Have you ever wondered if and what tea is good for you? I myself love drinking tea throughout the day and have some staples I prefer but recently I also try to incorporate new or maybe forgotten varieties of tea into my drinking routine. There is a plenty different kinds of tea out there, herbal, black, fruit and other varieties, and sometimes it seems its hard to choose the right one. I have now focused my attention to these 8 different kinds, their properties and benefits for health.
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. It originated in China and has become a row material when used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements and cosmetic items. There are different variations of green tea - like chinese, japanese, green tea from Ceylon and Kahwah. There is some evidence suggesting that drinking this tea may lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer. Its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties inhibit the spread of many diseases. Due to its high fluoride content the tea helps prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and helps keep the bones strong. It contains polyphenols and caffeine that have showed to stimulate fat oxidation and induce thermogenesis, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate. The polyphenols and polysaccharides in the tea regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating and prevent insulin spikes. Catechin polyphenols, particularly EGCG - epigallocatechin gallate - is twice as powerful as resveratrol found in grapes. These polyphenols also relieve allergiers. Catechins kills bacteria which causes food poisoning and kills the toxins; and also helps with various dental conditions and destroy bacteria and viruses. Green tea also reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the levels of good cholesterol and also reduces the risk of high blood pressure. Due to its antioxidant and inflammatory properties it helps with wrinkles and the signs of aging, applied topically can reduce sun damage. Green tea is not ideal if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. In general, it is ideal to drink 2-5 cups to benefit from all its useful components. Only one negative effect reported is insomnia due to content of caffeine but overall it contains only 30-60mg of caffeine in six 8oz of tea compare to more than 100mg in one 8oz of coffee.
Pu-erh tea is a variety of fermented dark tea produced in Yunnan province, China. In fermentation, tea leaves undergo microbial fermentation and oxidation after they are dried and rolled. This tea can be sold raw, known as "rough" or pressed into a number or shapes, known as "raw" Sheng Cha. Its preparation is done by flaking off pieces of the cake or steaming the entire cake until it is soft from the moisture. It is steeped for 12-30 seconds in the first few infusions increasing to 2-10 minutes in the last infusions. The older this tea is, the better qualities it has, but only finely made and properly stored pu-erh tea will improve and increase in value. Pu-erh tea is known for its weight loss properties - best time to drink it is 1 hour after a meal to help increase the speed of digestion, remove excess grease and to eliminate unwanted and hard-to-digest fats in the body. It will have the opposite effect, if drunk half and hour before a meal, this will cause the weight gain, cleaning the fat in the stomach increasing the appetite. It is advisable to drink only pu-erh tea (except the water) during the day, for the best weight loss results, at least 3 cups daily.
It contains about 40mg caffeine per serving. Pu-erh tea has been used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, colds, bleeding and hepatitis. Contains high levels of vitamin C which is soluble in water and can be rapidly assimilated by the body. Also contains antioxidants and other substances that may help protect the heart and blood vessels. It is also used for improving mental alertness and sharp thinking. It lowers cholesterol due to small amounts of a chemical called lovastatin, it lowers bad cholesterol and increases the good one.
Rooibos is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South African´s fynbos, particularly in the Cederberg mountains area. From Afrikaans language, the word rooibos means "red bush", with its scientific name Aspalathus Linearis and it was traditionally brewed by the Khoi people who believed that it had health benefits. It is classified as a herbal tea with no caffeine in it, unlike the other types of tea. Herbal teas are not from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and therefore are not classified as a tea. It means they are not considered a "real" tea. In South Africa it is common to prepare it in the same manner as black tea and add milk and sugar to taste. Other methods include a slice of lemon and using honey instead of sugar. More coffee shops in South Africa have recently begun to sell "red espresso", which is concentrated rooibos served and presented in the style of ordinary espresso. Rooibos tea is becoming more popular in Western Countries due to its health benefits, particularly high levels of antioxidants, such as aspalathin and nothogafin, its lack of caffeine and low tannin levels. Two flavonoids found in rooibos - quercetin and luteolin - have been know to have cancer fighting qualities. Rooibos however does not contain the antioxidant EGCG found in tea. Rooibos may assist in nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems. Can be used to treat infantile colic and stomach cramps, asthma and dermatological problems. This tea can slow the aging process, prevent certain forms of cancer and lower the risk of heart disease. It soothes skin irritations when applied directly to the affected area. Rooibos tea can be drunk freely, since there has not been shown any side effects. It is also safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Mint tea is a herb tea, with its refreshing clean and sweet flavor. Most of the mint tea come from peppermint which is stronger and from milder spearmint. Scent and the taste not only benefits mood but also increase brain function. It is typically used to alleviate digestive troubles. Mint can calm an upset stomach, relieve nausea and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn and diminish gas. It may also help remove dangerous bacteria from the digestive system and relax the stomach muscles. So the result is a calm stomach and healthy digestive tract, safe from ailments such as stomach ulcers and Crohn´s disease, a relaxed nervous system and reduced anxiety and tension. It is useful against colds because of its ability to decongest stuffy sinuses and reduce chest pain. Can relieve dry cough and sore throat. Mint also helps break down fat cells in the body and therefore maintain a healthy weight. It also promotes alertness and energy, and can help with a bad breath. It is best to drink it alone or with a slice of lemon or a bit of honey. Very refreshing version is a hot water poured over the fresh mint leaves.
