Tea Scapes’ Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘oolong tea’

White Tea and Chronic Disease

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Cancer Prevention

Flavonoids, which are a class of antioxidants that are found in white tea, can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. With the protective power of flavonoids, white tea can be a potent preventative measure against different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers.

Strengthens Bones

Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. Also, due to the potent cocktail of antioxidants found in white tea, it may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Decreases Blood Pressure

Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function – this is mainly due to a combination of the various antioxidants found in white tea, which can neutralize free radicals that can damage the circulatory system. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea can also guard against the ravages of strokes. Because white tea contains the vasodilator theobromine, it helps lower high blood pressure and maintains a healthy circulatory system.

Improves Cholesterol Profile

Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is simply loaded with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and the catechins in white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad.

Heart Protection

Researchers have previously discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. Combined with its ability to improve cholesterol levels, white tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Amazingly, white tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. Also, due to the anti-microbial effects of its antioxidants (see below), white tea also kills the bacterium which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath. A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that fluoride-rich white tea helps prevent the growth of dental plaque, the chief cause of tooth decay.

Healthy Skin

If you’re stressed out, have a poor diet, or stay out in the sun too long, free radicals can greatly accumulate in your skin, damage it, and cause it to prematurely age! As you might have guessed, drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin because it is chocked-full of many different types of antioxidants that scavenge these free radicals. Therefore, white tea can help protect your skin and helps to reverse some of the damage induced by free radicals.

Antibacterial & Antiviral

One of the most remarkable effects of white tea is that it is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. Overall, the antioxidants in white tea are so abundant that they boost the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders. Need another reason to drink white tea? A 2004 study concluded that white tea can help your body’s immune system fight off viruses –  including the common cold and flu – and dangerous infection-causing bacteria.

Stress Relief and Other Health Benefits

If all that isn’t enough, white tea even reduces stress!  It has a higher concentration of the amino acid theanine (which has relaxing and mood enhancing properties) than either green tea or black tea!

Finally, one study examining the composition of brewed green and white teas found that white tea contained more gallic acid (a potent anti-oxidant with anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties) and theobromine (an alkaloid that causes vasodilatation, or blood vessel widening, which can help increase circulation).

Clearly, with all of the aforementioned health benefits of drinking this brew, white tea is a potent addition to any health conscious consumer’s diet – moreover, all of the varieties of white tea have a sweet, silky flavour. In comparison to green tea, people that have tasted both teas note that white tea lacks a “grassy” aftertaste so often associated with green tea. Also, as we’ve already discovered, the antioxidant content of white tea far surpasses that of green tea. So, if you’re already a green tea devotee, or you’re just being introduced to the wonderful world of Camellia sinensis, then white tea is an extremely nourishing and tasty brew which is enormously beneficial to your health!

Advertisements

Posted in White Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Health Benefits of White Tea

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Overall, white tea has a great range of effects on the body and a tremendous number of benefits to your health – its supreme power are in preventing disease and disorder. Briefly, white tea helps protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke – the leading causes of death in the industrial world. Moreover, white tea strengthens the circulatory and immune systems, reinforces your bones and teeth, builds healthier skin, and eases the symptoms of illness.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty chemicals and metabolic by-products that go around wreaking havoc on your body by damaging DNA, structural proteins (e.g. muscle, skin), bones, and they can even accelerating aging!

Antioxidants can ‘scavenge’ the free-radicals and render them harmless – that is, they neutralize them. Fortunately, white tea is loaded with these protective antioxidants, more so than any other variety of tea! For example, studies have shown that white tea has a concentration of antioxidants that is three times higher than in green tea.  For another comparison, just one cup of white tea contains approximately twelve times as much antioxidants as fresh orange juice!

Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

Posted in White Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oolong Tea: Other Health Benefits

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

In addition to its weight loss benefits, oolong tea has gained immense popularity for its many health benefits – in fact, there are hundreds of studies done on the various benefits of oolong tea.

Firstly, oolong tea promotes general health and well-being since it contains a large quantitiy of polymerized polyphenols which have been shown to:

• promote strong, healthy teeth;
• improve cognitive functioning and mental well-being;
• prevent eczema, allergies;
• clarify skin aberrations, giving it a healthy, radiant look
• strengthen immune system

Cancer Prevention
Again, oolong tea has long been consumed in Chinese society for centuries, and has been consumed for its many health benefits – nowadays, many recent studies have shown that oolong tea can help reduce the risk of cancer, and in some cases it has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

In one study, researchers found that oolong tea polyphenol extract (OTPE) induced apoptosis (programmed cell-death) in human stomach cancer cells – this means that the OTPE was able to trigger a genetic program in these stomach cancer cells which caused them to die. Moreover, another study found that oolong tea contains the compound chafuroside, which is a new flavone derivative – chafuroside has been found to be a strong anti-inflammatory compound, and the same study found that chafuroside from oolong tea maybe a good chemopreventive agent against colon cancer.

