Tea Scapes’ Blog

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General Health Benefits of Black Tea: Thearubigins and Theaflavins

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Polyphenols are components of the tea plant and the primary source of the health benefits in tea (e.g. antioxidant properties). Polyphenols undergo changes during the processing of the leaves. These changes result in the difference between black and green teas polyphenols and subsequent benefits.

Researchers have determined that the beneficial properties in green teas, primarily EGCG polyphenols, are easier to identify than the flavonoid polyphenols in black teas, which are known as thearubigins and theaflavins.

–          Black teas contain more complex flavonoids then green teas; specifically thearubigins and theaflavins.

–          Thearubigins and theaflavins are powerful antioxidants.

–          Flavonoids, because of their complexity, do not absorb as quickly in the body and initially can be harder to identify (this is why most studies focused on green tea and EGCG polyphenols instead!)

Briefly, scientific reviewers took an in-depth look at epidemiological and clinical studies relevant to tea from 1990 – 2004. Overall, the review’s objective was to determine if consuming black tea has a positive or negative impact on health.

The review concluded;

–          Drinking three cups of black tea per day for two weeks increased the concentration of flavonoids in the blood by about 25%.

–          The consumption of flavonoids can lower the risk of coronary heart disease through a number of mechanisms.

–          Tea flavonoids have also been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 11.1%.

–          Animal studies and in-vitro (e.g. test-tube experiments) studies both reveal positive effects of flavonoids which go beyond antioxidant capacity – that is, they induce an anti-inflammatory response.

This review of scientific research makes it clear that black tea is good for your health in general, and that black teas complex flavonoid polyohenols specifically can play an important role in daily antioxidant consumption and disease prevention. All-in-all, while green teas continue to steal the health-craze limelight, black tea belong center stage right alongside them!

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