Tea is without a doubt one of the most popular herbs in the history of humankind. From early Chinese emporers, to the industrial revolution, all the way to the modern day world, tea has been a staple in the household, and enjoyed on a deep level by the countless men and women who enjoy it.
The leaves of the tea plant contain caffeine, as well as a slurry of other chemicals that work together to produce both its complex flavour profile, and its medicinal attributes.
Although all tea comes from the same plant, the way we process it can significantly change the chemical profile of the leaves, and thus the flavour and medicinal actions.
- Congestive heart failure
- Cardiac arrythmia
- Parkinson's disease
- To aid concentration and focus
- As an antioxidant
- Viral infection
- Bacterial infection
- Dental carries
- Athletic performance enhancement (mild)
- Caution when taking medications as the tannins may reduce absorption of certain drug classes.
- CNS Stimulant
- ACE inhibitor (mild)
Tea is mainly used as a low-dose, long term preventative rather than an actual medicinal treatment. Since tea should be brewed at lower temperatures, and for a short amount of time (if taste is the main desired outcome), the medicinal components in the brew are not in high supply. Therefore a gradual, long term dosing is necessary for any effect to take place.
The long term effects of tea mainly involve the prevention of age-related cardiovascular or neurological disease, as well as diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
In higher doses the plant will be very bitter and high in the astringent, yet potent medicinal phytochemicals known as catechins, which have a wide range of effects. This form of tea is not pleasant to taste in any way, but is useful as a medicine for both chronic and acute conditions.
Other uses of tea involve the concentrated extraction of L-Theanine from the shade grown species. This amino acid isomer has had a lot of research done recently to investigate the wide range of cognitive enhancing, cancer-fighting, and cardiovascular toning capacity, where it has seen a lot of promise.
400-500 mg EGCG equivalent/day
Therapeutic Tea Dosage
Note: The therapeutic dose of tea is very different from a normal cup of brewed tea. Many of the medicinal components of tea have poor solubility in water, and a bitter taste. Short brewed teas tend to have a better flavour, but lack most of the medicinal components. Long steeps in very hot water, or whole herb extracts will provide the most medicinal benefit.
For advice on brewing tea for the best flavour, visit our guide to tea.
Leaves, unopened buds, stems
The tea plant originates from Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, and China. It is widely cultivated and can grow as high as 2000 m above sea level. Each region where it is cultivated tends to have its own cultivar.
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Constituents of Interest
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Puerh Tea
- Yellow Tea
- Red Tea
The Theaceae family contains about 7 or 40 genera (depending on what method of circumscription is used. The family mainly consists of trees, which includes the Camellia genus.
There are numerous cultivars of Camellia sinensis.
Level Of Research:
Clinical Applications Of Tea:
Tea is only used clinically in high doses and concentrations, not in the form commonly consumed as a leaisure beverage. The catechin content is potently antioxidant and can be used for a wide range of conditions involving this mechanism.
Additionally, the L-Theanine content of tea, especially shade grown species taken in high doses such as a liquid extract or matcha green tea, is useful for treating neurological conditions, improving cognitive performance, and treating cardiovascular disease of different kinds.
Caution advised for those sensitive to caffeine.
The catechin content of tea may bind to and inhibit the availability of other drugs.
Tea For Taste:
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For a list of references, visit the full tea monograph.