Before it was one of the world’s most popular beverages, tea was considered a herbal remedy that helped digestion, cleared the skin and reduced a fever. How much of this folklore has proven to be true?
Tea was medicine before it became a beverage. In ancient China people would add herbs, and even onions, to tea to enhance its natural healthful properties before purist Lu Yu made it popular to savour tea without enhancement.
Asian societies believed tea increased wakefulness and aided digestion, which is why they would have it with or after food. It also contributed to a person’s vitality, hence the Japanese proverb, “If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
When tea first appeared in the West, buyers would visit an apothecary rather than a tea shop to purchase tealeaves as it was considered a herbal tonic. Apothecarists sold tea to address skin ailments, stomach complaints, sleepiness and memory loss, among other things.
While tea isn’t some magical remedy, it actually does possess a number of health-giving properties. Here we sort the myths from the truth.
Black tea is rarely mentioned in the context of teas health benefits. Surprisingly, it packs quite a few and there is research to corroborate it. Rich in antioxidants, black tea has been found to improve oral health, boost weight loss and even bring down stress levels. Also, being an oxidized tea, it is known for having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties that help control levels of bad cholesterol in the body, improve bone density, mitigate cardiovascular ailments and promote wellness. The characteristic quality about black tea is the fact that it is an oxidized tea. And tea flavonoids found in oxidized tea are known to be rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These flavonoids have strong protective qualities and inhibit the oxidation of bad cholesterol. Additionally, black tea contains rich amounts of antioxidants which are capable of countering ‘free radicals’ in the body, reducing the risk of cardiovascular ailments by more than 50 percent.
Oolong teas claim to fame came with the realization that it has zero calories. So, it found a natural fit in weight loss programs and low calorie wellness diets. Organic oolong tea is packed with alkaloids including caffeine and this can boost mental and physical energy, increase serotonin production, and counter free radicals. Regular consumption of oolong tea allows the body to burn more calories and metabolize greater amounts of energy.