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Green Tea

Wouldn’t it be great to find a great tasting beverage that has the potential to improve your health? There is such a beverage – tea. Research has indicated that tea is healthier than water. This definitely a positive point since tea has more flavor. So, what are the potential health benefits?

Research has found that tea is healthier for your body than water. Surprising, since popular consensus states water is the healthiest beverage for your body. Findings have been reported that tea rehydrates the body as well as provides disease-fighting antioxidants. Tea may offer protection against stroke, heart disease, and several types of cancers.

Do you want more reasons to drink tea? Drinking tea has potential benefits such as boost the immune system as well as strengthen teeth and bones. Tea may also improve artery function by aiding in blocking LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).

How about drinking green tea? Research has found that senior citizens in Japan who consumed one or more cups of green tea per day were less likely to present cognitive and memory problems. Green tea contains EGCG, which appears to reduce the production of a toxic protein that clogs the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.

All these healthy reasons make me want to get my infuser and brew a cup of tea. Health benefits and delicious taste make this an excellent beverage of choice. If only everything that tasted good proved to be healthy for us.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A classic OLS/ETS blog entry originally published 01.23.2009

Let’s be blunt about this whole tea and health thing. There are a lot of flaky claims being made these days. Which is not to say that there are no benefits to your health to be gained by drinking tea. It’s just that you need to take a lot of these claims with a grain of salt – and sometimes a handful.

Oolong-Sencha-Puerh: Health benefit triple threat? Or nightmarish tea blend? (ETS images)

Oolong-Sencha-Puerh: Health benefit triple threat? Or nightmarish tea blend? (ETS images)

This is a topic I’ve written about a number of times, just as I’ve written numerous articles about tea’s potential health benefits. So I’d like to think that I’m pretty neutral on the subject. But recently, as I was looking through a news feed I subscribe to with the keyword of “tea,” I noticed that there were many lofty claims being made. Here’s a look at some of the claims I ran across in a little less than a week. The names and other pertinent details have been omitted to protect the innocent – or whatever.

For starters, we find an article that claims that the high antioxidant content of green tea might help contribute to radiant skin. Well, radiant might be a bit of a strong term, but since I wrote about tea and skin I don’t suppose I can really quibble about this one. Next up, an article that reads more like a press release and makes a number of health claims for a tea that blends oolong, sencha, and puerh. All I can say about this is that, health claims aside, oolong, sencha and puerh don’t strike me as a very appetizing blend.

The next two items on my list are press releases, and they’re for different brands of slimming tea. I see a lot about these miracle elixirs but maybe that’s because I write and research about tea. I’ve written about tea and weight loss in the past, and my position on slimming teas remains the same – while the claims they make might be based on a few grains of truth, they seem to be greatly exaggerated.

One site that focuses on women’s style and fashion contributes an article that states that the benefits of drinking tea are “endless,” though it’s a little vague when it comes to citing evidence. Another site takes the less trodden path of presenting Earl Grey as a miracle health tea, though almost all of the benefits are somewhat overstated and not related specifically to Earl Grey, but more to tea in general. Then there’s kombucha, a beverage which is often blended with tea and which is mentioned in an article on fermented foods that are said to be good for digestive health.

Finally, in this last case I will name names. Here’s a recent article by a Dr. K (Komaroff), a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School, who takes what seems to me to be a brief but rather sensible and balanced look at the potential health benefits of tea. While the other types of claims I’ve discussed are quite common, you don’t really see much of this.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Not so long ago, in the quest to find the next big thing in tea (a notion which pretty much equates to “the next green tea”) it seems that a lot of media types and tea merchants began to turn their attention to white tea. This makes some sense, to be honest, since white tea, like green, is a lightly processed variety of Camellia sinensis (the tea plant) and thus is more likely to retain a high proportion of those health benefits so widely attributed to green tea.

Oasis Mango White Tea

One of the problems with white tea, in my relatively limited experience, is that it I am frequently disappointed with the taste. Of course, this sort of thing is hardly limited to white tea. It can also be a problem with any of the other types, be they black, green, oolong, yellow or puerh.

