Tea, a Natural Medicine

Tea is the second most popular drink in the world after water and has been consumed for
thousands of centuries now. It is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea has also been
used for its medicinal properties in several countries such as China and India. Tea is also a
common pick-me-up in places like England where it is the social norm to give someone tea
when they are upset or stressed. There have been numerous studies to support the teas that
may boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of cancer and heart
disease. The majority of teas contain polyphenols which are an antioxidant and also have
antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols have been shown to decrease platelet
aggregation, modulate detoxification enzymes, and stimulate immune function. There are
several different types of tea though and they have been shown to have unique benefits.

White tea

White tea contains the least amount of caffeine of the traditional teas and also the least
processed. Studies suggest that white tea may be the most effective kind in fighting cancer.
This is likely due to the high antioxidant content of white tea. It is also seen to have benefits for
teeth such as strengthening, fighting plaque build up, and building resistance to acid and sugars
which damage teeth. These benefits are thought to be due to the tannina, catechins, and
fluoride in white tea.

Green tea

Green tea is made from leaves while they are still green. Studies show that green tea can help
to lower triglycerides, which is a type of “bad” cholesterol, and also lower blood pressure and
reduce blood clotting. This is likely due to the high flavonoid content in the tea. It is also an anti-
inflammatory and is linked to cancer prevention. The catechin in green tea has antioxidant components that protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Green tea has also
been linked to weight loss.

Black tea

Black tea is made from leaves that were allowed to age. The leaves become oxidized, turning
them a brown/black color. Black tea is the tea with the highest caffeine content; however, it does
still have good benefits. The flavonoids in black tea have been shown to reduce inflammation
and support the immune system. Black tea can also be used to help relieve pain and reduce
swelling in injuries by pressing the steamed and then cooled black tea leaves on to the injury.
Bathing in black tea has also been shown to be beneficial. Black tea baths can ease the
inflammation of rashes such as with poison ivy.

Oolong tea

Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea. It falls between green tea and black tea with the amount of
oxidation. This tea contains l-theanine which has been shown to decrease anxiety and promote
alertness and attention. L-theanine has also been shown to aid in prevention of cognitive
disease like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Herbal Tea

There are a wide variety of herbal teas; however, herbal tea is technically not tea because it is
not made from the Camellia sinensis plant like black, green, oolong, and white teas. Instead
Herbal teas are made from an infusion of things like dried fruits, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers.
Because of this distinction, herbal teas are not caffeinated. Herbal teas often have anti-
inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in airways and improve conditions such
as asthma. Now let’s look at some of the more noteworthy herbal tea varieties!

Chamomile tea

This tea is often referred to as sleep tea because it induces a relaxation response and reduces stress. This tea is also beneficial for menstrual pain and muscle spasms.

Rooibos tea

Roobios tea is also known as red tea or red bush tea. This tea has been
shown to improve blood pressure and circulation, promote healthy hair and skin, relieve
allergies, and improve cholesterol. Roobios teas both boosts the good cholesterol (HDL) and
lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).

Peppermint tea

This tea is one that people often turn to when they have a cold due to
the menthol content. This tea can help to soothe an upset stomach or improve constipation,
motion sickness, tension headaches and migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are
many sickness symptoms that this tea helps to alleviate so it makes sense why people often
turn to it when they are sick. However, this tea can aggravate acid reflux so if you are prone to
reflux then this may not be the tea for you.

Ginger tea

Ginger tea is a great natural way to fight off morning sickness. It can also
improve chronic indigestion and relieve the joint pain that is associated with arthritis.

Hibiscus tea

This tea has been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat
levels, improving liver health, reducing sugar cravings, and may help with prevention of kidney

Dandelion root tea

In parts of Europe and Asia dandelion root tea is commonly used
as a remedy for conditions such as UTIs, colds, and inflammation. It is also used to detox the
body. The compound taraxasterol is a type of antioxidant found in dandelion root tea and aids
in combating inflammation by regulating the white blood cells that cause the inflammation. The
polysaccharides in the tea have been shown to reduce the stress on the liver and support its
production of bile. It is important to note that dandelion is part of the daisy family so if you are
allergic to daisies, marigolds, or chrysanthemums then you may be allergic to dandelion root

Scam Teas to Avoid

Detox teas

Many of the fad detox teas that promote weight loss benefits are commonly laced
with laxatives and should be avoided. Be sure to check the ingredients to ensure that it is only a
blend of teas. Dandelion root tea is a common tea used for detoxes.

Tea lattes

teas lattes are now common to get at cafes but they are loaded with sugar and sugar will counteract the health benefits of the tea.

Bubble tea

Bubble tea is very trendy right now and similar to the tea lattes they will be loaded
with sugar and they also usually have little or no nutritional value.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are the most likely tea to trigger an allergy due to plants and spices
used so if you have allergies be sure to check the ingredient before consuming an herbal tea.

Tea Bags

tea bags can contain lead, plastic, or other toxins. The best way to consume tea is
loose leaf to avoid these additives

Tea Teeth Staining

Tea has been known to stain teeth. This is due to the components
found in tea, theaflavins, thearubigins, and teasbrownins, that have
staining properties. The enamel of the teeth is porous and will absorb
these compounds and cause discoloration. The stronger the tea the
more likely it is to leave a stain. Black tea is the biggest offender for
staining teeth. Some teas such as white, peppermint, rooibos, and
yerba mate are very unlikely to stain teeth, even when consumed in
large quantities. To avoid the teeth staining caused by tea you can
drink water or rinse your mouth right after drinking tea. You can also
use baking soda to remove tea teeth stains.

Is tea dehydrating?

Some believe that due to the caffeine in tea that it is dehydrating and that you need to drink an
extra glass of water for every cup of tea that you have. Research has shown that this is not the
case. To have a dehydrating effect, the amount of caffeine consumed would need to be greater
than 500 mg. The caffeine content of most teas is relatively low and you would need to
consume 6-13 cups to have enough caffeine for a dehydrating effect. Overall tea is considered
to be as hydrating as drinking water.

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