Pu-erh Tea has long been valued in Chinese herbalism for its vast benefits. Pu-erh tea (pronounced ‘poo-air’) contains high levels of polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins and theaflavin), which are known for their antioxidant activity. These powerful chemicals speed up fat burning as well as reduce stress and heavy metal consumption due to the cell repair compounds found within. The theanine and flavoids found within pu-erh just so happen to aid in digestion after meals by acting as a sponge and accelerator for fat burning.
However, of the five main types of tea (white, green, oolong and black being the others), pu-erh stands apart from every other one as its tea leaves go through a natural fermentation process before the tea is gently dried. This not only creates a cup with zero astringency and deep, rich body, but this fermentation process also helps produce micro-organisms which are being shown to be particularly beneficial to the human body.
Read on for some of the amazing health benefits of Pu-Erh Tea:
pu-erh tea cup
Reduction in Cholesterol
New studies with pu-erh tea and health benefits have made a startling discovery; the microbial aging of pu-erh tea can result in the production of small amounts of lovastatin, a natural statin. In the synthetic form, lovastin is commonly used to treat high cholesterol. Additional studies have shown that long term use of appropriate amounts of pu-erh teas have the potential to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL levels (the good cholesterol). There have also been some cases where extensive use of pu-erh has resulted in a drop of nearly 100 points in cholesterol levels. Please note, if you have a medical condition such as high cholesterol, please consult with your doctor and follow their treatment guidelines.
In traditional Chinese herbalism, pu-erh tea is considered to open the meridians, ‘warm the middle burner’ (the spleen and stomach) and be beneficial to ‘blood cleansing’ and digestion. Many things that are found in our diet, even healthy foods, contain acids and other free radicals that can build up in the body over time. These deposits then get transferred throughout the body in the blood, making it beneficial to consume pu-erh tea to help cleanse the blood of toxins. The micro-organisms and unique simple sugars that are produced from the pu-erh fermentation process have been shown to attack the toxins in the blood, removing them from the body and creating a healthier you.
Aids in Digestion
The stomach and intestines break down food through a combination of acids and healthy bacteria. The micro-organisms that are present in pu-erh tea have shown to increase the healthy bacterial flora in the stomach and intestines, which may aid in proper digestion of foods. For this reason, it has been found beneficial to consume pu-erh tea after heavy meals to aid in better digestion.
Aids in Weight Loss
Studies have shown that pu-erh tea significantly suppresses fatty acid synthesis (FAS). This means that it can literally block your body from producing more fat. Pretty cool, right? The process of lipogenesis (creation of fat by the liver) is blunted by using this traditional tea. On top of that, the caffeine found in pu-erh triggers your body to secrete the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine which are shown to increase mobilization of stored fatty acids in fat cells. This enables your body to have easier access to use those stored fatty acids as fuel (and not keep it on your belly). Lastly, pu-erh has been clinically proven to enhance cellular levels of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) which effectively blocks visceral fat accumulation. HSL is a critical enzyme that “unlocks” fat cells so that their contents can be emptied out.
Important to note, pu-erh tea is not a fad diet or miracle cure. Using pu-erh to lose weight, like all other traditional methods, requires persistence and determination. You will not notice results in an instant. Instead, you will experience gradual improvement of your energy levels, overall well being and last but not least, gradual weight loss. In one French study, participants recorded weight loss was from five to ten pounds over a two-month period. To achieve best possible results, follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly in addition to your teatox, and drink pu-erh tea about an hour after each meal (or simply after breakfast or lunch) to reduce the amount of fat that is retained and stored from your meal.
Reduces Stress and Helps with Sleep
While pu-erh tea has caffeine, it may seem odd that this tea would assist with sleeping. However despite the caffeine, the key micro-organisms and phyto-chemicals pu-erh tea contains, GABA and theanine, have been shown to reduce stress levels and increase the production of natural melatonin in the brain, resulting in decreased stress, stabilized mood and improved sleep patterns.
Prevention of Illness
Like most teas, Pu-Erh has been shown to contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are natural phyto-chemicals that help the body fight off free radical molecules and prevent diseases. The antioxidants that are found in pu-erh are often in a higher concentration than in most other teas due to the fermentation process that the tea undergoes prior to steeping.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The Big Playas
Who are they?
The biggest, most high-profile of them all. Menghai (Factory #2) is still the undisputed king of ripe pu’erh and the home of the famous 7542, 8582, 7532, 7572, 8592, and 7262 recipes. Dayi is also based in pu’erh hotspot Xishuangbanna. These aspects all help to make Menghai the biggest and one of the most trusted big factory of them all.
Factory #3, but really #2 to Dayi. Like Menghai, Xiaguan is an old factory and has been through China’s ebbs and flows. Xiaguan is especially renowned for their tuos and compressed cakes. Menghai and Xiaguan are responsible for many of the benchmark aged teas from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Menghai and Xiaguan are the only real old players. Kunming Tea Factory could also be considered, but due to the inconsistency and confusion associated with their brand is often overlooked. Mengku, Haiwan, Six Famous Tea Mountains and others are all newcomers spawned since the 1990s. These factories vary in size and some are quite large (but not old). Even though many of these factories were spawned out of old Menghai personnel there are so many contributing factors to the complex operations of a big factory that stop these newcomers from displacing the old, big players. For instance, even Haiwan’s ripe pu’erh (Haiwan was founded by two longtime Menghai employees, including the co-inventor of ripe pu’erh!) can only be considered similar to the Menghai Factory productions, despite trying so hard to replicate the Menghai recipes.
Menghai and Xiaguan