Lemon balm tea
Lemon balm is a herb tea with its medicinal name Melissa officinalis. It is native to center and southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. Its leaves have a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. It has been shown to improve mood and mental performance. The extract of lemon balm was also found to have exceptionally high antioxidant activity. Lemon balm is used alone or as a part of various multi-herbs combination products. It is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas, vomiting and colic, also for pain including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache. It is also useful for mental conditions such as hysteria and melancholia. Its calming and sedative effects are good for anxiety, sleep problems and restlessness. Lemon balm can be inhaled as aromatherapy, which is good for Alzheimer´s disease. It contains eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues and kills bacteria.
Can be also used topically to treat cold sores. Lemon balm is not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Dandelion tea is a tea with wide range of benefits on ones health. It can be used as a whole plant, its parts or root to make tea and medicine. It is a potent disease fighter, helps the body heal, helps to boost immunity and combat cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and age-related memory loss. Dandelion aids in digestion and functions well to relieve digestive disorders like constipation and diarrhea. It is one of the most effective herbs for getting the bloat out and helping relieve water retention. It helps kidneys clear out waste, salt and excess water. This hinders microbial growth in the urinary system too. It works great to purify the blood and cleanse the system. It enhances detoxification by stimulating urination and in addition by replacing the potassium lost in that process. It reduces inflammation of the ball bladder and of the bile duct. Dandelion improves the function and maintains optimum liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen and stomach functions. It is a very rich source of beta-carotene, also rich in vitamin C, fiber, iron, potassium, calcium and zinc. It contains more protein than spinach. Dandelion plant, which is rich in antioxidants, prevents free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells. Its essential fatty acids and phytonutrients reduce inflammation throughout the body. It helps reduce cholesterol and also helps with weight loss, and its strengths incorporate well into muscle building programs for weight lifters. As a face wash it improves complexion and skin clarity.
Yerba maté is traditionally grown and consumed in subtropical South America, particularly northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Its leaves are evergreen, often called Yerba or Erva - both of which mean "herb". It contains caffeine, known also as mateine, and its content is 1 and 1/2 more than in coffee but the effects of caffeine comes gradually and evenly due to the other beneficial substances. Its drinking is therefore healthier and is not addictive. As for the Europeans is drinking coffee, likewise for people in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay is drinking maté. It is a ritual when the host or a person who brought maté to a meeting with friends, prepares drink and refills the gourd with water. The gourd is passed around in the circle in the clockwise order, and each person finishes the gourd before giving it back for refill. It has a lot of benefits, it contains polyphenols, which may benefit the immune system, relieve allergies, reduce the risk of diabetes and the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It increases mental energy and focus and improves moods. It also contains a lot of vitamins such as A, C, E, B1 and B2, very important amino-acids, minerals, fiber and carotene. They all invigorate the immune system. It is higher in antioxidants than green tea. It stimulates the brain activity, fight against allergies and helps the body to get rid of toxins. It is great in weight loss, it helps to melt the fat in the body and to beat off the hunger. Maté is also helpful with sleeping problems even though it contains mateine. The sleepnessness can be even improved by regular drinking of maté. It is ideal to drink it throughout the day but not more than 5 cups daily.
Buchu is formally called Agathosma betulina or Barosma betulina. Earliest documentation about this tea is from 1652 when Cape´s Khoisan inhabitants - bushmen, first introduced it to Dutch colonists. Khoisan believed buchu was an elixir of youth and today it is widely used to promote health and physical wellbeing. It is unique to South Africa and grows on the mountainous slopes of the western and southern Cape. It was first imported to Britain in 1790. Buchu has distinctive sweet and lemony fragrance and is a member of glorious and diverse Fynbos floral kingdom. The tea has antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic properties and provides relief from premenstrual cramping and bloating. Its anti-inflammatory properties help ease the aches and pains associated with gout, arthritis and rheumatism. It is also valuable source of vitamins A, B, C and E and numerous minerals, antioxidants and disease-preventing flavonoids. It is helpful in treatment of kidney stones and its diuretic properties alleviate urinary tract infections. It helps to normalize blood sugar levels especially to prevent rapid falls in blood sugar levels. Topically, it can be used to treat bruises and yeast infection. It should not be drunk by pregnant and breastfeeding women and should be avoided 2 weeks before a surgery because it might slow blood clotting and therefore increase the risk of bleeding.