Tea and healt
The Chinese identified the health-giving properties of tea well before we did. Tea was initially consumed for its beneficial properties rather than its taste. Over the centuries, people learned to detect all of the properties of tea, which has become one of the key ingredients of traditional Asian Chinese medicine, like ginseng or ginger. Tea has therefore acquired its noble status, and is even referred to in a well-known Chinese proverb: "A cup of tea a day keeps the doctor away".
Nowadays, numerous studies have shown that the beneficial properties of tea are essentially due to the presence of antioxidants in its leaves, especially in the bud and the first two leaves.
Tea - a thousand year-old plant
It's not purely by chance that the Chinese ideogram, Cha (“tea” in Mandarin), means "Plant that grows in a tree format and which is good for Humans".
Tea - the king of antioxidants
The chemical reactions that constantly take place in the human body use oxygen and produce free radicals. Surplus products, especially during times of stress, pollution or over-consumption of alcohol or excess smoking, are compounds that generate oxidative stress. They attack the body cells, trigger ageing and are involved in the onset of numerous diseases.
To off-set this oxidative stress and trap free radicals, our body can rely on antioxidants provided in food: vitamins, trace elements and polyphenols, etc. Tea is one of the herbal remedies with the highest polyphenol content - components renowned for their effects on health.
Antioxidants are a major group and include catechines. The most well-known of these is epigallo-catechine-gallate or "EGCG". It is three to four times more potent than vitamins C and E in combating cell ageing. Green tea is brimming with beneficial properties...
Which beneficial properties can be attributed to which tea?
The differences in manufacturing methods which dictate the colour of individual teas, not only affect the flavour of the teas but also their molecular structure and therefore their properties.
The beneficial properties of green tea are unique. Non-oxidated, green tea leaves retain virtually all of their catechines - antioxidants that protect the body from cell ageing, and are recommended to restore tone and vitality, or for their effect on mental alertness. Did you know that Buddhist monks drink green tea to improve their concentration during meditation?
Transformed to less of an extent than green tea, white tea has a strong concentration of epigallocatechines (EGC), antioxidants which provide greater resistance to viruses by boosting the body's natural defences, and especially immunity.
Fermentation of the tea leaves producing black tea or even Pu-erh tea up to the post-fermentation stage, modifies the molecular structure of the polyphenols they contain. Although the concentration of EGCG is reduced with this process, the concentration of aflavins and arubigins increases.
Hao Ling®, the beneficial properties of Pu-erh tea from Yunnan
Post-fermented Pu-erh teas are recommended for promoting digestion, and intestinal transit, and burning fats. The polyphenols contained in Pu-erh tea are potent antioxidants that neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals. The proteins transporting the "good" and "bad" cholesterol in the human body can be oxidised by these free radicals. This may lead to an accumulation of cholesterol in the vessels in the form of plaques.
Thanks to its polyphenol content, Pu-erh tea has a positive effect on oxidative stress and therefore on cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it has a beneficial effect on triglycerides and digestion, as confirmed in several recent studies, but science still has much more work to do before it can highlight all of the beneficial properties of tea!