Which Tea is Best?
Tea is a popular drink, and it has many health benefits. However, when you stand in the tea section of the supermarket, you can see a wide variety of choices. What makes them different?
True tea is from a bush that originated in China. There are several different types, depending on processing and when it is picked.
White Tea: This tea is harvested while the leaf buds are still immature. They have fine, silky hairs, unlike the other types of tea. It’s also the least processed, so it contains more nutrients.
Green Tea: The leaves are quickly dried upon harvesting to prevent oxidation. There may be many health benefits for green tea, including reducing the chance of developing hardening of the arteries, lowering cholesterol and perhaps even preventing some types of cancer.
Black Tea: Oxidation of the leaves is allowed when processing black tea, it is what gives it the full bodied flavor. It, too, has many health benefits. Like green tea, it may help lower cholesterol, reduce the likelihood of atherosclerosis, and prevent some types of cancer. It may also help decrease the dizziness some people feel when they first stand up.
Oolong Tea: The benefits are the same, though the taste is not. This is somewhere between green and black, so the leaves are partially oxidized.
Pu-erh Tea: Many people in the West are unfamiliar with this product. The tea leaves are allowed to develop a mold on the leaves. It probably doesn’t have the same health benefits of the other types.
A lot of people call herbal infusions “herbal tea.” It has become an acceptable term, though it is actually a misnomer. There are dozens of different combinations, each offering different benefits. That’s the good news. When selecting them, I do recommend some caution. Some herbs do interact with medications, and they are just as likely to have side effects as medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the tea you select will cause problems if you do take prescription medicines.