Health Benefits

Learn how tea can enhance your health.

White Tea Research

Most research on the health benefits of tea were performed on green and black teas. As the years go by we will be hearing much more about the positive benefits white tea shows in improving health. White teas are relatively new to the tea drinking world. Until recently all white teas came from China, and mostly from Fujan province. Now countries like India are also processing some darjeelings as white tea. The delicate taste of white tea is sometimes a welcome change over the grassy taste of green tea.

A study published in the journal Carcinogenesis by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found that consumption of moderate amounts of white tea might provide protection against colon tumors about as well as the prescription drug Sunlindac, which has also been known to be effective but can cause the serious side effects of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as bleeding and ulcers. But the study also indicated that routine consumption of green or white teas could be especially effective in combination with NSAIDS to provide even more cancer protection. According to Gayle Orner, one of the researchers for this report, “Teas exert significant protective effects in experimental animal models of skin, lung, esophageal, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, pancreatic, colon, bladder and mammary cancer.”

Because White tea is the least processed of all the camellia family teas, it has the highest level of anti-oxidants which positively affect the immune system.

A Pace University study proved that White Tea Extract was more effective than green tea at retarding bacterial growth that caused Staphylococcus and Streptococcus infections, pneumonia and dental caries. Results obtained from the model also suggest that it may have anti-viral effects and additional studies indicated that it has anti-fungal properties. According to Milton Schiffenbauer, Ph.D., a microbiologist and professor in the Dept. of Biology at Pace University, Research shows white tea can actually destroy in vitro the organisms that cause disease.

At the Skin Study Center of University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University it was determined that white tea extract protects against the oxidative stress of the skin that causes a breakdown in cellular strength and function. Researchers found that DNA damage that occurs in cells after exposure to sunlight was limited in skin cells protected by white tea extract. In general, researches believe that white tea extract’s antioxidant properties may provide anti-aging benefits. The same process of oxidative stress in skin cells that lead to immune system damage can also promote skin cancer and photo damage, such as wrinkling or mottled pigmentation. It appears that the white tea extract build’s the skin’s resistance to these stresses.

 

Green Tea Research

Is any other food or drink reported to have as many health benefits as green tea? The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years.

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

An article in New Scientist suggest that green tea protects against a range of cancers, including lung, prostate and breast cancer. According to Dr. Hirofumi Tachibana’s team at Kyushu University in Japan, the reason cited is the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).Their research showed that growth of human lung cancer cells that have a cell receptor called 67 LR is slowed significantly after drinking just two or three cups of green tea, which contains EGCG.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in laboratory studies using animals, catechins inactivated oxidants before cell damage occurred, reduced the number and size of tumors, and inhibited the growth of cancer cells.

Another study from the Oxford Life Science journal Carcinogenesis showing a capacity of green tea in combination with tamoxifen is effective in suppressing breast cancer growth in human breast cancer tumors and in animal experiments in mice.

In 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent.

University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Earlier this year, researchers from the University of Rochester in New York presented data at a conference on diet and cancer in Washington, D.C. suggesting that EGCG targets a particular protein, HSP90, that is present in higher levels in cancer cells than in normal cells.

At a meeting in April 2007 of the American Association for Cancer Research, Italian researchers showed that men at high risk of prostate cancer who took the equivalent of three to four cups of green tea a day were less likely to develop the cancer than similar men given a placebo.
Hasan Mukhtar, a biochemist and professor of cancer research at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine has shown that green tea catechins block a substance called insulin-like growth factor-1, thus thwarting the ability of prostate cancer cells to grow.

Links are being made between the effects of drinking green tea and the “French Paradox.” For years, researchers were puzzled by the fact that, despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol, a polyphenol that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a 1997 study, researchers from the University of Kansas determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, which may explain why the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately seventy-five percent are smokers.

According to research done at Baylor College of Medicine, topical applications of green tea extracts (EGCG) have protective effects on UVA- and UVB-induced skin damage (photoaging and carcinogenesis).

Clinical trials conducted by the University of Geneva in Switzerland indicate that green tea raises metabolic rates and speeds up fat oxidation. In addition to caffeine, green tea contains catechin polyphenols that raise thermogenesis (the rate at which calories are burned), and hence increases energy expenditure.

There is also a suggestion that it can increase endurance in exercise by improving fat metabolism.

There is also epidemiological evidence that drinking green tea may help prevent diabetes.

The amino acid L-theanine, found almost exclusively in the tea plant, actively alters the attention networks of the brain, according to results of human trials announced in September 2007. John Foxe, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience, biology and psychology at City College of the City University of New York, found that theanine is absorbed by the small intestine and crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and increases alpha brain-wave activity. The result is a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind.

On 21 April 2003 the Brigham and Women’s Hospital released details of a research project which indicated that theanine may help the body’s immune system response when fighting infection, by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. The study included a four-week trial with 11 coffee drinkers and 10 tea drinkers, who consumed 600ml of coffee or green or oolong tea daily. Blood sample analysis found that the production of anti-bacterial proteins was up to five times higher in the tea-drinkers, an indicator of a stronger immune response.

A 2006 study by the University of Tokoyo showed that elderly Japanese people who consumed more than 2 cups of green tea a day had a 50 percent lower chance of having cognitive impairment, in comparison to those who drank fewer than 2 cups a day, or who consumed other tested beverages. This is probably due to the effect of EGCG, which passes through the blood-brain barrier.