Anti-aging
Not so surprisingly, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the anti-aging benefits of oolong tea. In fact, one study performed on older Chinese adults found that regular consumption of oolong tea is associated with lowered risk of age-related cognitive impairment and decline. The study involved 2501 subjects over 55 years old, and they found that total oolong tea intake was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment.

A 2001 Japanese study found that drinking 1 litre of wulong tea a day can take 2 years off the internal organ ‘age’. To point out the weight loss benefits of oolong tea, researchers also reported that out of the 11 participants, 9 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their waist size and 8 experienced 2 centimetres reduction in their upper arms. Finally, they also observed lower bad cholesterols levels (LDL levels).

Antioxidants
Oolong tea also contains high concentrations of antioxidants which are beneficial for your health. Here’s a list of all the wonderful things antioxidants do for your body:

– Helps inhibit growth of cancer cells
– Reduce high blood pressure.
– Protection against getting a stroke.
– Improved blood flow to the heart.
– Reduce cholesterol.
– Helps inhibit the formation of blood clots in artery walls.
– Maintains even blood sugar levels.
– Lowers the risk for osteoporosis.
– Enhances immune function and helps fight infections.
– Inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

Reduces Blood Pressure
Oolong tea has also been shown in studies to reduce the risk of hypertension – in fact, many of these studies come from Chinese research done on various segments of the Chinese tea drinking population. One study measured the risk of newly diagnosed hypertension in 1507 subjects aged 20 years and older. In this study, researchers found that the risk of developing hypertension was reduced by 46% for subjects who drank 120 to 599ml of oolong tea per day – staggeringly, for subjects who drank more than 600ml of tea, the risk of hypertension was reduced by 65%.

Posted in Oolong Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oolong Tea: Origin of the Name and History

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 7, 2009

Oolong Tea is a traditional Chinese tea that’s also known as ‘Wulong’ Tea. The name Oolong (or Wulong) means black dragon in Chinese, where Wu means black, and Long means dragon. Oolong tea is also known as Qing Cha, is a semi fermented tea, and it is named after the person who discovered this tea.  The Chinese province most noted for its oolong tea production is Fujian.

According to Fujian tea folklore, Oolong tea was discovered by a tea farmer who lived in Fujian Province during the Qing Dynasty – his name was “Su Long”. However, because he had a dark complexion, the local farmers all called him “Wu Long” – of course, this is how the name ‘Wulong’ Tea was derived.

All tea comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis – actually, if it doesn’t come from that plant it is not considered proper ‘tea’. Over time, Camellia Sinensis has protected itself from photosynthetic stressors by forming chemical compounds known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, which include flavonoids, have the same beneficial class of compounds – known as antioxidants – that make fruits and vegetables good for you.

Green Tea is treated or boiled following picking to prevent the leaves from oxidizing and retaining their natural colour. Black Tea is left to oxidize following picking, that’s how it gets their distinctive colour. For Oolong Tea, the raw leaves are sun-wilted and then bruised, which exposes their juices to the air, so the leaves oxidise and start to turn brown like a cut fruit. They are allowed to oxidise only partially, giving them a rich, floral flavour. The tea is then dried fully – this locks in the rich flavours that oolong tea is known to offer.

Unbeknownst to many, oolong tea can range from bright green and slightly fermented to dark-leafed and hearty – a rule of thumb is that the greener varieties are less fermented. Oolong tea therefore comes in a wide range of tastes and aromas – these include teas very close in taste to green tea to those very close to black tea.

Posted in Oolong Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

History of Matcha

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Broadly speaking, all Japanese teas are green – matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder, hence the translation ma (ground) cha (tea). However, since matcha drinkers consume the entire leaf, rather than steeping the tea and throwing out the leaves, they truly secure its energy and health benefits – actually, drinking the entire ground leaf makes it possible for one cup of matcha tea to equal 10 cups of regular green tea!

Historically, matcha tea was first introduced in the Song Dynasty of Southern China – in 1191, matcha was brought to Japan by a Zen Buddhist monk named Eisai. Intriguingly, due to the Mongol invasions of the Song, the powdered style of drinking green tea was lost in China – however, Japan, whose forces were successful at repelling the Mongol invasions of the time, managed to hold onto the matcha tradition. Indeed, matcha tea and its consumption has changed very little since the days of Eisai, which reflects a nearly thousand-year-old tradition that is now making its way into North America.

Although matcha is popular in all of Japan, it is primarily grown in three major areas: Aichi, Kyoto and Shizuoka – however, Aichi is Japan’s principal production region for premium matcha. Interestingly, the city of Nishio in the Aichi region is located far from the major urban centers – many matcha enthusiasts in Japan argue that this allows for the clean air and mountain waters to create the highest quality tea plants.

Posted in Matcha Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Green Tea vs. White Tea Taste and Appearance

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Let’s face the reality of the situation here – for all the important health reasons you may drink tea, taste is still the most important aspect of the experience.

