Tea: The Benefits
The benefits of tea are numerous and can do wonders for your health. Teas can be categorized in two different classifications: “real” teas are those that come from the Camellia sinensis plant, and herbal teas which are made from herbs, seeds, roots, and fruits. Both of these types of teas have their own beneficial qualities, although it is believed by true tea enthusiasts that the healthiest teas will fall under the “real” tea category, because they are pure and have not been blended with any other ingredients.
|“Real Tea”||Herbal Tea|
“Real” Tea contains antioxidants, catechins, and polyphenols. The benefits of tea that fall under this category include positive impacts on our bodies that help with everything from lowering cholesterol to decreasing the risk of strokes and dementia. Caffeine is naturally found in these teas, and is used by the body to increase mental alertness.
|Type of Tea||Type of Leaves||Health Benefits||Other Information|
|Fermented Tea Leaves||Protects lungs from damage done by cigarette smoke; may reduce the risk of stroke||Highest caffeine levels, the base of many flavored and instant teas|
|Steamed Tea Leaves||May prevent the growth of bladder, breast, stomach, pancreatic, and lung cancers||Can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases. Improves cholesterol levels.|
|Uncured & Unfermented Tea Leaves||Has the highest levels of anti-cancer properties|
|Oxidized Tea Leaves||Antioxidants present help to lower bad cholesterol levels||There are a variety of flavors depending on the style of production and horticulture. (Flavors include – sweet, fruity, and honey OR woody, thick, and roasted OR green, fresh and floral)|
The bases of Herbal Teas are usually comprised of black tea. In addition to their black tea bases they are also made from fruits, seeds, herbs, and roots that have been steeped in hot or boiling water. Due to these additives, they contain lower amounts of antioxidants, catechins, and polyphenols. These teas have less scientific backing than “real teas” but claims are still made promoting the health benefits of tea and it’s herbal varieties.
|Type of Herbal Tea||Herbs Used||Health Benefits||Other Information|
|German Chamomile (Matricaria retutica) & Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)||Could help to prevent loss of vision; kidney or nerve damage associated with diabetes||May stunt the growth of cancer cells, calms an upset stomach, aids in sleep|
|Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida & Echinacea angustifolia||Helps fight the common cold, shortens the duration and severity of the symptoms||May boost immunity against cold viruses (Echinacea purpurea most likely)|
|Hibiscus sabdariffa||May lower blood pressure when consumed in moderate levels (3 cups daily)||Known to help control cholesterol levels, has antibacterial and antifungal properties|
|Aspalathus Linearis||Contains cancer-fighting flavonoids||Rich in antioxidants, high in vitamin C, caffeine free and low concentration of tannins|
The antioxidants that are present in teas have been shown to help prevent cancer, heart diseases, strokes, obesity, hypertension, arthritis, and more. It is thought that they are able to aid in the prevention of these diseases with their natural properties: reduce high blood pressure, improve blood flow, stabilize blood sugar levels, improving brain function, enhancing immune function, and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Although there is scientific evidence behind these and many other benefits of tea (“real” and herbal), there is not enough conclusive evidence to signify that teas should be used for medicinal purposes without first consulting a doctor.
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