All you need to know about black tea, what it is, where it comes from and its many health benefits.
Black tea is a type of beverage that is made from the fully fermented leaves of a small tree; camella sinesis.
Generally, there are four types of teas that come from this plant namely: black tea, oolong tea, white tea and green tea. Black tea is more oxidized than any of the other three types.
Different Names For Black Tea
It is known by different terms all over the world. For instance in China and the neighboring countries, it is widely known as the ‘red tea’ in the native dialectics (hongcha or kocha). This is due to the color that is formed after mixing black tea with plain water. In the East African countries such as Kenya, black tea is widely known as “Chai.” This is perhaps to reflect on the refreshing benefits that come with consuming black tea.
Over time black tea benefits have gained a wide reputation due to its medicinal properties. This type of tea contains small levels of caffeine as compared to coffee. Due to this it facilitates a proper blood flow to the brain without straining the heart. At the same time it boosts one’s concentration and ability to focus. In general black tea is one of the popular home remedies for the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular Health: According to a study featured in the February 2009 Journal of Hypertension, black tea is one of the best home remedies for hypertension and heart complications. Research has so far shown that drinking black tea over a long duration of time helps reduce the arterial stiffness therefore lowering the probability of blood pressure.
- Stress: A research study conducted by the University College of London has stated that taking a cup of black tea on a daily basis can help reduce daily stress. Black tea has a unique natural effect on the body stress hormones.
- Anti-oxidant: As compared to fruits and vegetables black tea has ten times more antioxidants. It is rich in polyphenols (an anti-oxidant that helps destroy harmful free radicals in our bodies). Black tea helps reduce cell damage.
- Gastrointestinal: Black tea contains tannins. Tannins are an essential ingredient in reducing incidences of diarrhea and maintaining the general health of the digestive tract. One of the popular black tea intake methods as an herbal remedy for diarrhea is by steeping it for fifteen minutes without any additional sweeteners.
- Hair: If you want to darken your hair, then rinsing it with black tea is a very good way. For this, you will need to make two cups of black tea then use it to rinse your dampened shampoo hair. This also helps boost the rate of hair growth and reduce incidences of hair fall.
- Skin: Black tea is also known to contain wonderful astringent benefits. By splashing some warm black tea onto your face you will be able to obtain fantastic results. Moreover black tea helps get rid of body and face acne.
Black tea has a high safety factor and side effects are rare. Its side effects mainly resemble those of coffee, they mainly include: gastritis, heartburn, anxiety, insomnia and heart arrhythmias. It is also advisable to avoid taking black tea during pregnancy as it contains the potential of endangering the well-being of an underdeveloped fetus.
Tea derives distinct characteristics from the regions where it is grown. The three major world tea producers are China, India and Sri Lanka. Let us see the difference with each type of tea.
- Chinese Tea: There are different subtypes of Chinese tea. Lapsang is the most common variety (grown around Mt. Wuyi). It contains a smoky flavor which is very strong as compared to the others. Keemun is another subtype of Chinese tea (mainly produced in Anhui Province). It has a fruity aroma with hints of floweriness and pine.
- Indian Tea: This tea also comes under different natural variants namely, the Assam tea (grown on the Indian plains) and the Darjeeing tea (grown in Darjeeing district).
- Sri-Lankan Black tea: Sri-Lankan tea is also known as the Ceylon tea. Ceylon tea is widely renowned for its strong crisp citrus tones.
- Kenyan Black Tea: Kenyan tea closely resembles the Assam tea produced in India. It has a strong effect and therefore it is used to blend the other categories of teas.
If you want to gain the most out of black tea it is advisable to take it without milk. Research shows that milk reduces black tea’s anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and vasodilating effects. It is also prudent to consume black tea in moderation so as to avoid any adverse effects.