According to a study by UCLA researchers, drinking black tea lowers stress hormone levels. Just 50 minutes after a high stress event, tea drinkers, who had been drinking 4 cups of black tea daily for a month, had a 20% greater drop in cortisol than the placebo group. Blood platelet activation, which is linked to blood clotting and the risk of heart attacks was also lower for tea drinkers.

A recent study appearing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in Green Tea can lead to the inhibition of HIV virus binding and may be used as a complementary therapy for HIV patients.
EGCG does this by competing for gp120 binding sites with HIV, and also protects the brain, which modern anti-retrovirals medicines cannot do, since they can’t pass the blood brain barrier.

Oxalates, including those found in all teas, help with HIV and general infections by mopping up free iron, leaving one less thing for the immune system to do. Oxalates chelate zinc as well, a crucial nutrient HIV uses to hijack a cell, as it has zinc fingers.

According to the Textbook of Gatroenterology (Reference: Volume one, 4th edition, 2003 Editor Tadataka Yamada, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, pages 1141-1142) the polyphenols in green tea show an ability to inhibit intestinal inflammation of IBD.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago stated that polyphenols help inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.

 

Oolong Tea Research

Oolong tea is an ancient Chinese tea, with a history dating back over 400 years. Originally developed in the Fujian province of China during the Ming dynasty, Oolong translates as black dragon or black snake. Today Oolong tea is primarily produced in three regions: China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. The best oolongs are grown in Taiwan.

Oolong tea lies somewhere between green and black tea. As a result, the taste spectrum can be quite broad – anywhere from the delicate, nearly-green pouchong, to the nearly-black varieties. Generally speaking, Oolong tea has a refreshing and aromatic taste.

Consumption of oolong tea stimulates both EE and fat oxidation in the liver thus decreasing weight.
In a study published in the August 2003 edition of the Journal of Medical Investigation, scientists from Japan’s University of Tokushima School of Medicine found that people who drank two cups a day of oolong experienced over 157% greater fat burning results than those who drank the same amount of green tea.

Among other food items taken into your body through meals every day, sugar and fat are synthesized into triglyceride in the liver and the small intestine, which are then carried in the bloodstream into various other tissues in the body. More triglyceride than any other kind of fat is contained in the human body and it is used as a source of energy for life support and physical activities. Excess amounts of triglyceride will be deposited within fat cells. This is the mechanism of fat metabolism in which an excess accumulation of triglyceride in the body causes obesity.

Polyphenol in oolong tea is effective in controlling obesity. Specifically speaking, it activates the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving triglyceride. It has been confirmed that the continuous intake of oolong tea contributes to enhancing the function of fat metabolism and to controlling obesity.

Researchers at the Suntory Research Center in Osaka, Japan found that drinking oolong or wu long tea15 minutes before eating foods high in carbohydrates curbed rises in insulin, thus reducing some of the fattening effects of carbohydrate intake.

On 21 April 2003 the Brigham and Women’s Hospital released details of a research project which indicated that theanine may help the body’s immune system response when fighting infection, by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. The study included a four-week trial with 11 coffee drinkers and 10 tea drinkers, who consumed 600ml of coffee or green or oolong tea daily. Blood sample analysis found that the production of anti-bacterial proteins was up to five times higher in the tea-drinkers, an indicator of a stronger immune response.

Oolong tea extract has a potential chemopreventive action against hepatocarcinogenesis.

Studies show that drinking oolong tea after a high cholesterol meal has been shown to lower the intake of fat content in the blood.

Diabetes Prevention

Researchers from Japan’s Shiga University of Medical Science found that drinking oolong each day helps to clear up skin problems within one month. These same researchers reported that patients with a form of eczema improved after drinking a liter of oolong tea daily.
The Department of Dermatology, Shiga University of Medical Science carried out research into its effect on atopic dermatitis and discovered that 64% of sufferers of atopic dermatitis reported an improvement in their skin condition.

Oololng is very effective in delaying the appearance of signs of aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles, by strengthening the effect of copper-zinc-SOD (an enzyme called Superoxide dismutase), which acts favorably within the cutaneous cells of the skin.

According to researchers in Taiwan, two catechin derivatives (C-1 and C-2) with potent antiallergic activity were isolated from oolong tea.

According to researchers at Pace University, Oolong tea polyphenols strongly inhibited the enzyme activities of some types of streptococci.

According to the Department of Dentistry, Osaka University, consuming polyphenol found in oolong tea contributes to the reduction of tooth decay significantly and is effective in preventing the occurrence of such decay by inhibiting the build-up of plaque..

A study published in the Journal of Medical Investigation found that women who consumed wu-long tea directly after a meal increased energy expenditure by 10%. This compared to an energy expenditure of 4% for green tea drinkers and 0 for water drinkers.

Dr. Kenichi Yanagimoto and colleagues from the University of California found that people who drank wu long tea on a daily basis experienced a fifty-percent reduction in free radicals within 15 days. (Free radicals are damaging substances in the body that contribute to signs of aging, including wrinkles and dark spots that are caused by ultra-violet rays, chemical food additives, pollution and stress.

Oolong tea has been shown to elevate spirits in some people.

According to Chinese medicine Oolong is highly effective in improving symptoms associated with weak kidney and spleen energy.

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