Health Benefits of Tea
By Tea Type
Health Benefits by Tea Type
Tea has been a treasured elixir for thousands of years. Recent research studies are shedding light on why this beverage has earned its reputation for numerous wellness benefits. Today, a modern tea lifestyle is emerging as people look to take a moment of respite and explore tea to address a myriad health issues, ranging from weight loss, to stress reduction and osteoporosis. The role antioxidants play in the prevention of disease has positioned loose leaf tea as the ideal health beverage. Check out this summary of health benefits by tea type here, and you just might be inspired to incorporate fresh tea into your daily wellness routine.
All teas come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis. However, white tea is the least oxidized leaves of all the tea types.
While black tea is oxidized the most, white tea skips this step entirely. This short processing helps keep more of the medicinal elements in the tea intact. White tea is the closest thing to a fresh tea leaf that most of us in the Western hemisphere will ever see. And those of us who drink it know that white tea leaves even look fresh and healthy!
Every year scientists are finding more and more health benefits in white tea. Up to 20% of the white tea leaf is made up of catechins. Catechins have very potent anti–oxidant and anti–microbial actions. Dr. Yukihiko Hara stated in an interview in the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, "The anti–flu virus actions of tea catechins are just phenomenal." In addition, catechins have been proven to lower cholesterol and inhibit the increase of blood pressure.
New studies conducted at Pace University have indicated that White Tea has the ability to retard the growth of bacteria that causes infections, pneumonia and dental caries. “Our research shows White Tea can actually destroy in vitro the organisms that cause disease. Study after study, white tea extract proves that it has many healing properties. This is not an old wives’ tale, it’s a fact" says Dr. Milton Schiffenbauer, a microbiologist and Professor in Biology at Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences and primary author of the research.
White tea helps keep your skin acne–free. The antioxidants in white and green tea may have an effect on acne, and in some cases have been shown to work as well as a 4% solution of the much more harsh benzoyl peroxide. White tea is widely used in beauty and cosmetic products, with the promise that its high antioxidant content will keep your skin looking young.
White tea can create a calmer but more alert state of mind. Studies have shown that the amino acid L–theanine found in the tea plant alters the attention networks in the brain and can have demonstrable effects on the brain waves. More simply, tea can help you relax and concentrate more fully on tasks. Buddhist monks drank white tea to keep them from falling asleep during meditation.
Click to view our selection of whole leaf white teas.
Green tea leaves are oxidized more than white tea, but less than oolong and black teas, creating a unique chemical composition of the leaf.
By some accounts, the history of green tea goes back as far as 2737 BC. In the 15th century, Chinese seamen were given green tea to prevent scurvy, which would take the lives of many of their European counterparts more than 100 years later.
Every year scientists are finding more and more health benefits in green tea.15 to 20% of dried green tea is made up of catechins. Catechins have very potent anti microbial actions. Dr. Yukihiko Hara stated in an interview in the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, "The anti–flu virus actions of those tea catechins are just phenomenal." In addition, catechins have been proven to lower cholesterol and inhibit the increase of blood pressure. In the dental field, green tea has been shown to suppress the process by which cariogenic bacteria create glucan, thus suppressing the formation of plaque on teeth and preventing cavities.
Green tea’s catechins have also been found to help inhibit cancer growth. The National Cancer Institute states, "[catechins] scavenge oxidants before cell injuries occur, reduce the incidence and size of chemically induced tumors, and inhibit the growth of tumor cells.”
Since its discovery in China thousands of years ago, green tea has been curing countless people with a vast amount of ailments. Let our many varieties from the Tea Spot do the same for you and your family.
Click to view our selection of whole leaf green teas.
Oolong or semi–green teas result when the oxidation process is stopped just as the leaves start to turn brown, in the spectrum between green teas and black teas.
Oolong tea combines the health benefits of both green and black tea. It contains the full range of polyphenol antioxidants: catechins, thearubigin and theaflavin. Oolong, or semi–fermented tea contains more polyphenols than black and fewer than the less oxidized green and white teas. Some polyphenols, like flavonoids, have antioxidant properties.
Chinese herbalists believe that oolong tea is highly effective in improving symptoms that are associated with weak kidney and spleen energy.
Oolong tea is often recommended for its weight–loss properties. The polyphenols in oolong tea help to control obesity by activating the enzyme responsible for dissolving triglyceride (fatty deposits) and enhancing the function of fat metabolism.
Click to view our selection of whole leaf oolong teas.
Black tea is known to banish fatigue, stimulate mental alertness, and raise energy levels. It has been shown to reduce stress hormone levels and acts as a nerve sedative, frequently relieving headaches.
Black tea contains a number of vitamins considered essential for maintaining health, including Carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, has antioxidant and protective properties, Vitamin B1 and Panothenic Acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
Black Tea also contains antioxidants which may help to protect your body from the ravages of aging and environmental effects. Because they are allowed to ferment completely before drying, most black teas are especially rich in those polyphenols which have been shown to be effective against dementia in aging as well as AIDS related dementia. These compounds penetrate the blood brain barrier and have also been found to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Black tea is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can be topically applied to cuts, bruises and burns, and is famous for its sunburn relief and has been shown to have a positive effect on preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Click to view our selection of whole leaf black teas.
Puerh is fermented in addition to being oxidized. This gives these leaves a unique chemical composition.
