Camellia sinensis Teas

Black Tea ★★

There are a wide range of varieties and blends of Black tea found throughout China and India. Generally, Black tea may help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and lower the risk of heart disease as well as your cholesterol levels1,2. One large study from Sweden showed that women who drank 2 cups of black tea per day had a 46% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer while 1 cup per day resulted in a 24% lower risk.3 Black (and especially Green) teas contain an amino acid called L-Theanine. This amino acid signals the brain to calm down by helping it to release more alpha brain waves. These kinds of brain waves are associated with feelings of tranquility, awareness, wakefulness and peace. Black tea contains more L-theanine than green, oolong or white teas. This tea can also help improve your mood because it is an adaptogen. This special group of foods can help make your body resistant to stress. The tea is an effective stress reducer and anxiety reliever and it helps buffer the effect that  the tea’s caffeine has on the body.

Because of the polyphenol antioxidants, Black tea can help fight off bad breath by killing or suppressing the bacteria that cause it and the acids they produce. The acids produced by bacteria can damage the enamel on your teeth. The tea can also interfere with an enzyme that bacteria use to turn sugars into the sticky material they need to stick to your teeth as plaque.6

Black tea can potentially enhance the insulin response, it may help fight off diabetes, when you drink it without milk and little or no sugar.

Assam India
Assam Black Teas

Assam teas are black tea leaves from Assam, India. The leaves come from the Camellia sinensis assamica tea bush, a strain of the Camellia sinensis plant. It was not until the early or mid 1800’s that this strain was discovered growing wild in the region of Assam, India. Until this point, all of the tea around the world came from China. Since this strain was cultivated, it has become the source of most of the black teas that we drink around the world. It tends to have a stronger taste and more caffeine than the Camellia sinensis tea bush in China. Most popular tea brands get their tea leaves from this strain of the camellia sinensis bush.

Celyon

Celyon teas are black tea leaves from Sri Lanka. These teas have a slightly sweeter flavor and aftertaste than the other teas from India.

Darjeeling

These teas are black tea leaves from Darjeeling, India. What makes these teas unique is that many of these teas come from the Chinese variety of Camellia sinensis. It is the only place outside of China where the Chinese variety will grow. The tea that comes out of Darjeeling are black teas but they tend to be only partially oxidized so it’s more like an Oolong tea. It has a unique flavor that makes it very popular in some regions of the world.

 

References

  1. Nagle C, Olsen C, Bain C, Whiteman D, Green A, Webb P. Tea consumption and risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes & Control: CCC [serial online]. September 2010;21(9):1485-1491
  2. Vermeer M, Mulder T, Molhuizen H. Theaflavins from black tea, especially theaflavin-3-gallate, reduce the incorporation of cholesterol into mixed micelles. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry [serial online]. December 24, 2008;56(24):12031-12036.
  3. Larsson S, Wolk A. Tea consumption and ovarian cancer risk in a population-based cohort. Archives Of Internal Medicine [serial online]. December 12, 2005;165(22):2683-2686.
  4. Nobre A, Rao A, Owen G. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition [serial online]. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-168.
  5. Tan L, Koh W, Yuan J, et al. Differential effects of black versus green tea on risk of Parkinson’s disease in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. American Journal Of Epidemiology [serial online]. March 1, 2008;167(5):553-560.
  6. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA318188

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Green tea

Green Tea ★★

Like black tea, green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and contains polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) called catechins, the most popular one being EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). The oxidizing process Black tea goes through, when it’s rolled to break the leaves, causes the leaves to lose some of their polyphenols. Green tea, on the other hand, is not rolled after it’s picked so it keeps more of its polyphenols. It contains less caffeine than Black tea as well.

Two studies done on Green Tea showed that it may both protect against and kill off tumor cells but not harm normal cells. The tumor cells studied included skin, oral, lung, esophagus, small intestine, stomach, liver, colon, bladder, pancreas, mammary gland, and prostate cells. They also found that de-caffeinated green tea seems to be much less effective than caffeinated green tea in reducing skin cancers and perhaps other cancers 8,10.

Regular green tea drinkers (90 ml per day or about 4 cups) showed a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer compared to women who had tea less than once a month1-3. A very large study from China showed that 1-2 cups per day can lower the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 46%.

Green tea is a very effective weapon against cancer because it may slow down or stop the formation of new blood vessels to tumors, a process known as angiogenesis. Since these vessels feed tumors, cutting them off can help keep the tumor from growing.