One of the primary factors that contributes to a lousy tasting tea is a very basic one – the tea wasn’t very good to start with. When it comes to tea, a good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. A cheap tea is probably going to taste like one, while a tea that drains a little more from your wallet is likely to be better tasting (though not always). Start with lousy tea and you’re pretty much trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Another critical factor that contributes to a stinko cup of tea is improper preparation. This notion – and the previous one – were addressed in greater detail in a similar article I wrote about black tea, so it’s not really necessary to keep beating that dead horse. Suffice to say that any type of tea is prone to being ruined by careless preparation.

Where white tea differs from the other types, in my ever so humble opinion, is in its very low-key flavor. Because it uses the most delicate parts of the tea plant – buds and young shoots – the flavor of most white tea varieties, or at least most of the ones I’ve tasted, is very subtle. Which is why it’s probably not a good choice for newcomers to tea, whose palates might have been dulled such beverages as coffee, soda or whatever else.

So, to summarize, there are essentially three reasons why your white tea tastes like crap – you bought crappy white tea, you didn’t prepare it correctly or your palate is just not ready yet for the refined goodness that is white tea.

William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks, is a great place to learn about tea!!

Drink tea. Lose weight. Can it really be that easy? Well, it’s probably a bit of a stretch, but if we’re to believe Mark “Dr. Tea” Ukra, author of the book, The Ultimate Tea Diet: How Tea Can Boost Your Metabolism, Shrink Your Appetite, and Kick-Start Remarkable Weight Loss, it’s not all that far from the truth.

Ukra’s family was involved in the tea trade in their native land of Iraq, before coming to America in the Fifties. He was once a hardcore coffee drinker, but some years back, when he decided to cut back his caffeine intake, he made the switch to tea. One thing led to another, as it sometimes does, and in 2005 Ukra and his wife bought the Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium, in Hollywood.

As he began to take more of an interest in the potential health benefits of tea, Ukra took on the persona of Dr. Tea and renamed his tea shop Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden & Herbal Emporium. Another result of Ukra’s studies on the link between tea and health was his book, The Ultimate Tea Diet, which was released by Harper Collins in early 2008.

The Ultimate Tea Diet encourages its weight-conscious readers to drink anywhere from four to six cups of tea a day. Among the beneficial compounds that make tea a healthy beverage are L-theanine and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate).

According to Ukra’s book, tea encourages weight loss through the combined effects of these compounds and caffeine, all of which help to reduce appetite and stimulate the metabolism. While caffeine acts as a stimulant, L-theanine help to neutralize its harmful side effects and acts as an appetite suppressant. EGCG, according to Ukra, helps dieters burn fat faster and more efficiently.

Of course, we cannot live by tea alone. So, keeping this in mind, The Ultimate Tea Diet also includes a selection of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Many of the recipes actually include tea as an ingredient.

Check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks, for more great articles.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

You hear a lot about all of the health benefits of tea these days. Everyone is claiming that oolong can make you lose weight, green tea will prevent cancer, and black tea will save you from the perils of tooth decay.

The jury is still out on a lot of these claims, but it does seem pretty definite that tea makes a healthy addition to your life. But what about all those herbal infusions? Walking down the aisles of any grocery store, you see teas promoting serenity and different kinds of health. While I am no doctor, I wanted to share with you some of the traditional medicinal uses for herbs, especially those that you might be able to grow in your own garden.

For acne, Marie Nadine Antol, the author of Healing Teas, recommends, among others, the common weed dandelion. This humble yellow flower is also listed as a treatment for anemia, blood-pressure problems, cholesterol problems, digestion, and a slew of other ailments. Perhaps don’t be so quick with the round-up on your lawn this spring.

Possibly the most common ingredient in herbal infusions, chamomile likewise seems to be somewhat of a miracle herb. Antol suggests chamomile for the treatment of muscle cramps, arthritis, colds and flu, digestion, general pain, as well as a great many more. Mixed with peppermint, chamomile might make a good treatment for a headache.

I happen to be a big fan of peppermint, which always has a place in a pot in my garden (otherwise it becomes quite invasive). I’ve found that it helps any uncomfortable tummy feelings, but apparently it can also help with weight control, rheumatism, colic, and cold extremities. My husband might recommend I drink more to help with my Popsicle toes.

