About Our Tea
An ancient beverage steeped in history and enjoyed by millions, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water. While tea enjoyed a modest beginning, its popularity spread from its origins in China to Western Europe and the Americas. Throughout history, tea has been believed by many to aid the liver, destroy the typhoid germ, purify the body, and preserve mental equilibrium. More recently, scientists have examined the potential health benefits of tea and have discovered that much of the folklore surrounding tea may actually be true.
Tea (except herbal teas) is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub native to East and South Asia. Black, green, and oolong teas are all made from leaves plucked from the same tea bushes, but they undergo different processes to provide specific styles of beverage. Black tea is allowed to ferment, meaning oxidized, or exposed to oxygen, before being dried, which makes it black and stronger in taste; oolong is only semifermented; green tea is unfermented and minimally processed- the leaves are steamed, rolled, and dried. White tea is also unfermented but its leaves are harvested early, taken from the still-unopened buds on the bush, steamed, and dried.
HOW TEA HELPS THE BODY
Tea contains flavonoids– naturally occurring compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals in the human body. Scientists believe that over time free radicals damage genetic material and lipids, contributing to chronic disease.
Recent research has explored the potential health attributes of tea through studies in humans and animals, and through in vitro laboratory research. For the most part, studies conducted on Green and Black Tea, which are both from the Camellia sinensis plant, have yielded similar results. Recent research suggests that tea and tea flavonoids may play important roles in various areas of health and may operate through a number of different mechanisms still being explored. Recent findings include:
- The antioxidant properties of tea flavonoids may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing lipid oxidation, reducing the instances of heart attacks and stroke, and may beneficially impact blood vessel function, an important indicator of cardiovascular health.
- Tea flavonoids may lower the risk of certain cancers by inhibiting the oxidative changes in DNA from free radicals and some carcinogens. Tea may also promote programmed cell death, or apoptosis, and inhibit the rate of cell division, thereby decreasing the growth of abnormal cells.
- Tea-drinking has been associated with oral health and bone health.
- Compounds in tea other than flavonoids have been shown to support the human immune system.
- Moderate caffeine intake from tea stimulates the central nervous system and promotes blood circulation.
- Drinking tea helps promote better kidney function and aids digestion.
- Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that green tea was the best antioxidant scavenger of deadly “free radicals.”
- Free radicals are very powerful oxidants which cause intense cell damage. When exposed to oxygen cell tissues are vulnerable to free radical attachment, causing an effect much like that of rust. Over time this may lead to cancer or cardiovascular disease.
- Antioxidants in tea are able to neutralize the damaging effects of oxygen and free radicals that are present in the body. Antioxidants slow or prevent cell damage from exposure to oxygen by creating a barrier around cell tissue.
- Camellia sinensis is also known to be antiviral and antibacterial. It can be topically applied to cuts, bruises and burns, famous for its sunburn relief.
- Tea acts as a nerve sedative, frequently relieving headaches.
- Reducing the “bad” cholesterol LDL deposits, tea elevates HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The University of California found green tea, and oolong especially, to prevent “arteriosclerosis” (the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls.)
- Green tea has long been associated with universal research on the prevention of several types of cancer. Studies have found it reduces the size of esophageal and stomach tumors in mice. Green and black tea inhibit the development of pre-cancerous lesions, as well.
- Drinking tea helps prevents tooth decay.