Hailed for its medicinal properties, Puerh is commonly used in China to detoxify the body and aid digestion. Puerh tea has strong digestive, antibacterial, and warming properties. Puerh cleanses the bloodstream of fat and toxins from meat and fatty foods. Recent research suggests that consuming 5–8 cups of Puerh Tea each day can reduce cholesterol and plaque of the arteries.
Studies also report that Puerh can lower the alcohol level in the bloodstream. It’s traditionally considered the best cure for a hangover in China, where it is also consumed as a "detox tea".
Puerh tea is regarded as a slimming and safe dieter’s tea. In France, Puerh Tuo Cha (mini tea bricks) are widely popular and consumed by many women as a "beauty and dieting tea".
Click to view our selection of aged puerh teas.
Yerba Mate comes from Ilex paraguariensis, indiginous to South America and related to the holly plant – a completely different species than the traditional tea plant.
Traditionally this herb was used as a whole body tonic and believed to energize and rejuvenate; enhance endurance, support mental clarity and promote well–being. Since it helps break down fat (lypolytic action), dieters find yerba very helpful. This treasure trove of health benefits includes vitamins A, C, E and the B complex. It is also known to be high in antioxidants and contains amino acids and enzymes, plus significant amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, manganese, silicon, phosphates, zinc, niacin, sulfur, and chlorophyll.
Yerba mate is widely considered to be a good natural stimulant that may be healthier than coffee, due to a unique combination of alkaloids and relatively low caffeine content, similar to that of Green tea. Strictly speaking, yerba mate contains mateine, not caffeine, 25 – 50 mg per serving, depending on how it is brewed. There is no unique chemical structure for mateine and yerba mate contains caffeine, just like tea and coffee.
Click to view our selection of whole leaf yerba mate.
Rooibos is a naturally 100% naturally caffeine-free herb indigenous to South Africa. Numerous studies show the potent antioxidant properties of this plant.
It contains essential minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and fluoride, as well as Vitamin C and alpha–hydroxy acid. Its mineral content helps maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones as well as assisting in metabolic processes. Rooibos also contains 37 natural antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent cancer. It is also an adaptogen, known to help reduce and increase resistance to stress. Its antispasmodic properties can help relieve stomach and digestive discomfort. Its antihistamine properties are known to help relieve, and even prevent, allergy symptoms. Rooibos is also known to help increase iron absorption.
Recent medical studies have shown rooibos might help reduce the risk and effects of skin cancer. It was observed to significantly decrease the incidence, delay timing of onset, and decrease the size of tumors resulting from ultraviolet exposure on rats, when applied topically. With all of its unique health benefits, and while sharing many of the same antioxidants found in green tea, Rooibos is emerging as a delicious caffeine–free alternative to traditional teas.
Click to view our selection of rooibos teas.
Mint leaves, such as peppermint and spearmint, are 100% naturally caffeine-free and traditional herbal remedies for digestion.
Mint aids in digestion, relieves nausea, even reduces flatulence, but there are a few benefits most don’t know about. Peppermint teas can help to alleviate the pain of headaches associated with menstrual cramps. It can also help those with breathing troubles, like asthma. The smell of mint opens blocked breathing passages. It works as a great way to wake up in the morning – even though it is completely caffeine free. Spearmint tea is more mild in flavor and less stimulating.
Click to view our selection of mint teas.
Chamomile is a flowering plant in the daisy family. It is 100% naturally caffeine-free, and traditionally used as a sleep aid and help with relaxation.
The active ingredient in chamomile essential oil is bisabolol, which has a number of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Historically, it has been used both topically and ingested orally, such as in teas & tinctures. Both fresh and dried chamomile flowers have been made info teas for centuries and are thought to help alleviate a number of common ailments, such as:
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Muscle twitches
- Wounds, burns, and scrapes
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, and diaper rash
- Stomach problems such as menstrual cramps, stomach flu, and ulcers
- Naturally Caffeine Free
- Calorie-free, Fat-free, Gluten-free
Click to view more details about our naturally caffeine–free loose chamomile tea.
Whole Leaf Tea
Tea made from loose leaves typically has more antioxidants than tea bags, which tend to contain lower–quality broken leaves & tea "dust". Also freshly brewed teas have more polyphenol antioxidants those brewed even 24 hours before.
Loose teas use the whole leaf while the teabags usually use the cut, ground or "dust" leaf. This may cause regular teabags to produce fewer antioxidants and more caffeine than loose teas. Another important factor which you may wish to consider is bleach residue, a chemical, which often remains on teabags.
Premium hand–picked loose leaf teas can often be re–infused several times. The most important thing to remember when steeping tea is to make only what you can serve into your cup or serving pot at one time. Steep your tea and then pour ALL of the liquor off the leaves into your cup or serving pot. This practice allows you to then re–infuse your leaf with more hot water over and over again. Brewing tea in this way is also the trick to keeping your green teas from turning bitter or your black teas from becoming burnt tasting. Many high quality loose leaf teas can be re–infused 5 or 6 times, while some puerh or oolongs give up to 10–12 infusions from a single serving. This makes the actual cost per serving of premium teas extrememly cost effective.
Click to view our entire selection of loose leaf teas available in bulk.
For more information on the health benefits of tea, check out Cancer Hates Tea, written by our founder, Maria Uspenski.