Tea Scapes’ Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘tea plantation’

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!

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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.

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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%.

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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.

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Production of Matcha

Posted by Susan Lutfallah on June 6, 2009

Traditionally, matcha tea is made with only the highest quality Japanese green tea leaves available in the market – however, there are different grades of green tea, and the highest is known as ‘gyokuro’.

About 4 weeks before the harvest, the entire tea plantation is covered with bamboo to allow for shading – essentially, this causes the tea plants’ physiology to recognize that there is not enough light to continue the process of photosynthesis. As a result, the tea plant takes natural countermeasures – namely, the base of the plant begins to synthesize much greater concentrations of chlorophyll and deposits them in the leaves. Indeed, this physiological response is to help absorb and convert into energy the little light that comes through the shading. Of course, this is all part of the tea farmer’s strategy – by taking advantage of this natural mechanism, the tea farmers immediately harvest these now highly chlorophyll-rich tea leaves and steam, dry and sift them.

From there, the dried tea leaves are ground using granite grinding wheels – this produces a very fine powder, known as matcha powder. Subsequently, the matcha powder is inspected by laboratories for quality, packed in air tight containers, and flown across the globe to consumers world-wide. Actually, upon opening the tin of matcha, one can immediately assess the freshness and fineness of the tea – if the tea is fresh and was packaged and prepared properly, the green powder will “puff” into the air upon opening.

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