Ever since the identification of both the stimulating and detoxifying properties of tea some 4000 plus years ago by Shen Nong, humans have been interested in its medicinal properties.
Shen Nong was a legendary ruler of China and cultural hero and is credited with identifying hundreds of medical (and poisonous) plants by personally testing their properties, which was crucial to the development of Traditional Chinese Medicine
It is only recently that Modern Science has confirmed the benefits already recognised by Chinese Medicine a long time ago. Because of its antioxidant effects the health benefits of tea is arousing much interest in the medically community, particularly in the area of cancer prevention and the treatment of degenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Here are some of the many beneficial properties attributed to Tea
- It supports the heart system
- Activates circulation
- Helps detoxification and the elimination of toxins
- Fights hypertension
- Reduces fatigue
- Slows the aging process
- Helps prevent certain types of cancer
- Aids digestion
- Reduces cholesterol
- Balances body temperature
- Strengthens the immune system
- Enhances concentration
Black tea is abundant in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing damage in both the bloodstream and at artery walls, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it has been shown that black tea flavonoids are able to both improve coronary vasodilation and reduce clots. Polypehnols found in black tea are also very strong antioxidants, and the manganese in black tea may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping cardiac muscle function.
Polyphenols in tea seem to help in preventing formation of potential carcinogens in the body, particularly in certain types of cancer, such as ovarian, lung, prostate, colorectal, and bladder. Other studies reveal that black tea may help prevent stomach, prostate, and breast cancer. A compound in black tea called TF-2 causes such cancer cells to go into apoptosis (programmed cell death) while normal cells remain unaffected. One study on oral cancer showed that consuming black tea can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer, particularly in those who smoke cigarettes and use other tobacco products.
Skin and Hair Health
The antioxidants in green tea may help keep your skin from being plagued by acne, and in some cases have been demonstrated to function equally as well as the harsher benzoyl peroxide used in so many skin products.
Bone and Connective Tissue
Studies indicate that the bones of regular tea drinkers are stronger than those of non-tea drinkers, even when other variables were adjusted for. Scientists theorise it may be an effect of the powerful tea's phytochemicals.
Digestive Tract Health
The tannins in tea have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and make it a great digestive aid. These tannins decrease intestinal activity and exercise an antidiarrheal effect. The polyphenols in green tea have been demonstrated to have an effect on intestinal inflammation suffered by people afflicted with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Brain and Nervous System
Caffeine found in black tea can promote blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart as there is a much slower release of the caffeine than there is when drinking a caffeinated drink such as cola. The caffeine in black tea hones mental focus and concentration and studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in black tea can help you relax and concentrate more fully on tasks.
Black tea has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a month of drinking four cups of tea daily. The caffeine in black tea might also give your memory the boost it needs for a few hours and some studies suggest that a regular tea habit may help protect against Parkinson's disease.
In moderation caffeine can be a benefit, in black tea it stimulates the metabolism, increases brain function and aids alertness. The caffeine in tea acts as more of a subtle stimulant, taking more than a few minutes to take effect, rather than hitting your system as quickly as cola. This effect is assisted by another compound found only in tea, theophylline. While caffeine chiefly targets the brain and muscles, theophylline stimulates the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. This helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Research suggests that catechin antioxidants in black tea may reduce oral cancers. Tea's polyphenols and tannin perform as antibiotics, preventing bacteria that cause tooth decay, and the polyphenols in tea can help to keep in check the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Tea is full of substances called "tannins," which studies have shown have the ability to fight viruses such as influenza, dysentery and hepatitis. One such tannin named "catechin" helps suppress tumours. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response
So many factors are involved that can influence the characteristics of a tea, that it is really a challenge to be general when discussing the benefits and virtues of this legendary drink.
The benefits outlined here are dietary and not therapeutic recommendations. Drinking tea in whatever quantity should not be seen as a treatment for a disease but instead view regular tea drinking as effectively contributing towards maintaining good health and preventing illness.
Therefore at Hancock & Abberton we believe that we should advise any budding tea enthusiasts out there to choose their tea according to taste and personal preference, giving first priority to sensual pleasure, the rest will follow.
By savouring various types of teas on a regular basis we can best enjoy both the pleasure and the benefits.