It’s called Rooibos (ROY-bos) tea which means Red Bush. It is a South African plant that’s actually part of the legume family. Unlike white, green and black tea that all come from the same plant, and are considered True Tea, rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a shrub with long, needle-shaped leaves that turn red upon fermentation.
The two different versions of rooibos tea, “red rooibos” and “green rooibos,” have two things in common:HEALTH BENEFITS and CAFFEINE-FREE.
Indigenous to the Western Cape of South Africa, Rooibos tea leaves can be quickly dried after picking. The green version of rooibos goes through a difficult production process that preserves the leaves and its antioxidants through oxidation. The green version also has a more “herbal” taste.
Red rooibos is processed in the same manner as most regular teas. Traditionally the native people harvest the leaves, bruise them with hammers, ferment them and dry them. This darkens in the color of the leaves, results in a red, astringent tea with a sweeter enhanced flavor.
The Health benefits of rooibos tea are abundant and it’s totally caffeine-free. It’s delicious, widely available, and super high in antioxidants.
Oh, and kids love it!!
- Iron, manganese, calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C
- Alpha-hydroxyl acid
- NO CAFFEINE
Rooibos is the complete “body protector,” benefiting every single organ in our body. It does not contain colors, additives, or preservatives. The list of benefits for rooibos tea is endless.
The most significant benefit, is the extremely high level of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful substances that fight free radical in the bloodstream, helping your body fight off infection and disease.
- Protection against cancer: With the whopping amount of antioxidants, it’s also anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral. With the alarming rise in cancer statistics each year, many people are looking to find ways to help prevent and protect themselves from mutagens and cancer-causing agents. With the high level of antioxidants, rooibos tea increases the enzymes that detoxify production of carcinogen and suppresses abnormal cells.
- Decrease insomnia and eases irritability: Since there is no caffeine in rooibos tea, drinkers can enjoy a cup before bed or throughout the day to help relax them. It has a relaxing affect on the nervous system, allowing you to be more calm and rested.
- Relieves headaches
- Allergies: In many parts of South Africa, red tea is used as an effective curative to treat allergies like eczema, hay fever and asthma.
- Acts as an anti-spasmodic agent to relieve stomach cramps
- Weight loss: Many people drink rooibos tea throughout the day to help suppress their appetite.
- Stronger bones and teeth: With high levels of manganese and calcium, rooibos tea provides bone health and teeth strong.
- Healthy Heart: Rooibos contains compounds called flavonoids which help regulate blood pressure and enhance stability of capillary arteries. What this means to you is the reduction in cholesterol build-up and blood clots, minimizing your chance of having a heart attack or heart related disease.
- Healthy skin Rooibos also contains alpha hydroxyl acid! As you know, this is an important agent found in many expensive skin products over the counter that promotes healthy skin. Studies show that people who apply it directly to the skin twice a day will minimize acne. It is also helpful in treating eczema.
- Anti-aging. Once again, free radicals are our body’s enemy! They attack our healthy cells, causing rapid process of aging. A Japanese study found that rooibos contains a copycat enzyme called Super Oxide Dismutase (S.O.D.), another antioxidant. S.O.D. attacks these free radicals and limits their damaging effects.
- Improve immune system: With the combination of antioxidants and minerals, drinking this tea daily will strengthen your immune system, while fighting off colds and illnesses.
Oolong is primarily grown and processed in China and Taiwan. The tea has a unique taste that is quite different from either green tea or black tea. Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea, integrating the best qualities of un-oxidized green tea and fully oxidized black tea. The tea leaves will have an oxidation amount of anywhere from 10% up to 70%. It has the richest taste among all kinds of teas. It is as strong and refreshing as black tea and also as clear and fragrant as green tea. The production of oolong requires that the leaves be processed directly after picking. First the leaves are wilted in the sun for a short period of time. They are placed into baskets and shaken, which bruises the leaves. The juices in the leaves are now exposed to the air, which begins the process of oxidation. The leaves are then spread out to dry. After a period of time, less than 2 hours for Chinese oolongs, longer for Taiwanese oolongs, the tea is fired, which stops the fermentation process.
Oolongs are traditionally fired in hot woks and cooked very quickly. After that is done, the leaves may be further fermented, and then fired again. Ultimately we have crisp, dry leaves.
As oolong tea leaves come from the real tea plant, camellia sinensis, oolong tea contains caffeine. The caffeine content of oolong tea is less than black tea but is more than green tea.
The Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Nutritional Value: Tea is nature’s gift that is rich in anti-oxidants. It also contains vital minerals and vitamins such as calcium, manganese, copper, carotin, selenium, and potassium, vitamin A, B, C, E and K. in addition to folic acids, niacin amide and other detoxifying alkaloids. Developed in semi-fermented processing, the oolong tea is rich in numerous polyphenolic compounds, adding value to the health benefits of oolong tea.
Oolong benefits have been known for a long time in China.
- Controls Obesity: The polyphenol compound found in oolong tea is very effective in controlling the fat metabolism of the body. It activates certain enzymes and thus enhances the functions of the fat cells in the human body. Daily consumption of oolong tea can reduce obesity.
- Removal of Harmful Free Radicals: The polyphenolic compound is also responsible for removal of free radicals in our body, thus saving us from potential harm that these free moving cells may pose to the human body.
