Thursday, April 15, 2010

White Tea - Little Known Health Benefits

By Doris Temple

White tea comes from the camellia senensis plant. This is the same plant used for green tea, oolong and black tea. The health benefits can be attributed in a large part to harvesting and production methods. The difference between the four teas is in production and harvesting. This tea is the least processed. It does not undergo the process of fermentation.

Harvesting occurs early in the season to obtain the buds. The highest quality and as a result, the most expensive tea would contain buds and have no stems or leaves. It is this distinction that gives us the varying price ranges on our store shelves. By using only buds or the young leaves, it is reported that this variety has the least amount of caffeine.

White tea is high in antioxidants, as is green tea. Antioxidants fight free radicals. And free radicals circulate the blood stream and cause cell damage. Repeated cell damage can lead to illness. The tea also aids in detoxifying the body. An effect that could be aided by the antioxidant actions.

Numerous studies have been done. These studies indicate white tea health benefits include anti carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and insulin-enhancing effects. According to a 2002 Maryland study, the insulin-enhancing benefits are reduced up to 90% when you add milk to the drink. So drink it plain for this benefit.

The anti-inflammatory effects are demonstrated by the 2008 study published in Parasitol Int. where it was found: "tea to be more efficacious than dexamethasone an established anti-inflammatory drug". This is a key finding that could benefit those who suffer with arthritis or other inflammatory disorders.

Another study found that regular consumption of tea might improve mineral bone density in older women. (Source: Mayo Clinic (2008, April 6). Drinking Tea May Offer Health Benefits, But Evidence Still Limited. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 13, 2008, from

And then there is early laboratory research showing white to be particularly effective against colon cancer.

Add the white variety of tea to a healthy diet to get the full health benefits. A healthy diet provides the nutrients that the body can use in conjunction with the tea ingredients. Sorry, none of the research used extracts of the tea, like you would get in a supplement. So, enjoy a cup of tea today!

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