Green tea may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by reducing your cholesterol levels and in turn reduce risks of having a heart attack, stroke or developing cardiovascular disease 2,4,5,7. The tea seems to have two compounds that work very well together with caffeine that can help increase your metabolism by boosting your body heat and make it easier for the body to burn fat from fat cells9.

The tea may also reduce the effects of psychological distress on the body (negative moods like anxiety, sadness, frustration…) according to some studies6,9-11. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been linked to an increase in your alpha brain waves. These kinds of brain waves are associated with feelings of tranquility, effortless awareness, wakefulness and peace. L-theanine seems to help boost these brain waves. Black tea contains more L-theanine than green, oolong or white teas. Green tea can also improve your mood because it is an adaptogen. This special group of foods can help make your body resistant to stress and less stress means less anger and tension.

Green tea may also act as an ACE inhibitor, which helps lower blood pressure.12

It has been suggested by some that women who are attempting to conceive or are in their first trimester of pregnancy should avoid drinking large amounts (more than 2 cups approx) of green tea because the catechin antioxidants may keep folic acid from converting to a form that is needed for the fetus’ normal spine development. Nursing women should also avoid large amounts of the tea to limit the amount of caffeine the baby can get through the mother.13

Cancer patients who are taking proteasome inhibitors like Bortezomib should know that the antioxidants in Green tea may block these types of drugs from working.14

There is some evidence that Green tea can help treat inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, lupus, and even dandruff.19 In these cases you would have to wash your skin or scalp in Green tea. There are shampoos and soap that contain green tea extract but nothing beats the original so try washing the skin with warm green tea for a week or two and see what you get.

There are some studies that suggest that the EGCG in green tea may even help prevent skin cancer when the tea leaves are applied directly to the skin. However, not all studies are getting similar results. 

 

© *christopher*, commons.wikimedia.org

Matcha Green Tea

This type of tea is a concentrated powdered form of Green Tea. It’s traditionally served to guests in Japan and is consumed several times a day. It is also sweeter than regular Green Tea. One teaspoon of Matcha powder in a cup of hot water.15

 

Ginger Matcha Iced Tea    

Ingredients:

1 tsp matcha powder, 
2 tbsp fresh ginger chopped
, 1/2 cup of ice, 
Juice from 1/2 lime, 
Honey

Directions:

Blend ice, matcha powder and ginger together until ice is crushed. Pour into glass. Add lime juice and honey to taste.

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© Andre Helbig, commons.wikipedia.org

Sencha tea

Sencha Green Tea

Sencha, is the most popular of the Green teas in Japan. It produces a lighter less brilliant green color compared to Matcha, which is a much cloudier and brilliant green color. Sencha showed high cancer protecting abilities in one study 18.

Summary

To summarize, Green tea is great at reducing the rates of several kinds of cancers but has been very effective at fighting off breast and prostate cancers. It is excellent at stopping the formation of cancer causing chemicals in the body. It can help reduce the risks for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes as well as atherosclerosis. It can help make it easier to burn fat by revving up your metabolism if you’re trying to lose weight and it lowers blood pressure.

 

