Antiviral Properties of Pu’erh Teas

antiviral tea

We all know Pu’erh is different. Just taste it. All tea comes from the same plant.  But there are two main reasons for why Pu’erh could be the most effective Camellia sinensis product against viruses: the type of tea trees it’s harvested from, and what takes place chemically during the fermentation phase of its processing. 

The specific type of tea plant that Pu’erh tea is made from is a large leaf varietal known as Camellia sinensis assamica. This type of tea plant is indigenous in the foothills of the Himalayas and can be seen growing all over the southwestern corner of China. (If you’ve read Lisa See’s  best-selling novel “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” you have a good mental image of these trees.) What sets this type of tea tree apart from the smaller leaf varietal Camellia sinensis sinensis is that it’s particularly rich in the tea polyphenol Strictinin. This compound has been found to be active against influenza viruses in vitro. [1] 

Coronaviruses actively replicate in the intestinal tract, encoding specific enzymes and proteins during their maturation process. These are considered to be important molecular target sites for anti-SARS-CoV drug discovery. Strictinin acts directly on the viral replication site, as an inhibitor to the process. Theaflavins are another class of bioactive compounds abundant in fermented Pu’erh and black teas which have shown an ability to naturally inhibit SARS-CoV replication in vitro. [2]

Some Pu'erh teas, like our Wild Harvest Green Pu’erh, are produced from wild tea trees. Strictinin is present as the major tea polyphenol, and in the highest proportion of all tea types, in the young leaves and buds of these wild Pu'erh trees. [3]

Tea can not treat, cure, or prevent any disease, including COVID-19. However, studies have concluded that coronaviruses could be inhibited by naturally-occurring compounds abundant in Pu’erh teas. [2]


two people stand in a tea field surrounded by tea plants



[1] Saha RK et al, Antiviral Effect of Strictinin on Influenza Virus replication. Antiviral Research, 2010 Oct;88(1):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2010.06.008. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

[2] Chia-Nan Chen et al, Inhibition of SARS-CoV 3C-like Protease Activity by Theaflavin-3,3􏰁-digallate (TF3). Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. 2005 Jun; 2(2): 209–215.

[3] Guan-Heng Chen et al, Significant elevation of antiviral activity of strictinin from Pu'er tea after thermal degradation to ellagic acid and gallic acid. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Volume 23, Issue 1, P116-123, March 2015

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1 comment
  • I was so glad to learn about this tea! My husband is suffering terribly from Covid-19, after avoiding it for 2 years while taking care of me, who has been home bound since 1982. We are thrilled that he may have something now that might help him. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Diane Jones on

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