Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, following water. With the large assortment of teas available today, it is often difficult to decide which type of tea is right for you. Black, Green, White, Oolong, Red, and Herbal teas have been appraised for their health and medicinal benefits. Furthermore, black, green, oolong, and white teas all come from the same plant – Camellia sinensis, making the matter even more complicated. Mountain Rose Herbs has sold teas since our beginning, and we are often asked our opinions on which teas to use. In this article, we will share some of what we have learned with you, will offer our advice and assistance on choosing a tea, as well as provide information on the health and medicinal benefits of drinking these teas.
Black, Green, Oolong, and White Teas
These teas all stem from the exact same tea plant – Camellia sinensis. According to Chinese myth, the discovery of tea was in 2737 BC, when the emperor Shen Nong was boiling water next to an open window. Tea leaves blew through the window, and into the pot. He drank the concoction, and enjoyed it so much that tea soon became a favorite beverage in China. Aside from drinking tea for enjoyment, the Chinese have also used it as a medicinal tool, and have treated a host of maladies and illnesses with tea.
Although green tea is usually mentioned for its antioxidant properties, black, oolong, and white tea also contain antioxidants. Furthermore, research has shown that drinking these teas also has the following benefits:
Lowers the risk of heart disease and heart attack by preventing the clogging of arteries.
Reduces the risk of stroke, and lowers high cholesterol levels.
In studies, black and green teas have both lowered blood pressure levels.
Helps prevent sunburn and skin cancer. Drinking tea and wearing skincare products with Camellia sinensis may protect against, and possibly reverse, sun damage.
Cancer prevention. Research on green, black, and white tea has shown it to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and to keep healthy cells from becoming malignant after exposure to cancer causing compounds.
Increases bone density, resulting in healthier and stronger teeth and bones. Tea may also prevent cavities by suppressing bacterial growth in the mouth.
Assists with rheumatoid arthritis and inflammations.
Raises immune system, helping the body resist infections, viruses, and bacteria. Tea has also been shown to neutralize germs.
Weight loss. Green tea stimulates the body to burn calories, burning approximately 80 calories per day. In studies, the calorie loss was not due to caffeine content.
Signs of ageing. Oolong tea in particular, has been shown to help reduce signs of ageing, including age spots, wrinkles, hair loss, and other symptoms.
Allergies. In laboratory tests, researchers found that the anti-oxidants in green tea blocked the biochemical response that produces an allergic response.
Helps fight diabetes, by reducing sugar levels and inhibiting cataracts.
Loose leaf tea has also been shown to contain higher anti-oxidant levels than tea in tea bags, simply because the quality is usually much higher in loose leaf tea, and the leaves have not been exposed to the amount of oxidization that smaller cut leaves have. Side affects of drinking black, green, oolong, and white: These teas all contain caffeine, each cup contains approximately one third to half the caffeine amount as a cup of coffee.
Many people are understandable confused over the difference between black, green, oolong, and white teas. After all, how can all of these teas come from the same exact tea plant? The answer is found in the different ways in which they were processed, which results in a variety of altering colors, flavors, and aromas.
Black Tea: This is the strongest tea in color, flavor, and is also the highest in caffeine content. A classic beverage, black tea is fermented giving it a dark color, and a full-bodied hearty flavor.
Green tea: Handpicked tea leaves are steamed immediately after being harvested, allowing the leaves to retain their bright green color, and their fresh vibrant taste. This is a popular tea, and is most well-known for its health benefits and as a powerful antioxidant.
Oolong: Partial fermentation results in a medley of black and green tea leaves. This tea is beautiful, full bodied, and has a mildly smooth aftertaste. It is preferred by those who dislike the bitterness commonly associated with green tea. It contains less caffeine than black tea.
White tea: This is the least processed method, in which tea leaves are simply picked and then dried. White tea is picked early in the season when the buds are still fresh, young and tender. The taste is very mild and sweet, without the sometimes astringent qualities of regular green teas. While the name of this tea can be a bit misleading, it has green leaves with white “needles”.
Red teas have recently become very popular, as studies have shown them to be extremely healthy and beneficial, as well as caffeine free. For those of us who are in need of a healthy caffeine free tea, these teas are the answer. There are several types of red tea available, Red Rooibos, Green Rooibos, and Honeybush tea. All of these come from South Africa, and are astoundingly rich in vitamin and mineral content. They contain high amounts of Vitamin C, along with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, copper, manganese, and fluoride. They also have more anti-oxidants than green tea, and are anti-viral, anti-spasmodic and anti-allergic.
Red Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is an ultra fine, delicate tea that has a hearty red color and brews to a deep red tone. It has a natural sweetness, and is smooth and succulent with an aromatic after taste. The sweet taste and color is produced by the fermentation of the tea leaves.
Green Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is made by stopping the natural fermentation process, and immediately steaming the tea leaves after being picked. The resulting tea has a more herbal taste, and is lighter color than red rooibos. Studies suggest that Green Rooibos has a higher concentration of many of the nutrients found in Red Rooibos tea.
Honeybush Tea (Cyclopia intermedia) is produced from fermented tea leaves, and has a sweet and smooth taste. This lovely beverage is sometimes described as “super fruity”, and it brews to a deep dark amber color. The taste is similar to Red Rooibos, but a bit sweeter.
Herbal teas are naturally caffeine free, and are usually a mixture of botanical products. They may contain leaves, flowers, berries, bark, and roots. Herbal teas are enjoyed for a variety of reasons, some for pleasure, and others for medicinal purposes. The herbal teas sold by Mountain Rose Herbs are used for a variety of different reasons, including: relaxation, memory enhancement, immune resistance, sleep and dream inducement, general health, vitamin content, menopausal symptoms, and much more. Herbal teas are versatile and flavorful, and may be enjoyed at any time, or at any age.