What is Pu-erh?
Pu-erh (pronounced poo-air) is an aged, fermented tea that comes from the Yunnan province in China. Pu-erh tea is unique because it’s made from a natural fermentation process. This process oxidizes the plant’s leaves, amplifying its benefits. It also contributes to the tea’s distinct flavor and aroma.
Although pu-erh has a robust, earthy base, its profile will develop over time. Unlike other teas, which get stale over time, pu-erh can mellow and improve with age like fine wine.
These teas are highly valued in China where the processing methods have been a well-guarded secret for centuries. Pu-erh’s distinct flavor comes from the fact that after the leaves are picked, they are made into a sundried base tea called maocha and then fermented.
Because it is fully oxidized, pu-erh has a lower antioxidant content than white or green tea, but the Chinese credit it with many health benefits and consider it more of a medicine than a casual cup 'o tea.
Studies have also shown pu-erh tea can be a healthier alternative to coffee and may do a better job of waking you up and keeping you alert without the caffeine crash.
Pu-erh tea is more rare and involves a longer process on top of it's many health benefits, making it a bit more pricey than other teas as well.
Buckle your safety belts, it's a seriously long list!
Pu-erh tea contains antioxidants, which can help prevent damage caused by free radicals. If left unchecked, free radicals can lead to disease and illness. Drink a cup of pu-erh any time you need a little boost.
Its antibacterial properties can help protect your body from harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. You can also use it topically to help treat mild bacteria-driven conditions like acne.
The tea’s anti-inflammatory properties may help ease redness, swelling, and other irritation. They may also soothe pain caused by inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.
You can apply the tea topically to treat inflamed skin, or drink a cup or two to help heal your body from the inside out.
Pu-erh may even help protect the skin from photoaging, or signs of aging caused by sun damage. For many, drinking a few cups of pu-erh tea has become part of a skin care routine that already includes exfoliants, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
You can also use pu-erh tea to make a facial toner or spray. Be sure to store it in your refrigerator, and spritz it on as desired.
Pu-erh tea can help break down and eliminate bodily toxins. This includes toxins known to contribute to weight gain. You can drink pu-erh whenever you want to have a cleansing effect on your body.
A cup of pu-erh tea may be exactly what you need to enhance digestion and soothe stomach ailments. It’s been shown to help balance the bacteria in your stomach and intestines and help the body digest heavy meals.
Pu-erh tea can help reduce stress by regulating and protecting the nervous system. The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) found in pu-erh has also been shown to reduce anxiety levels, so sit back, relax, and sip away your stress.
Although the tea contains caffeine, it may actually help improve your sleep quality. Given its effects on anxiety, it’s thought that pu-erh can help quiet the mind so that you can drift away peacefully. Pu-erh is also said to promote melatonin production, which can help regulate your sleep.
Not only can pu-erh help lower your cholesterol levels, its protective benefits may also help improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Having pu-erh tea on a regular basis may help relieve symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
It’s been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce obesity, and boost immunity. Plus, it lowers cholesterol and prevents free radical damage. In other words, it helps tackle all five of the syndrome’s factors. If metabolic syndrome runs in your family, drinking pu-erh may help you reduce your risk.
Managing your blood sugar is especially important if you already have or want to prevent diabetes. Drinking pu-erh can help to lower blood sugar levels after meals, which is when your glucose levels are likely to rise. Regular consumption of pu-erh tea can normalize the blood sugar levels, insulin, and lipid levels in the body.
This can help in preventing as well as treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes. If you are exposed to risks of having diabetes or if you are very fond of eating high glucose foods and beverages, drinking pu-erh tea can help balance out your blood’s sugar levels to thwart off diabetes. If you have diabetes already, intake of this tea daily can alleviate your condition.
Adding pu-erh tea to your diet program will yield faster and more effective weight loss results.
For best results, consume pu-erh tea about an hour after eating a meal.
Studies have shown that pu-erh tea significantly suppresses fatty acid synthesis (FAS), literally blocking your body from producing more fat. The process of lipogenesis (creation of fat by the liver) . 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.
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.
Pu-erh’s positive effect on oxidative stress and inflammation may also benefit your overall bone health. This could help lower your risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Its antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering effects may also have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. This could help reduce your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders
Research shows that Pu-erh tea is almost as effective as bisacodyl which is used for producing the bowel movement.
Lovastatin levels were found in good quantity in ripe Pu-erh tea, in a study done in 2013. Another research reveals that Lovastatin provides much relief in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).
In old age, the human body is at high risk of developing the brain disorders. For example, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia cause the problems with the activities of the body linked to the brain. It is a life-threatening situation when these disorders start affecting the functions of heart as well as impair the way you talk, move and function. Most of these conditions don’t come up with a cure, but the process can be slowed down by the treatment options and provide relief in the pain by making the state of the patient better.
Some research suggests that the health benefits of pu-erh tea extend to preventing cancer.
Studies proved that consuming this type of tea on a regular basis can effectively combat free radical formation. Free radicals are what cause damage to the cells that lead to cancer. These free radicals damage the cells’ DNA and stop their ability to repair themselves. Pu-erh tea’s antioxidants discourage the accumulation of free radicals.
Pu-erh tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumor cells, but more research is needed before your doctor starts recommended tea as a first-line treatment. For now, talk with your doctor about whether this is something you can add to your treatment or prevention plan.
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on March 28, 2018 — Article by Emily Cronkleton for www.healthline.com
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