (good for diabetics)
  • Aiding weight loss (enhancing the rate of metabolism)
  • Boosting stamina and endurance

 

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea (pronounced roy-bos), also known as red tea, is made from a South African red bush. 
Some of Rooibos' health benefits include:

 

  • Boosting the body’s natural immunity
  • Slowing the aging process
  • Reducing chances of cancer 
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing nervous tension
  • Reducing allergies and digestive problems
  • Safe, even beneficial to pregnant and nursing women (soothing qualities)
  • Alleviating colic, reducing allergies and dermatological problems in infants
  • Strengthening infants' teeth and bones (calcium traces)
  • Preventing depletion of iron reserves (low tannin content)
  • Promoting healthy skin and a healthy nervous system (zinc and magnesium)

 

Honeybush Tea

The honeybush plant is similar to the rooibos plant. Honeybush tea, also known as bossie tea, berg tea and bush tea is caffeine and tannin-free, and has a rich mineral content that includes iron, potassium, copper, zinc and magnesium. Other health benefits include:

 

  • Calming nerves
  • Treating coughs
  • Lowering blood sugar (good for diabetics)
  • Boosting immunity (antioxidants)
  • Reducing the risk of osteoporosis and cancer of the breast and uterus
  • Aiding digestion
  • Supporting weight loss

 

Chai Tea

Chai tea is often associated with India and the East, and has recently become extremely popular in the West. In its most basic form, chai is black tea that is brewed strong with a combination of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and ginger and traditionally served hot with milk and sugar. 
Some of chai's health benefits include:

  • Boosting immunity (antioxidants)
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Aiding digestion (ginger and chai spices)
  • Combating nausea and diarrhea (cinnamon)
  • Increasing circulation and opening breathing (cinnamon and ginger)
  • Relieving pain (cloves)
  • Promoting blood flow in the brain without overstimulating the heart
  • Reducing fatigue

 

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea (also called wu long tea) falls somewhere between green tea and black tea in oxidization, and is most commonly recognized as the tea served in Chinese restaurants. Oolong tea can be described as "amber” (slightly more oxidized and closer to black tea in flavor) or "green" (slightly less oxidized and closer to green tea in flavor). Some of oolong loose-leaf tea's benefits include:

  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Lowering abortion of fat and burning fat already built up in the body
  • Promoting healthy skin
  • Removing harmful free radicals
  • Reducing risk of cancer
  • Protecting teeth from decay
  • Strengthening bones
  • Lowering stress levels

 

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea (also known as bo-nay) comes from the Yunnan province in China and has a distinct earthy aroma. Sometimes referred to as a type of green or black tea, pu-erh differs from other teas because it is allowed to grow a thin layer of mold on the leaves. Of course these cultures are harmless, and are actually reputably known in China for their medicinal effects. As well as containing antioxidants, pu-erh is known for its weight loss effects.
Often referred to as the “Wonder Tonic” and the “Medicinal Tea,” Pu-erh loose-leaf tea has been hugely popular in China for over 1700 years. Pu-erh loose-leaf tea has been known to have a wide range of health benefits including:

  • Anti-aging
  • Preventing heart disease and cancer
  • Diabetic control
  • Detoxifying
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aiding digestion
  • Supporting weight loss
  • Improving eyesight
  • Improving blood circulation

 

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea covers all types of flavors and ingredients, some of which are listed below with their respective health benefits.
 

Chamomile

Chamomile is known to relax smooth muscle tissue. As a result it can calm a nervous stomach and relieve menstrual cramps. It is often used to promote relaxation and alleviate stress, and may also help with the following:

 

  • Kidney health
  • Liver function
  • Spleen health
  • Relieving symptoms of the common cold
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • Soothing skin irritations including sunburn, heat rash and hemorrhoids
  • Toothache
  • Bronchitis
  • Bladder troubles
  • Back pain
  • Rheumatism

 

Fruit (various)

Fruits offer many health benefits such as:

 

  • Antioxidant properties that fight against aging, cancer, diabetes and more
  • A good source of vitamin C, supporting a healthy immune system
  • Hibiscus can lower high blood pressure and soothe menstrual cramps
  • Lemongrass is known for its calming properties

Preparation and consumption of herbal tea can also be very relaxing, lowering stress levels and aiding sleep

 

Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries and is best known for:

 

  • Reducing nausea
  • Relieving heartburn
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Fighting colds, flu and even cancer

 

Ginseng

Ginseng is also known for its many benefits, including:

 

  • Boosting immunity
  • Regulating metabolism
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Aiding digestion
  • Relieving stress
  • Treating hypertension as well as hypotension
  • Aiding weight loss as it's a natural appetite supressant

 

Hibiscus

Hibiscus health benefits include:

 

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Controlling cholesterol
  • Protecting against cell-damaging free radicals that contribute to cancer
  • Reducing the absorption of dietary carbohydrates, assisting in weight loss

 

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is known for its calming properties.

 

Maté

Maté is a wild shrub from Argentina that makes a delicious, flavorful tea. Maté tea contains a stimulant similar to caffeine, but without the jitteriness or addictive tendencies. It offers many health benefits, gained from its nutritional and chemical compounds similar to those of green tea. Some of these benefits are:

 

  • Aiding deeper sleep
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Relieving allergies
  • Increasing energy
  • Possibly reducing the risk of diabetes and hypoglycemia
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Burning more calories
  • Increasing mental focus
  • Improving mood
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Increasing the nutrient and oxygen supply to the heart during exercise
  • Decreasing hunger cravings
  • Possibly aiding prevention of some cancers
  • Possibly reducing chances of heart attack or stroke
  • Supporting a healthy digestive tract

 

Mint (various)

Long known for its ability to soothe the digestive tract and settle a sensitive stomach, mint (particularly peppermint) has a great many other benefits including:

 

  • Easing discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Easing nausea and vomiting
  • Controlling flatulence and diverticular disorders
  • Improving digestion
  • Reducing heartburn
  • Dissolving gallstones
  • Reducing severity of herpes outbreaks
  • Fighting bad breath
  • Controlling muscle aches and chronic pain
  • Clearing congestion and coughs related to colds and allergies
  • Controlling mild asthma (due to its well-documented anti-fungal properties)
  • Fighting stress
  • Relieving headaches and migraines
  • Reducing risk of cancer

 

* Please Note: This information is intended for educational purposes only, and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please seek advice from a medical professional about any health concerns you may have.