Oolong Tea: What is it, What is it Good For, Tips, & More
Tea is a beverage known worldwide and is enjoyed in several countries and cultures for its soothing and refreshing effect. Many people have tried tea, though they might not have become invested in the culture surrounding it. Most people view tea as a single drink that does not change from cup to cup, but this misconception can cost people access to the benefits of certain blends.
The reality is that dozens of teas are cultivated from different plants or variants of the same plant. As a result, multiple teas are enjoyed by people worldwide for various reasons, with some having profound effects on our health and appearance. Some teas are more effective than others, but some have developed an almost legendary reputation among enthusiasts.
One of the most well-known types of tea is oolong tea, which is traditionally associated with Asia. Most people perceive oolong tea as a simple drink that is no different from an ordinary cup of breakfast tea. Unfortunately, this misconception about oolong tea is not the worst issue people are having with it. The bigger issue is that more and more people do not know what oolong tea is or what it can do to enhance their health.
As shocking as it might sound, oolong tea might be able to revitalize your body and health if consumed properly. The problem is that we need to understand the finer details of oolong tea before taking advantage of it.
What is Oolong Tea?
As mentioned, tea is cultivated by harvesting certain plants and steeping the leaves in hot water. The most common plant for tea production is Camellia sinensis, colloquially known as the tea plant. C. sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub that originated in East Asia. Since then, the plants have been used to produce tea in Chinese and Japanese cultures before expanding westward to the United Kingdom and the United States.
The fascinating thing about C. sinensis is that it is not used to create a single tea but to produce 5 distinct varieties, though it is primarily known for producing green tea. While there are 4 other types of tea produced by C. sinensis, it is also responsible for producing oolong tea, which is most popular in China. Oolong tea (which translates to dark dragon tea) is a semi-oxidized traditional tea. The oxidation of oolong tea varies depending on certain production factors, but oolong remains one of the most popular teas on Earth.
The name's origins are still debated today, with the first example of "oolong" being used to describe tea occurring in 1857. A few explanations are rooted in Chinese folklore, including the "tribute tea" theory, which posits that the name originated from dragon-phoenix tea cake tribute tea before being shortened to dark dragon tea.
Another legend claims that a man named Wu Liang (later changed to Wu Long) discovered the tea by mistake when he was distracted by a deer while picking the leaves. By the time he remembered the leaves he had picked, the sun had oxidized them and converted the leaves to oolong. While the origins of oolong's name are not as important as the tea itself, it remains a fascinating concept.
While oolong is harvested from C. sinensis plants, it is not as simple as cultivating the leaves of any plant you find. Oolong is harvested from C. sinensis plants that are grown in a specific manner in a particular environment. Specifically, the plant must be withered under strong sunlight before the leaves produce oolong tea. The leaves are then curled and twisted to produce a strange-looking cluster that produces tea when mixed with hot water.
The tea varies in flavor; some cups of oolong tea are sweet, while others are woody or complex. The tea's flavor profile depends on how the plant was grown and refined, so there are usually several "brands" of oolong for sale at any given time. For most people, oolong is an exotic beverage suitable as a treat rather than something worth having at all times. However, oolong has certain traits that make it more valuable than you might realize.
What Are the Health Benefits of Oolong?
Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea with a stronger nutritional value than non-oxidized tea. As a result, the oxidized teas generally have a higher health value but must be consumed in moderation to avoid oversaturation. Nevertheless, oolong tea's oxidation gives it a higher concentration of essential nutrients that can reinforce and enhance the body's natural supply.
Oolong's nutritional value is similar to green and black teas; both are harvested from C. sinensis plants. As a result, they share the same nutrients and compounds that make green and black tea so popular amongst health enthusiasts. Some nutrients are more valuable than others, but they all greatly support our health.
Oolong has a large concentration of vitamins and nutrients essential to the human body and enhances our natural functions. A cup of oolong has calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all essential vitamins in human biology. Additionally, oolong tea has a higher caffeine concentration than green tea, with a single cup having an average of 38 milligrams compared to green tea's 29 milligrams. While these nutrients and the caffeine are important to oolong's value, one of the most important factors is its concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful polyphenol that has proven health benefits for us.
The combination of nutrients, vitamins, and caffeine has turned oolong tea into an unexpected resource against common ailments. While drinking a cup of oolong will not replace modern medicine, it can bolster our natural defenses and give the medicine more time to work. One of the most surprising benefits of oolong in this regard is that it can help our bodies combat the effects of diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the leading issues in the United States, with more and more people being diagnosed daily. Typically, diabetes patients are prescribed insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels, which is still required regardless of tea consumption. That said, oolong tea has properties that make it a viable resource against diabetes to manage the symptoms more effectively. Specifically, evidence suggests that oolong tea can enhance the body's natural ability to manage blood sugar levels.
