Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Amazing Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea is one of the most popular types of tea in China. There are many health benefits of oolong tea and some even consider it to be more beneficial than the very popular green tea. Also known as wu long or brown tea, the tea is quite popular in both Japan and China.

The name "oolong tea" comes from the Chinese word meaning "black dragon tea". There are different theories about the origin of the Chinese oolong tea. One theory says that the tea originated from the Dragon-Phoenix Tea Cake tribute tea and was named Black Dragon tea later on since it was dark, long, and curly. 

Some people believe that it originated in the 16th century at Mt. Wu Yi Shan in the Fujianprovince of China. There are others who believe that it was accidentally discovered by someone named Wu Liang. The story goes that Wu Liang was picking tea leaves when he got distracted. The tea leaves began to be oxidized and this is how oolong tea originated.

Indeed, it is true that oolong tea does go through some amount of oxidation during its processing. The degree of fermentation can vary depending on the variety of the oolong tea. It is this unique process that gives oolong tea its unique taste and health benefits.


Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a rich source of compounds called polyphenols which seems to be reason for its health benefits and unique taste. Oolong tea seems to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. An increase in the number of free radicals can lead to various diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes. It can also lead to wrinkles and age spots.

Here are some of the oolong tea health benefits that you can expect due to its antioxidant effects. 

Beneficial for diabetics

Continuous intake of oolong tea for more than a month may reduce the blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Good for the heart

Regular consumption of oolong tea may reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is again due to the antioxidant effects of this healthy Chinese tea. It may also keep your cholesterol under check. This means a reduced chance of developing heart disease, strokes, and hypertension.

Wonderful Benefits for the Skin

Oolong tea may help delay the formation of wrinkles and dark spots. Free radicals are believed to hasten the signs of aging on your skin. The antioxidant effects of oolong tea may neutralize these wrinkle-causing free radicals and make you look younger.

Good for the Kidneys and the Spleen

It is believed in Chinese herbal medicine that a weak spleen and weak kidney energy is responsible for many diseases. The Chinese believe that one of the health benefits of oolong tea is in improving spleen and kidney energy. So, regular consumption of the tea may improve your overall health.

Oolong tea and weight loss

One of the reasons why oolong tea is becoming increasingly popular is its effect on obesity. More research is needed to find out about how this tea does indeed promote weight loss. However, it may stem from the caffeine content of the Chinese oolong tea. It also contains theophylline and theobromine, chemicals which work just like caffeine. The tea may also enhance metabolism which can help in burning fat.

Other health benefits of oolong tea

Oolong tea may be beneficial in fighting against tooth decay. It is also believed to be effective against atopic dermatitis, a skin condition. Its antioxidant properties can work in reducing the risk of various cancers and bladder infections. The fumes of the tea may help in cleansing the lungs.

How to Make Oolong Tea - The Traditional Way

The ceremonial way of brewing oolong tea is called the gongfucha. It is commonly used in China and Taiwan and uses a traditional small vessel called a gaiwan or Yixing clay teapot. The water is ideally kept just below boiling point. Multiple short steeps of 20 seconds to 3 minutes are done before the oolong tea is served in a traditional cup. The first steep is usually used for rinsing the tea leaves and is not meant for drinking.

How to Make Oolong Tea - The Simple Way

If you just want to do it the modern way, just brew about 2 teaspoons of oolong tea in a cup of boiled water. Brew for about 1-10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea to be, and pour it in a cup and enjoy!

Don't throw away the tea leaves. Unlike other tea leaves, you can use your oolong leaves 3-5 times. In fact, the third or fourth steeping of the tea is considered to offer the best taste.

The Different Varieties of Oolong Tea

While there are many health benefits of oolong tea, there are several different varieties of this Chinese tea as well. Lishan oolong, Dong Ding oolong, Ti Kuan Yin, Darjeeling oolong, and Oriental Beauty are only some varieties of oolong tea. Just try the different varieties and experiment yourself to find out which ones you like best.

Get Ready to Enjoy Your Cup of Oolong Tea!

So, ready to reap the many health benefits of oolong tea? Then go on and try it out. Just don't overdo it because like your usual tea and coffee, this one also contains caffeine. Too much of it may just lead to nervousness, anxiety, and fidgetiness.

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© Copyright Roohi Khan, 2014. All rights reserved.

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