The Chinese have been using tea for medicine for thousands of years. Aborigines in the African bush have revered red tea for its medicinal qualities for over a century. Turns out they were right; tea is very beneficial to your health. Different varieties offer different health benefits to varying degrees.
Black, Green, White and Oolong teas are made from the leaves of Camilla sinesis, an evergreen tree native to Asia. Tea made from the tree was discovered and used for medicinal purposes in China 5000 years ago. Leaves from this tree contain polyphenols.
Antioxidant polyphenols have been shown to reduce risk of cancer and heart disease in numerous studies. Polyphenols appear to reduce the risk of gastric, esophageal, and skin cancers with consumption of four to six cups of tea a day. Just two cups of tea a day is thought to reduce a woman’s chance of ovarian cancer by as much as forty-six percent. Polyphenols are also shown to prevent blood clotting help lower cholesterol levels.
A Japanese study shows green tea lowers the death rate from heart disease. Green tea has also been much recommended to lower risks of colon and prostate cancers. There has been a lot of news in the media about the health benefits of green tea lately but it is white tea that contains the highest antioxidant levels and all Camilla teas seem to be good for you.
If we look at the antioxidant levels, true teas offer the most benefit. The different varieties of Camilla tea arise from the different degrees of processing and studies are showing the less intensive processing the more antioxidants the brew contains. Herbal infusions do not contain antioxidants except for Rooibos. Amounts of antioxidant levels per cup of tea are:
-Iced tea- 20-110mg.
Rooibos tea is made from the South African Red Bush. Naturally caffeine free, it does offer some of the benefits of antioxidants. There is no scientific study results published on the health benefits of Rooibos tea but it has been shown to contain antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, and minerals needed by the body. The tea has lower amounts of polyphenols than true teas; however, Rooibos tea contains certain unique antioxidants. Red tea has long been used in traditional medicine to treat digestive ailments, skin problems and allergies. In South Africa it is mixed with milk and given to colicky infants.
Herbal teas do not come from the leaves of the tea tree and except for Rooibos do not contain polyphenols. Herbal teas are caffeine free and have been used as a home remedy for years. Although no scientific evidence supports their claims, they can’t hurt and they just may help.
A hot cup of herbal tea is certainly relaxing and many varieties have been used as natural cures for years. Chamomile tea has been used as a sleep aid for many years. Dandelion tea is a diuretic which stimulates and cleans the liver. Ginger tea is recommended for a remedy for nausea and vomiting. Licorice tea is said to be a potent aphrodisiac. Peppermint tea is good for your breath and is said to sooth upset stomachs.
The bottom line is tea is good for you! So drink up.