A study from 2021 and a review of several studies from 2019 discovered a connection between oolong consumption and improved blood sugar management. As a result, the subjects in the test groups had a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While the risk was not eliminated, the reduced odds make it less likely for oolong drinkers to contend with the condition. While this is an important component of what makes oolong tea a prominent healthcare resource, it has other benefits that can help people not concerned with diabetes.
The number 1 cause of death in America is heart disease, primarily because we live in a society where our diets have high fat and carbohydrate concentrations. Furthermore, many Americans are adopting an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and are less active than we were over a century ago. As a result, our poor diet and low exercise make it more difficult for our cardiovascular system to function in the face of stress. The biggest cause of cardiovascular distress is high blood pressure, a common sight in many American adults.
Many people drink tea to calm themselves, claiming that it has a calming effect that can reduce stress or other factors that could lead to cardiovascular distress. While tea can be soothing, evidence suggests that oolong has scientifically proven effects on our cardiovascular health. Studies have linked oolong consumption to reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.
In 2003, a large study was conducted where the subjects were divided into test and control groups. The test group members were given a minimum of 6 cups of oolong tea daily throughout the study. It was determined that the subjects in the test group had a significantly lower rate of coronary heart disease than those in the control group and non-tea drinkers. Another study observed 76,000 Japanese adults and found that men who drank 8 ounces of oolong tea daily had a 61% lower chance of heart disease than those who did not drink oolong.
Oolong tea is an extremely potent beverage with several health benefits beyond cardiovascular and diabetic issues. That said, it has characteristics that can address cosmetic issues similarly to how it addresses health concerns. This has reinforced the popularity of oolong in the hearts of many, but you might be curious to know what kinds of cosmetic issues oolong can resolve.
What Are the Cosmetic Benefits of Oolong?
While maintaining our physical health should always be the priority, there is a societal expectation for us to maintain our appearances. An unhealthy obsession with our appearance in today's society has caused many people to make sacrifices for their looks. The cosmetics industry has seen a surge in business worldwide because most people want to look their best.
Unfortunately, most commercial cosmetics are fairly harsh due to their chemical ingredients, designed to hide blemishes that are otherwise difficult to remove. Fortunately, there are natural tools that can help reduce certain cosmetic issues that affect the skin. Among the products that can promote skin health and appearance is oolong tea (along with other teas harvested from C. sinensis). Therefore, adding oolong to your skincare routine can help you address certain chronic skin issues that might have affected you.
One of the main issues people face is eczema, a highly unpleasant skin condition that affects the skin's texture. Eczema, scientifically called atopic dermatitis, causes the skin to swell, dry, and itch. This makes it extremely difficult to feel comfortable in our own skin since we have the urge to scratch the inflamed skin even though we are not supposed to.
Typically, we apply topical creams to skin affected by eczema, but oolong can help restore our skin to its natural state. While we need additional studies to confirm oolong's anti-eczema characteristics, there has been a study that assessed oolong's effects on eczema. In 2001, a study assessed 118 individuals suffering from extreme eczema. The subjects were divided into test and control groups:
- Test Group: The test group was given 33 ounces of oolong tea daily.
- Control Group: The control group was given a placebo.
The study continued for a month before the first wave of results was recorded for the study and discovered the oolong's effects. The study noted that the test group had a marked to moderate improvement within the first 2 weeks. This demonstrated the power oolong has to relieve eczema symptoms within a short timeframe. Furthermore, the improvement persisted and was observable in 54% of the subjects 5 months after the study concluded. Therefore, oolong can provide rapid, sustainable improvement for eczema.
Oolong might have a higher significance in China, but the benefits of oolong have seen it surge in popularity in Western countries. The problem is that finding a quality oolong blend can be challenging. Fortunately, some vendors can offer quality oolong blends without much concern.
Finding the Right Blend
Oolong tea is one of the world's most famous types of tea, primarily due to its cultural significance in China. However, oolong has a greater significance for people trying to improve their health and appearance since the nutrients in C. sinensis plants are renowned for their effects on human biology. Adding oolong to your diet can make protecting yourself from certain illnesses easier and counteract the damage caused by specific skin conditions. The trick is finding a reliable vendor to provide a quality oolong blend. Fortunately, some vendors can provide consistent service and products.
We at Teami have a longstanding relationship with teas of all kinds, including oolong. Taking advantage of oolong's benefits requires a quality blend, so we offer our Energy Tea Blend to offer the full range of nutrients in oolong tea. We encourage you to visit our website and assess our products personally. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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