  1. de Mejia E, Ramirez-Mares M, Puangpraphant S. Bioactive components of tea: cancer, inflammation and behavior. Brain, Behavior, And Immunity. August 2009;23(6):721-731
  2. Clement Y. Can green tea do that? A literature review of the clinical evidence. Preventive Medicine. August 2009;49(2-3):83-87.
  3. Sturgeon J, Williams M, van Servellen G. Efficacy of green tea in the prevention of cancers. Nursing & Health Sciences. December 2009;11(4):436-446.
  4. Moore R, Jackson K, Minihane A. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) catechins and vascular function. The British Journal Of Nutrition. December 2009;102(12):1790-1802.
  5. Naito Y, Yoshikawa T. Green tea and heart health. Journal Of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. November 2009;54(5):385-390.
  6. Ozawa A, Kuriyama S, Nakaya N, et al. Green tea consumption is associated with lower psychological distress in a general population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. November 2009;90(5):1390-1396.
  7. Schneider C, Segre T. Green tea: potential health benefits. American Family Physician. April 1, 2009;79(7):591-594.
  8. Lee AH, Fraser M, Binns C. Tea, coffee and prostate cancer. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. February 2009;53(2):256-265.
  9. Westerterp-Plantenga M. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiology & Behavior. April 26, 2010;100(1):42-46.
  10. Hung O, Baker W, et al. Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. January 2010;91(1):73-81.
  11. Basu A, Lucas E. Mechanisms and effects of green tea on cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews. August 2007;65(8 Pt 1):361-375.
  12. Persson I, Persson K, Hägg S, Andersson R. Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers. Public Health Nutrition [serial online]. May 2010;13(5):730-737.
  13. A Correa, A Stolley, Y Liu, Prenatal tea consumption and risks of anencephaly and spina bifida, Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 10, Issue 7, October 2000, Pages 476-477, ISSN 1047-2797.
  14. Golden E, Lam P, Schönthal A, et al. Green tea polyphenols block the anticancer effects of bortezomib and other boronic acid-based proteasome inhibitors. Blood [serial online]. June 4, 2009;113(23):5927-5937.
  15. Dr. Oz Show
  16. Inoue N, Kuroda K, Sugimoto A, Kakuda T, Fushiki T. Autonomic nervous responses according to preference for the odor of jasmine tea. Bioscience, Biotechnology, And Biochemistry [serial online]. June 2003;67(6):1206-1214.
  17. Kuroda K, Inoue N, Fushiki T, et al. Sedative effects of the jasmine tea odor and (R)-(-)-linalool, one of its major odor components, on autonomic nerve activity and mood states. European Journal Of Applied Physiology [serial online]. October 2005;95(2-3):107-114.
  18. Bunkova R, Marova I, Nemec M. Antimutagenic properties of green tea. Plant Foods For Human Nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands) [serial online]. March 2005;60(1):25-29.
  19. Foxnews, Foxnews.com, Green tea fights psoriasis and dandruff, located at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292520,00.html. Accessed March 20, 2013.

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Oolong

Oolong Tea ★★

Oolong teas are the partially oxidized leaves of Camellia sinensis. These teas are made by rolling or gently bruising the leaves in a tumbler and leaving them to oxidize in the sun for a short while.  After that, they are heated and dried to stop the oxidation process. The rolling or tumbling of the leaves releases some of the enzymes from inside the leaves, which cause the leaves to oxidize.

Oolong teas are the most aromatic of the Camellia sinensis teas. They have the strongest aromas and a taste that can still echo or linger after you have already finished drinking. Oolongs are a favorite for many tea masters in China and many tea competitions there center around Oolong teas because they go through many levels of baking and rolling before they are ready.

Oolong teas are great for managing obesity. Just like Green tea, it can boost your metabolic rate, helping to burn fat a little faster when you exercise.It is a great anti inflammatory food/drink.

Oolong teas are also a good source of the hormone seratonin. Seratonin helps regulate your mood levels, and calms you down. Also, like the other Camellia sinensis teas, long term consumption may reduce the risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease 2.  On the other hand, there is also evidence that long term consumption of Oolong teas may increase the risk of developing diabetes, especially in men 3,4.

 

  1. Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation. International Journal Of Obesity (2005) [serial online]. April 2010;34(4):659-669.
  2. Liang W, Lee A, Binns C, Huang R, Hu D, Zhou Q. Tea consumption and ischemic stroke risk: a case-control study in southern China. Stroke; A Journal Of Cerebral Circulation [serial online]. July 2009;40(7):2480-2485.
  3. Hayashino Y, Fukuhara S, Okamura T, Tanaka T, Ueshima H. High oolong tea consumption predicts future risk of diabetes among Japanese male workers: a prospective cohort study. Diabetic Medicine: A Journal Of The British Diabetic Association [serial online]. July 2011;28(7):805-810.
  4. Baer D, Novotny J, Harris G, Stote K, Clevidence B, Rumpler W. Oolong tea does not improve glucose metabolism in non-diabetic adults. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition [serial online]. January 2011;65(1):87-93.
  5. The Dr. Oz Show

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White tea

White Tea ★

White tea leaves are baby tea leaves. They are picked within a day or two after the leaf buds as opposed to ten days or so for the other teas.

White tea may have the ability to help protect your skin from sunburn. When combined with other natural forms of sun protection (like Tomatoes and Olive Oil) and sunscreen, you create a very strong shield against the effects of UV radiation on the skin.

White tea is less processed than other teas so it tends to contain more antioxidants and catachins than Black or Green teas. This means that it’s likely to contain more EGCG than Black or Green tea. White tea also contains more L-Theanine than Black or Green tea, which is an amino acid that promotes alertness, and a calm feeling. Since drinking too much coffee can burn you out, try replacing your morning coffee with a cup of White tea and see if it helps you stay awake and alert without the burnout of caffeine.