Remember that this humble author is no doctor and cannot make any medical recommendations. I am simply sharing with you suggestions from Antol’s book, Healing Teas.

Check Stephanie out at her Blog, The Tea Scoop!

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

By William I. Lengeman III

When it comes to health benefits, there’s no doubt that green tea gets more than its fair share of press. But there’s evidence to show that benefits can be derived from any type of tea. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since all types of real tea are derived from the same plant – Camellia sinensis.

White tea is another variety that’s begun to attract more attention nowadays from tea lovers and anyone who would like to improve their health. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, which lays claim to being a world leader in the study of white tea, says, “only one topic draws as much interest as information about Pauling – inquiries about white tea.”

A 2000 study conducted by researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute examined the cancer-fighting potential of white tea. Researchers took a look at four varieties of white tea and measured their ability to inhibit mutations in bacteria. They found that white tea was typically more effective at doing this than green tea.

A more recent research study at the Institute took a look at the effects of green and white tea in relation to colon cancer. The results of the study were published in the journal Carcinogenesis. They showed that consuming moderate amounts of either of these types of tea could be nearly as effective in protecting against the disease as the prescription drug, Sulindac. It was also found that tea exerted “significant protective effects in experimental animal models” against other types of cancer.

Yet another study, also conducted at Pace University, found that white tea extract returned better results than green tea when it came to inactivating bacterial viruses. Researchers also discovered that adding this extract to toothpaste enhanced its anti-microbial effects. Additional research, conducted by researchers at the University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University found that elements of white tea helped boost the immune function of skin cells and protected them from the damaging effects of the sun.

See what else William’s up to on his blog, Tea Guy Speaks.

I come across many tea books as I peruse the shelves at book stores and libraries, where I spend a great deal of my free time. Many of them are redundant, but this book is not one of them. The Story of Tea by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss is one of the most informative and comprehensive tea texts that I have ever come across. The authors are owners of a tea shop and have devoted their life to the pursuit of knowledge of all things tea.

The Story of Tea

The history section goes far beyond the usual leaves falling into the emperor’s cup story, tracing the history of tea not only in China but also in Tibet and into the West. But it was the manufacturing section that really sold me on this book. The authors go into great detail explaining each and every step of the process to make all of the varieties of the world’s tea, as well as the cultivation of the tea bush. Don’t believe me? Eighty pages on this topic, all of them fabulously interesting.

The book also discusses the different tea growing regions in far more detail than the encyclopedic entries in many tea books. Later on there is an encyclopedia of tea, nearly a book unto itself. And if you thought you knew everything there was to know about brewing the perfect cuppa, there are twenty pages of information on that particular subject. I even found some new information on those pages, but I’ll leave those to you to discover. There are also interesting sections on tea cultures around the world.

At the end of the book, there is one section about the health benefits of tea and another about cooking with tea. With the extensive bibliography in the back, I believe that the section on health and caffeine is one of the most accurate that I have seen. There are many misconceptions about tea and caffeine, and the authors make sure to address all of the factors that go into the caffeine content of your cup of tea. The section on tea ethics should be read by all tea drinkers, and some of the recipes are quite original.

Visit Stephanie Hanson’s blog, The Tea Scoop, for more great articles!

tea hydrationAs summer approaches here in the northern hemisphere, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at the topic of tea and hydration. Given that water comprises anywhere from 50-70% of our bodies, it’s not surprising that makes up such an important part of our daily intake.

According to many accounts, the consensus is that we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day. A 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies suggested that American and Canadian women should consume 2.7 liters of water daily and men about 3.7 liters. While some would have us believe that tea and other caffeinated beverages shouldn’t be included in that total, there’s some evidence to the contrary.

It’s unclear whether tea was one the beverages in question, but a study carried out by the Omaha-based Center for Human Nutrition concluded that “advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study.”

tea hydrationA 2006 study that zeroed in specifically on tea found that it might help rehydrate the body, as well as providing extra health benefits. Results of the study, which was conducted by researchers at Kings College London, appeared in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While caffeine at high doses may be ill advised, one researcher suggested that tea might be a better choice for hydration than water in an article published by BBC.

