Sunday, September 20, 2009

Loose Teas

Though they may not be magic elixirs, the hard data on the benefit of loose teas—black, green and white--developed and published by medical organizations, research institutes and laboratories, certainly suggests that the consumption of these products may indeed have wide-ranging medical benefits.

In recent years a number of major clinical and laboratory studies in the United States and abroad have shown that tea consumption—especially of loose teas—has significant benefit to the health of prostate glands, bones, skin, teeth and gums, hearts, help block allergic responses, boost metabolisms and aid in weight loss, delay the onset of diabetes and protect against Parkinson’s Disease—the list goes on and on.

University of Arizona researchers found that smokers who drank four cups of green tea daily for four months showed a marked decrease in cell damage caused by smoking. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also reported that seniors in Japan who drank one or more cups of green tea per day were significantly less likely than those who drank less tea to show cognitive and memory problems.

Black tea consumption was shown to provide benefit to teeth and gums in a recent Chicago College of Dentistry study. Subjects who rinsed with black tea multiple times daily were shown to have reduced plaque build-up compared to those who rinsed with water. At the Harvard Medical School a study of 340 people who had suffered from heart attacks found that those who drank at least one cup of black tea per day reduced their chance of repeated heart attacks by 44 percent, when compared to non-tea drinkers. A Boston University study indicated that black tea drinking helps prevent narrowed or clogged arteries that lead to heart disease or stroke.

White teas too have been shown to provide significant health benefits. Made from immature tea leaves and undergoing less processing than black or green teas, white tea contains more polyphenols, than other teas. At Pace University research has shown that white tea extract may help retard the growth of bacteria that cause staphylococcus infections, pneumonia and dental cavities. Researchers say that white tea may actually destroy the disease-causing organisms, while green tea only stimulates the immune system to fight disease.

Scientists also say that compounds in white tea are effective in enhancing skin cells’ immune functions and protecting the skin from harmful effects of the sun. Elma Barton, the Director of the Skin Study Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University reported that “We found the application of white tea extract protects critical elements of the skin's immune system. Similar to the way oxidation causes a car to rust, oxidative stress of the skin causes a breakdown in cellular strength and function. The white tea extract protects against this stress. This study further demonstrates the importance of researching how plant products can actually protect the skin."

The evidence is compelling. From formal studies to anecdotal reports, the facts do more than just suggest that loose black, green and white teas offer significant medical benefits and can offer relief and protection from a host of ailments.

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