The tea works great at slowing the inflammatory response in your body by interfering with a protein called interleukin 8, which is a protein that the body creates to speed up the inflammatory process. In one study, when white tea was present, it interfered with interleukin 8 so it could not function properly. Inflammation can happen for example when you cut your finger, bang your toe, expose yourself to UV rays from the sun, or from stress. Certain medical conditions like a fever, infection or arthritis also cause inflammation.

White tea may also protect your teeth and your overall oral health. The tea contains fluoride, which keeps your tooth enamel from becoming soft. It can help kill Streptococcus mutans, which is the primary bacteria that contributes to cavities. It is a common bacteria that normally lives in our mouths 3.

Drinking 2-4 cups per day should provide you with the many health benefits that come with White tea.

  1. Domingo D, Swain F, et al. Topical application of green and white tea extracts provides protection from solar-simulated ultraviolet light in human skin. Experimental Dermatology [serial online]. June 2009;18(6):522-526.
  2. Dr. Oz Show
  3. Vanka A, Vanka S. White tea: A contributor to oral health. Dental Research Journal [serial online]. July 2012;9(4):504.

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ignat.gorazd / Flickr

Puerh Tea★★

Pu-erh tea is the fully fermented form of the Camellia sinensis tea leaf. After it is rolled and left to oxidize (ferment), it is shaped into balls, bowls or cake-like patties (“Beencha” in Chinese) and left to age for long periods of time. Sometimes they can be stored away for years or decades. The outcome of the process depends on the quality of the leaf, the person who prepared the leaves, the conditions the Beenchas were stored in and how long the were stored away, which is why Puerh teas can vary from place to place and even between Beenchas. The tea leaves can last for many years without going bad, which is why some older puerh teas can sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Much like wine, these teas can have a wide variety of flavors and tastes.

Puerh teas have a slightly sweet and earthy taste to them. Steep a few leaves for 2 to 5 minutes to get get a good feel for the taste of the puerh you are drinking. If you like a more bitter taste to your tea, let the leaves steep longer.

Studies are beginning to show that it can help kill the bacteria that causes staph infections (Staphylococcus aureus)1. This tea has lowered LDL cholesterol levels in rats. It is a great anti inflammatory food that may also help you lose weight, fight off disease, keep your blood vessels clear and healthy as well as prevent cancer. The tea may also lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Because it is fully fermented, it contains fewer of the polyphenol and catechin antioxidants but, like all the camellia sinensis teas, it still has a wide variety of health benefits.

 

  1. She-Ching Wu, Gow-Chin Yen, Bor-Sen Wang, Chih-Kwang Chiu, Wen-Jye Yen, Lee-Wen Chang, Pin-Der Duh, Antimutagenic and antimicrobial activities of pu-erh tea, LWT – Food Science and Technology, Volume 40, Issue 3, April 2007, 506-512.
  2. Hayakawa S, Kimura T, Isemura M, et al. Apoptosis-inducing activity of high molecular weight fractions of tea extracts. Bioscience, Biotechnology, And Biochemistry [serial online]. February 2001;65(2):459-462.
  3. Duh P, Yen G, Yen W, Wang B, Chang L. Effects of pu-erh tea on oxidative damage and nitric oxide scavenging. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry [serial online]. December 29, 2004;52(26):8169-8176.
  4. Jie G, Lin Z, Zhang L, Lv H, He P, Zhao B. Free radical scavenging effect of Pu-erh tea extracts and their protective effect on oxidative damage in human fibroblast cells. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry [serial online]. October 18, 2006;54(21):8058-8064.
  5. eng K, Chen C, Fang Y, Hou R, Chen Y. Effect of microbial fermentation on content of statin, GABA, and polyphenols in Pu-Erh tea. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry [serial online]. October 17, 2007;55(21):8787-8792.
  6. Sano M, Takenaka Y, Shibuya S, et al. Effects of pu-erh tea on lipid metabolism in rats. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin [serial online]. January 1986;34(1):221-228.
  7. Wu, C. W.; Yen, C. Y.; Wang, B. S.; Chiu, C. K.; Yen, W. J.; Chang, L. W.; Duh, P. D.Antimutagenic and antimicrobial activities of pu-erh tea Food Sci. Technol. 2007, 40, 506– 512
  8. Zhou, H. J.; Mi, M.; Han, J.; Li, J. H.; Ai, T. The effective mechanism advancement of the pu er tea Cha Ye 2003, 29, 75– 77

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