- Treatment of Skin Disorders: According to scientific experiments, patients diagnosed with eczema disorder can benefit from drinking 3 cups of oolong tea 3 times in a day. The beneficial results of oolong tea could be seen in less than a week with these patients showing remarkable skin improvement. The powerful antioxidants in oolong tea also benefit the skin in several more ways. These compounds help to remove harmful toxins in the body that damage the skin, causing wrinkles, lines, age spots, and slowed exfoliation. Oolong tea may also protect the skin from sun and cigarette smoking damage and reduce the risk of allergic skin reactions such as atopic dermatitis.
- Promoting Good Bone Structure: The antioxidants present in oolong tea protects teeth against decay, strengthens bone structure, and boosts normal healthy growth of the human body.
- Treatment of Diabetes: Oolong tea is used as an herbal brew for treating type 2 diabetic disorders and as an appendage to other supplementary drugs for treating the disease.
- Protection against Cancer: It is well-known fact that tea drinkers have lower risk of acquiring skin cancer .
- Stress Buster: The natural polyphenols in the oolong tea is said to be the main stress buster.
Pu’er tea is a form of black tea, which undergoes a special fermentation process – usually for 30 to 40 days, although sometimes for years, or even decades – which gives it a unique flavor and some potential health benefits not present in other forms of tea. Pu’er originates from the Yunnan province in China and has been prized for its health benefits for over 2,000 years.
Pu’er is known to aid digestion and is perfect after heavy or greasy meals. More recent studies indicate powerful cholesterol lowering effects, blood cleansing properties, and to aid significantly in weight loss efforts. Many published studies have been done showing the enormous health benefits of this wonderful tea.
As the name suggests, green tea leaves are indeed green. There are numerous types of green tea available. These differing types of green tea, while they originate from the same plant, all end up differing in tastes and look due to the way the plant is grown and where the tea plant is located.
Green tea is a “true” tea, in that it comes from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis . Green tea differs from other “true” teas in how it is processed. Green tea is processed by having the leaves steamed or pan fried soon after being harvested from the tea plant. This prevents oxidation, keeping the leaves soft, pliable and green in color.
With all these abundant benefits…it’s a wonder we drink anything else
- Anti-viral and Anti-bacterial. Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.
- Blood Pressure. Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
- Depression. Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.
- Esophageal Cancer. It can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them.
- Digestive Tract Health. The tannins in tea have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and make it a great digestive aid, used in China as such for thousands of years. 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.
- Cholesterol. Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells.
- Tooth Decay. Studies suggests that the chemical antioxidant “catechin” in tea can destroy bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections, dental caries and other dental conditions
- Skincare. Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of ageing. This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.
Today, India, China, and Sri Lanka are the world’s largest producers of black tea. In the production of black tea, the leaves are first spread out on racks and blown with air to remove about a third of their moisture and make them pliable. Then they are rolled around to break their cell walls and release the sugars necessary for fermentation. To promote fermentation they are kept in a highly humid environment, which turns the leaves dark and develops black tea’s strong flavor.
In terms of its rich antioxidant properties, black tea comes next to green tea. The most commonly used and the most popular tea in the West, black tea is originally green tea with the leaves further dried – this changes its color and taste. Black Tea undergoes full oxidation and fermentation. The leaves thus turn black and receive their strong, typical flavor. The oxidation process is stopped once the aroma and flavor develops completely. The leaves are then crushed, sorted out, and stored according to sizes.
Cardiovascular Health 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.
Cancer Prevention 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.
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 theorize it may be an effect of the powerful tea’s phytochemicals.
Brain and Nervous System Unlike high levels of caffeine found in coffee, the low amounts in black tea promote blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart. 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.
Increased Energy 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 coffee or 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.
Oral Health 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.
Immune System 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 tumors. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response.
Though it is often confused as such, white tea is not an herbal tea. Rather, it is one of four main types of “true tea”. The basic difference between a true tea and an herbal tea is actually quite simple: Any tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush is considered a true tea, while any tea that is made from fruits, spices or other plants is considered an herbal tea.
White tea is the least processed of the true teas. Its leaves are picked only in the springtime and before the leaves open. Unlike black and green tea leaves, which are prepared by rolling, white tea leaves are gently steamed and slowly dried. They are less oxidized than black, green and oolong tea, giving the tea its delicate flavor and multiple health benefits.
White Tea Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals go around wreaking havoc on your body, damaging DNA and accelerating aging. Antioxidants scoop them up and neutralize them. White tea is loaded with these protective nutrients.
White tea may have profound power against cancer-causing cells and against many different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea guards against the ravages of stroke.
Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is teeming with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.
By thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. White tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.
Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. White tea may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Antibacterial & Antiviral
White tea is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants so abundant in white tea tone the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders and a wide range of diseases. It helps guard against the common cold and flu.
Healthy Teeth and Gums
White tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. It also kills the bacteria that causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Free radicals from staying out in the sun too long, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.
Pregnant women can drink tea now! The strong and aromatic taste makes it a natural substitute for coffee especially in the time of pregnancy when caffeine intake should avoided. The low tannins in rooibos can cause a lower iron absorption in the blood, associated with cause of anemia. This is good news for pregnant women now that they can enjoy a cup of tea without the worry of caffeine.