According to the UK Tea Council’s Healthy Drinks Survey, a third of adults there don’t meet their daily fluid requirements. About 40 percent of the nation’s fluid intake comes from tea. As the Council points out, it’s important to note that a cup of tea consists of 99.5 percent water. Ultimately they conclude, “tea can make a positive contribution to the body’s hydration status.”

The most important aspect of hydration is to make sure you’re taking in enough liquids of any type, but the next time you’re feeling parched don’t be afraid to rule out tea as an option. Just another one of the health benefits of tea.

Since the dawn of civilization there have been countless quests for the fountains of youth. Yes, I meant to pluralize fountains since many ancient societies have their own version. Though it would be wonderful to believe there is such a spring, river, grail, and elixir , unfortunately, (to the best of my knowledge at least), there is no such magic. But what if there is something we can drink that may help us age successfully? Seeing as how this is a tea blog, I am sure you have already guessed what I am going to say — what about tea?

Tea
Aging successfully, in part, is the concept that although we cannot stop the sands of time and its subsequent affects, what we can be is proactive and have determination in how we will age – I believe tea may be a meager but wonderful contribution to this process.

The ancient Chinese first used tea for medicinal purposes. Although its direct scientific health relation was not known, what was known was that tea simply made a person feel better . Not truly understanding why simply drinking tea could reenergize a person or lift the spirts were enough to exalt tea to a near mythical status. In fact, much of Chinese tea folklore revolve around tea’s restorative and curative properties.

shenThe legend of Da hong Pao “Big Red Robe” is possibly the most famous. The legend goes that Shen, a servant of the court was near death while on a quest for the emperor. The sickened Shen was given a tea made from 6 tea bushes located on the side of a cliff by the monks who had cared for him. Almost miraculously, after drinking this tea, Shen regained his strength and was able to return to his emperor. Two years passed and the emperor also eventually become gravely ill. Fortunately, Shen was given a small tin which contained the same tea which had cured him by the same monks who had cared for him – he brewed it for his dying emperor and it saved his life. The emperor was so grateful that he wanted to thank the WuYi monks personally and he provided the monks of the monastery a symbol of his gratitude – red robes made of the finest materials.

Of course this is just a legend and its accuracy is really not known, yet it is indeed an example of how heavily regarded tea is in Chinese medicinal lore.

*Disclaimer – although I personally believe in the health benefits of tea, the following statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and therefore any claims should be approached with this in mind.

Prevention of Heart Disease — Studies have shown that regular tea consumption can actually lower cholesterol levels circulating in the blood. In fact, some studies have shown tea to reduce total cholesterol by as much as 6.5% and LDL cholesterol by as much as 11%. A reduction in cholesterol prevents atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries that carry blood become narrowed due to a buildup of plaque. The plaque that builds up in our arteries is created when LDL cholesterol oxidizes.

Tea for the Prevention of Cancer — Tea has been shown to reduce the risks of several forms of cancer. In fact, tea has been shown to reduce lung tumors in laboratory mice. Studies have shown that tea contains a molecule called Epigallocatechin-Gallet (EGCG). EGCG is important to cancer research in that studies have demonstrated that EGCG is known to neutralize Bcl-xl or the anti-death gene -the gene responsible for cancer proliferation. Although tea and cancer research is in its infancy, the findings are promising.

Oral Health — According to some researchers, drinking tea can help prevent tooth decay and bad breath. Some studies suggests chemicals in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions. Additionally, some teas contain fluoride which further protects from tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.

cup of tea

As you can see, tea may indeed be the life giving elixir that many have spent their lives searching for. Although nothing can replace a healthy diet and exercise, the addition of tea to our daily living may provide us with just enough defenses to protect our bodies from some of life’s stresses. Although more research needs to be done, the facts are evident that since its discovery, this leaf has been a powerful force in shaping our lives, history and hopefully our future – we don’t need science to understand this. Throughout the ages, tea has been a soothing balm for the soul, and perhaps in time, science will find that tea is also a balm for our bodies as well.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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