on Sunday, January 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Tea as a beverage and as a medicinal drink has been enjoyed for dynasties by people of all ages and experience levels. The leaves from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) are not only used to create a soothing warm drink for relaxation, but they have often been credited for their health giving properties and are now being heavily researched and studied. With large amounts of scientific studies being conducted, the health benefits of tea are starting to be understood from a chemical and biological perspective. All of this new research has prompted thousands of new articles and quesitons which can become very confusing for the reader. It can be hard to separate out which tea is good for which condition because headlines often contradict one another.
A very simple yet confusing question that often appears in our shop is “What is the healthiest tea for you?” Here are a few responses to that question:
All good tea is good for you! In our humble opinion, we think the recent scientific studies conducted in the United States and China have shown white tea to have the highest levels of antioxidant, flavonoids (a natural anti-inflammatory property) and vitamins. Still, that does not mean you should always drink white tea or continue to drink white tea if you do not enjoy it. Also, that does not mean that all grades of white tea are better for you than other categories such as green tea, black/red tea, and wu-long tea. For example, if you take green tea leaves grown at a higher elevation from an organic tea garden and compare them to white tea leaves grown at lower elevations using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the green tea is going to generally be the healthier tea for you. Also something to consider is lower quality, low elevation white teas will not have the same quality as high mountain grown teas in general. It often comes down to the growing conditions. It’s important to obtain a strong connection with your tea producer to fully understand their growing conditions to further understand the quality of the tea they produce.
Another thing we like to point out to tea drinkers who are avid about the health benefits of tea is; drink high quality tea that you enjoy! If you do not enjoy the tea you are drinking you are less likely to establish a deeper connection which can lead to more regular consumption. Regular consumption of tea is important because the long term commitment established will help your body learn how to utilize all the components of tea such as the antioxidants, flavonoids,, and vitamins. So yes, we humbly think recent studies in the U.S. and China show white tea is generally the healthiest tea for you, but if you enjoy high quality green, black/red, or wu-long teas you can still get the benefits that come with tea by consuming high quality tea regularly.
With all of this being said, the quality of your tea leaves is important when talking about drinking tea for both taste and health. Overall, teas grown at higher elevation, in richer soil with higher quality water, and without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers will taste better and make you feel better. Oftentimes the best way to tell the quality of a tea is to feel your body’s reaction to it. If the tea makes your throat dry and scratchy or if it upsets your stomach, then you might want to think twice about continuing to drink that tea, your body is trying to give you some signs that the tea is not having a good impact on you. Tea is more than just a healthy beverage, it is a delicious drink that brings harmony in all aspects of life. If you enjoy tea and incorporate other healthy aspects into your life such as eating well, exercising, and getting a good night’s rest, then the medicinal aspect with naturally follow.