Of course, taste preferences will differ among everyone; however, many people find the more subtle and sweet taste of white tea much more appealing than that of green tea. For many, the often “grassy” aftertaste associated with green tea is simply unbearable – on the other hand, white tea has a smooth, silky and almost sweet taste, which again is usually considered much ‘lighter’ than green tea. Moreover, with white tea, there are also many extremely delicious alternative flavours such as blueberry white tea.

Moreover, many people find the “golden” appearance of white tea more to their liking as well – the appearance of correctly brewed white tea has been described as a pale gold, not unlike a young white wine.

Caffeine Content

While both white tea and green tea contain lower caffeine levels than other forms of tea – and certainly much less than a cup of coffee – the caffeine content of white tea is even lower than that of green tea. White tea contains about 15 mg per serving compared to the 20 mg for green tea. Therefore, if caffeine tends to make you jittery and/or anxious, white tea may be the better choice. Moreover, its lower caffeine content makes white tea the best choice for a late night brew if you want to relax.

Posted in Green Teas | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Black Tea and Cancer Prevention

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently conducted a study which adds to the growing body of evidence that compounds found in both green and black tea have strong anticancer properties on tumours. In fact, the results, which are published in the Journal of the Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggest that consumers may benefit more by drinking both green and black tea together!

During the study, nine green tea catechins, three black tea theaflavins, and theanine – extracted using either water or a water/ethanol mix – were used on human cancer cells and normal cells.

The majority of the compounds, and all general tea extracts, reduced human breast, colon, liver and prostate cancer cells.

The water/ethanol extracts were found to contain higher levels of flavonoids and kill more cancer cells – because all of the compounds were most effective when used together (a phenomenon known as ‘synergism’), the researchers recommended that consumers drink both green and black teas mixed together!

Moreover, studies done at Rutgers University reveal that black tea may help prevent stomach, prostate, and breast cancer – again, the scientists confirmed that it is the compounds known as thearubigins and theaflavins which may slow down cancer growth. Dr. Kuang Yu Chen and his team at Rutgers argued that some of the cancer cells were undergoing programmed cell death (apoptosis), which seemed to be induced by the thearubigins and theaflavins found in black tea.

Posted in Black Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Black Tea and Aging Diseases

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Recently, a 2008 study conducted at the National Neuroscience Institute in Singapore reported that drinking at least 23 cups of black tea a month may slash the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 71%!

In the study, a staggering number of 63,257 men and women in Singapore were surveyed about their black tea drinking habits when entering the study – over the course of the study, diet and caffeine were ruled out as having no impact on the results. Overall, researchers reported that compounds in black tea other than caffeine appear to be responsible for the beverage’s inverse association with Parkinson’s disease.

A recent study at the University of Newcastle found that green and black tea both inhibit the activity of certain enzymes in the brain which are associated with memory – actually, their findings may lead to the development of a new treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Overall, the scientific researchers investigated the properties of coffee, green tea, and black tea in a series of chemical experiments. After numerous trials, they found that both green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease – however, coffee had no significant effect.

Intriguingly, both green and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger) acetylcholine – interestingly, Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine. Therefore, by inhibiting AChE, compounds in green and black tea may in turn increase acetylcholine levels; this could be extremely helpful for Alzheimer’s patients.

Furthermore, green tea and black tea also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits (known as ‘senile plaques’) found inside the neurons of patients with Alzheimer’s.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is possible to slow the development of the disease – in fact, there are drugs currently on the market which hinder the activity of AChE, and others are being developed to inhibit the activity of BuChE.

However, many of the drugs currently available, such as donepezil, have unpleasant side effects and the medical community is keen to find alternatives – in fact, researchers at the University of Newcastle hope to formulate a specialized medicinal blend of green and black tea for Alzheimer’s patients!

Posted in Black Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Black Tea and Heart Disease

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Dr Carrie Ruxton, Public Health Nutritionist at Kings College London, conducted several experiments to uncover the health effects of tea consumption. Overall, the researcher thought that the cholesterol lowering effect of black tea could be due to its ability to block cholesterol absorption – that is, reducing the absorption of food-borne cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood. Briefly, cholesterol is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract as part of particles called micelles – therefore, micelles have to be formed for cholesterol to be absorbed.

As a result, Dr Carrie Ruxton tested her idea that black tea might disrupt the formation of micelles – so, her research team mixed together an extract of black tea containing theaflavins together with micelles produced in the laboratory.  Overall, the results confirmed their idea – it was directly observed that the theaflavin containing black tea extract disrupted the incorporation of cholesterol into micelles!

So drinking black tea and increasing the levels of theaflavin in your body can reduce your risk of heart disease by blocking cholesterol absorption – this seems to make sense, since a study of over 3,000 adults in Saudi Arabia – where black tea is favored over green – found that regular consumption of the dark brew can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%!

Additionally, one study, conducted by the Department of Medicine at the University of Western Australia, found that ingestion of black tea contributed to dilation of the arteries and blood vessels that support the heart (coronary arteries) – this is extremely important, since one of the precursors to heart disease is endothelial dysfunction, a situation where the coronary arteries cannot dilate properly.

Posted in Black Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »