Puerh (Pu-erh) Tea Health Benefits
Puerh (Pu-erh) throughout its history has been associated with important health benefits. New studies point to evidence that these healing properties have a scientific basis. While all tea is healthy to drink, Puerh tea contains high levels of polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins and theaflavin), which are known for their antioxidant activity.
Consumption of tea is being studied for its reported benefits on:
It is suspected that the polyphenol content is chiefly responsible for the chemoprotective, antiproiferative, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of Puerh tea. The caffine content is predominantly responsible for central nervous system activity and an interaction between both appears necessary for increasing thermogenesis.
The composition of tea varies according to the growing and harvesting methods, but the most abundant components are polyphenols, which are predominantly flavonoids (e.g. catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate, proanthocyanidins). Caffeine content in tea varies but is estimated at about 3%, along with very small amounts of other constituents, such as tannin, diphenylamine, oxalic acid, trace elements and vitamins.
Epigallocatechin gallate is one of the most abundant polyphenols in tea and is regarded as the most significant pharmacologically active component.
Comparing with all other species of tea considered small-leaf tea found throughout India, Japan, and the rest of China, Yunnan Puerh tea has higher polyphenol by 5-7% than the average value, catechin by 30-60% higher than the average value, and water-soluble substances by 3-5% higher than the average value.
Clinical Note – The difference between teas.
Black, green, oolong and Puerh tea are produced from the same plant Camellia sinensis but differ in the polyphenol content according to the way the leaves are processed. Black tea is made from oxidised leaves, whereas some Puerh tea and oolong tea is made from partially oxidised leaves and green tea leaves are not oxidised at all. Some green Puerh leaves are not oxidised at all in the processing but oxidise very slowly with age. Because the oxidising process converts many polyphenolic compounds into others with less activity, green Puerh is considered to have the strongest therapeutic effects and the highest polyphenol content after ordinary green tea. Caffine concentrations also vary between the different teas; black tea > oolong> Puerh>green tea> fresh tea leaf. Variation in caffine content is further influenced by growing conditions, manufacturing processes and size of the tea leaves (Astill et al 2001). The highest quality leaves are the first spring leaf buds, called the 'first flush'. The next set of leaf buds produced are called 'second flush' and considered to be poorer quality.
Weight Loss Dr Tran and his team found evidence of other properties just as remarkable, such as weight loss and noticeable reduction of size for 299 people out of 350: 85% of the cases. The table below shows the weight loss achieved by a cross-section of those involved in the study. In all cases, normal diets were maintained with the addition of a daily intake of Yunnan Puerh tea.
Cholesterol Reduction and weight loss,
Puerh tea has long been known for its medicinal properties and can be highly effective in reducing cholesterol levels in patients suffering from hypertension and coronary heart disease.
In tests conducted at Kunming University on 86 people over a 2 month period, daily servings of Puerh tea produced results very similar to the most common pharmaceutical drug used for lowering blood cholesterol. The findings are interesting in light of American research which shows that every 1% drop in blood cholesterol level produces a 2% reduction in the risk of a fatal heart attack. This study verified earlier findings by Professor Bernard Jacotot of Henri-Mondor Hospital in Creteil, France, who treated 20 patients with high blood lipid levels by serving them 3 times a day with Puerh tea. Jacotot reported a significant 22% drop in blood fat levels among the patients, while a control group served with a different tea showed no change at all.
Note : The medicinal claims provided in horseroadtea.com do not constitute a representation of any express expert opinion by us but are obtained solely from the findings of researchers and institutions.
In the Chinese study, conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine at Kunming Medical College in Yunnan province, 55 patients with abnormally high blood lipid levels were treated with a daily dosage of 15 grams of Yunnan Puerh tea divided into 3 daily servings. Another 31 patients received the standard cholesterol-reducing western drug, Atromid-S Clofibrate Ethyl P-Cholorophenoxy-Isobutyrate, or PCIB, again in 3 daily doses of 1/2 gram each, patients ranged in age from 28 to 72 and all were in the hospital for hypertension or coronary heart disease.
At the end of the two month treatment period, the tea drinking group showed an effective 64.29% reduction in blood serum cholesterol, compared to a 66.67% reduction for those using PCIB, the tea was effective in 92.86% of cases, compared with 100% for the PCIB. These studies clearly demonstrated that drinking Puerh tea regularly lowers blood lipid levels without the side effects of medical drugs.
In 1987, St Antony Medical College of France engaged in observation tests on the medicinal effects of Yunnan Puerh tea. The result turned to be highly encouraging. In the same year, Professor Benelle Jacktor of Henrietee Hospital in Paris of France applied Yunnan Puerh tea to 20 patients with high blood lipid level three times a day. After one month, he discovered the blood lipid level of his patients reduced by a quarter, yet patients taking the same amount of other tea had no change.
A few years later, following a trip to the Yunnan province in China in 1990, Dr Tran Dai-Sy from the French ARMA Medical Research Association coordinated further research conducted in four European countries by a team of 16 doctors, of whom ten were acupuncturists, five obesity specialists and one a psychiatrist.
the study focused on a group of 350 people with average cholesterol levels of 3.5 g/l and triglyceride levels of 2.0 g/l.
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Test results clearly show the beneficial effect of Puerh tea in reducing blood cholesterol levels across the age-group studied.
Recent research in the USA has indicated that properties found in Yunnan Puerh tea may be protecting the heart. "The results were more dramatic than I anticipated," said Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, who led the study, which was published in May 2002 in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation.
The heavy tea drinkers in the study - those who drank two or more cups of tea a day - had a 44 percent lower death rate following their heart attack, compared with non-drinkers. The study found even a benefit in moderate tea drinkers. Those who drank fewer than 14 cups a week had a 28 percent lower death rate.
In the study, researchers asked 1,900 heart attack survivors about their tea consumption before their heart problem and followed them for up to four years. Researchers said there's good reason to believe it's the flavonoids - antioxidants found naturally in various foods derived from plants - that are protecting the heart by relaxing the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily. There's also evidence to suggest flavonoids may prevent LDL cholesterol -- the so-called bad cholesterol -- from becoming really bad cholesterol. The study did not ask patients about decaffeinated tea use, but Mukamal said there's no reason to believe caffeine makes a difference in the benefit. However, herbal teas would not provide the same benefits since the chemical makeup is different than that found in black and green tea.
"Ultimately I hope this work will spur on more research so we can find out the exact effect of tea on the heart," Mukamal said, "so one day we could give a tea prescription, along with aspirin and other medications following a heart attack. It seems there are no downsides to drinking tea."
Further Conclusions - Weight Loss
Dr Tran and his team found evidence of other properties just as remarkable, such as weight loss and noticeable reduction of size for 299 people out of 350: 85% of the cases. The table below shows the weight loss achieved by a cross-section of those involved in the study. In all cases, normal diets were maintained with the addition of a daily intake of Yunnan Puerh tea.