Red Tea: A Cup Full of Health Benefits

 By: Marisha Kelly
While teas have been enjoyed for their flavorful varieties, such drinks cultivated from natural spices, herbs, flower petals and fruit oils possess natural health properties. But though the specific health benefits of green tea have been widely publicized and made aware through publication of studies or specific product launches, puerh tea, known simply as red tea, contains equally beneficial health properties.

The unique taste of puerh tea is attributed to its fermentation process and its quality leaves. Grown in the Chinese region named Monastery of Kombucha, the leaves from this red tea are harvested in a pollution-free environment and infused in natural caves for a pure quality that is both rich in color and earthy in taste.

Puerh tea, as with any tea variety, can be bought at a local herbal health shop, or through herbal health stores online like Bio3 Natural Health Products, whose mission is to incorporate healthy products into a healthy lifestyle. A box of 25 puerh tea bags is about five dollars, and the studies alone show that one cup of puerh tea a day could improve your health.

Reports have shown that red tea's natural quality provides a natural dose of powerful antioxidants. Results from a 2004 joint study led by the Department of Food Science and Technology at Chia Nan University of Science showed that antioxidant activity was significant in water droplets infused with puerh tea extracts, and only slightly higher than droplets infused with green tea.

Antioxidants have been known to prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. According to the National Cancer Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, tests in laboratories and research among animals have shown that free radical damage associated with cancer is prevented through antioxidant activity. Though such studies on human beings are inconsistent, antioxidants may neutralize free radicals that would otherwise cause damage to DNA and other molecules.

Another study published in 1997 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that such teas, including puerh tea, contain small molecules called flavonoids that have an anti-allergic property. According to Donald R. Buhler and Dr. Crisotbal Miranda of Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University, more than 4,000 flavonoids have been identified, many of which are found in fruits, vegetables, and beverages like tea, coffee, beer and wine.

Other puerh tea health benefits include its ability to reduce the absorption of fats and facilitate digestive processes. A comparative study published by the American Chemical Society in 1995 showed that body weight was suppressed in rat species that were fed puerh tea leaves. The following results were confirmed in the study's abstract: "Pu-erh tea and oolong tea could lower the levels of triglyceride more significantly than that of green tea and black tea, but pu-erh tea and green tea were more efficient than oolong tea and black tea in lowering the level of total cholesterol."
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