Tea has been celebrated for its restorative qualities for thousands of years. The myth of tea’s origin dates back to 2700 BC when the Divine God of Agriculture, Shen Nong (神農), was said to have discovered tea while resting under a Camelia Sinensis tree. When a stray leaf fell into his cup of boiling water, he tried the new infusion and immediately felt energized and well.
Tea was solely viewed as a healing and medicinal elixir until the 6th century in China, when it evolved to become a recreational beverage as well. Since then, humans have enjoyed the bountiful benefits of drinking tea -- whether it be physical health benefits or those reaped by the mind and soul.
Benefits of Tea in Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient wellness practice that believes that health is a result of the body operating in harmony with the energy of nature. In this realm of study, tea is viewed as a stimulant for mental clarity, a balancer of emotions, and an invigorator of energy. Additionally, different types of tea can have beneficial warming or cooling effects on the body. For cooling teas, try the Oriental Green. A warming choice would be a roasted tea, such as Iron Goddess Vintage ’13 Archetype.
Read more about the specific properties of different teas according to TCM here.
Benefits of Tea in Western Medicine
Through the lens of Western medicine, there is also strong case for adding tea to your diet as health research on tea, while still in its infancy, has shown promising trends. A few benefits that have been related to tea consumption include lower risk of liver disease, certain cancers, depression, and stroke, as well as lower risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.
The benefits of tea are generally associated with the high concentration of polyphenols, a natural organic chemical compound found in plants. Some benefits of consuming these antioxidants include increased protection against diseases and conditions such as heart issues, eye problems, low immunity, cancer, premature aging of the skin, and more.
For antioxidants, we recommend our Green Sanctuary White and Oriental Beauty Grand. Read more about the benefits of these teas here.
Caffeine is a crystalline compound found in tea and coffee plants that acts as a stimulant of the central nervous system. Tea contains about 30-60mg of caffeine per cup (roughly 1/3 that of coffee), and contains natural compounds that mitigate some of the classic side effects of caffeine intake, such as jitteriness or headaches.
We recommend Crimson Grace, an iconic black tea from our collection, for stimulation and focus.
For those who are looking for a caffeine-free option, Indu is our herbal blend of ginger, marjoram, and cardamom. The spices still lend an invigorating quality to the infusion, while the earthy notes are grounding and warm. Additionally, Wild Chrysanthemum is a pleasantly sweet herbal tea for those seeking another caffeine-free choice.
Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular Health
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body stops responding to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar by moving sugar into the cells to be used as energy. High blood sugar is associated with adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular risk. Tea has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
For those seeking glucose control and cardiovascular benefits, we recommend the Oriental Green. Green tea has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and is associated with lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, EGCG, a polyphenol found in high concentrations in green tea, can help reduce buildup of plaque in arteries. Avoid drinking green tea on an empty stomach, as it may cause some digestive discomfort in those with sensitive systems.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a chemical messenger in the brain that promotes sleep and lowers anxiety and stress levels. Tea naturally contains GABA, and in an effort to concentrate GABA amounts, researchers have developed oxygen-free oxidation methods that encourage greater accumulation of GABA in the leaf. GABA intake helps improve mood, promotes quality sleep, and relieves anxiety and hyperactivity. We find GABA teas, such as our Green Sanctuary GABA, to be excellent for moments of meditation and reflection.
Oolong teas on Digestion, Metabolism and Weight loss
The partial oxidation of oolong tea helps create and maintain unique polyphenol compounds called theaflavins and thearubigins, which promote fat burning and lower inflammation. The increased rate of fat oxidation in oolong tea drinkers has been found to induce a healthy rate of weight loss when partnered with an active lifestyle and balanced diet. The caffeine content of tea also adds a diuretic effect which aids the kidneys in removing excess water from the body — perfect for ridding the body of puffiness and extra water weight.
The polyphenols in oolong tea can also positively influence the gut microbiome by acting as a prebiotic. Our Oriental Beauty is a classic Taiwanese oolong tea that can be a supplement to your healthy lifestyle.
Teeth and Skin
The antioxidant activity in tea helps provide relief from inflammatory skin problems, such itchiness and redness from eczema. Notably, oolong tea also combats against free radical damage on the skin caused by excessive sun exposure and oxidative stress. Research has shown that consuming oolong tea can cause a 50% reduction in harmful free radicals as soon as two weeks after regular consumption.
Tea also naturally absorbs fluoride from the soil in which it grows, which prevents dental cavities and supports oral health.