What does tea contain?
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, but have you ever wondered what’s in herbal tea?
True tea, and some herbal teas, are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which contains chemical compounds known as flavonoids.
Flavonoids are antioxidants that have several health benefits.
Because of this, tea drinkers tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, as well as a lower risk of developing conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Tea originates from China where it was used as a medicinal drink in ancient times.
Today, people across the globe drink tea because they love it, but herbal teas are also consumed for their health benefits.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that tea may protect against cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
The most popular types of teas you can choose from include green, oolong, and black teas.
Green tea is unfermented and contains the highest concentration of polyphenols while black tea is fully fermented, resulting in fewer polyphenols.
Oolong tea is partially fermented and contains moderate amounts of polyphenols.
In this article, we look at the health benefits of different types of tea – from white tea to oolong and everything in between.
Does Tea Contain Caffeine?
Tea is more than just a beverage.
It has a very long history and has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia.
Tea contains many bioactive compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and caffeine.
The two most popular types of herbal teas are black tea and green tea. There are also white tea and oolong tea, and all four come from the same plant species (Camellia sinensis).
Many people drink herbal teas as a substitute for coffee or caffeinated tea.
Tea contains caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system, heart, and brain.
A cup of black tea has approximately half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.
The exact amount depends on the type of tea, how it was brewed and whether or not it was decaffeinated.
On average, you can expect a cup of black tea to contain roughly 45 milligrams of caffeine, while green and white teas have closer to 30 milligrams(mg).
Many herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.
If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, look for decaf varieties that have been processed with water or carbon dioxide instead of solvents like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate.
White tea contains the least caffeine, while green tea moderate amount of caffeine.
The caffeine content in black tea is higher than that of green tea, but lower than that of white tea.
However, white tea also has a higher amount of catechins (antioxidants) than both green and black tea.
The type of tea you consume affects how much caffeine it contains.
Oolong tea contains less caffeine than black and white teas.
Drinking hot water with your tea may cause you to ingest less caffeine due to the heat diluting the drink.
Cold-brewing or cold steeping your tea may lead to increased amounts of caffeine in your cup due to the lower temperature not causing the maximum extraction from the leaves while brewing.
Does Tea Contain Vitamins?
Tea contains a number of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
For example, tea is a good source of fluoride, which promotes dental health.
Tea also contains essential vitamins like C, E and K.
The vitamins contained in tea can have several effects on your body.
For example, vitamin C can help boost your immune system.
Tea also contains important amino acids that your body needs for biological functions like digesting fat.
One of these is amino acid l-theanine, it helps to produce alpha brain waves in your nervous system and makes you feel more relaxed.
Green tea extract is used as an herbal remedy to reduce inflammation and help with weight loss.
Extracts from green tea can even help protect against certain types of cancer.
Does Tea Contain Antioxidants?
Tea is rich in antioxidants, substances that prevent or delay some types of cell damage or oxidative stress.
Antioxidants include polyphenols, vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and carotenoids.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which can damage DNA (genetic material) and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
What Flavonoids does tea contain?
Flavonoids are the antioxidants that give tea, berries, and other plant-based foods their rich colors.
There are more than 6,000 different types of flavonoids in nature, but the ones found in tea belong to a group called catechins.
Researchers have identified four main catechins in cups of green tea:
Epicatechin (EC), Epicatechin gallate (ECG), Epigallocatechin (EGC), and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
EGCG makes up about 10 to 50 percent of the total catechin content and appears to be the most powerful antioxidant among tea catechins.
What Polyphenols are in tea?
Tea polyphenols are a class of polyphenols found in popular brewed tea.
Tea polyphenols are not only found in tea, but also in foods such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Polyphenols have been studied by scientists for decades because of their potential health benefits.
There are different types of polyphenols present in organic tea.
These include catechins, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
Over 8,000 different types of polyphenols have been identified so far.
6 best herbal teas for your health
The exact benefits that you get from tea are going to be defined by the type of tea that you drink.
There are so many different types of teas that it would not be possible to cover all of their benefits in this article.
What we will do is look at the benefits that you can expect from drinking traditional teas like green tea or black tea on a regular basis.
We will also give general information about other different types of teas.
1. Green Tea
Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins which help to prevent cell damage.
These catechins also help to fight cancer cells in the body.
Green tea also contains antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent cancer.
There have been studies showing that drinking green tea in large quantities can reduce your risk for certain kinds of cancers.
2. Black Tea
Black tea comes from the same plant as green tea, but the oxidation process gives black teas a different flavor and different health benefits than green teas.
Black teas are not as high in antioxidants as green teas, but they can still offer some benefit when it comes to preventing cancer and heart disease.
Black tea leaves also contain tannins which can help with digestion and help to protect teeth against cavities and plaque build-up.
3. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is one of the healthiest beverages that you can drink.
Not only does it help to relieve you from various health problems, but also shields your body from infections and diseases.
Ginger tea may be helpful in treating chronic indigestion.
It’s also been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can reduce acid reflux and heartburn.
Evidence suggests that it also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help protect against cancer-causing cell damage.
Drinking ginger tea can lower blood sugar levels so consider drinking it if you have diabetes to control your blood sugar levels.
4. Iced Teas
Iced teas offer many of the similar benefits as regular teas.
These include a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss.
You can enjoy iced teas made from all types of tea leaves, including green, black, and oolong teas.
The main difference between the two is that iced teas are often served with sugar or sugar substitutes added to them.
If you prefer your iced teas sweetened with sugar substitutes, you can use these to cut calories without adding any extra sugar to your diet
Check out this article on the benefits of iced tea.
5. Chamomile Tea
Sleepytime Chamomile tea is an herbal infusion made from dried chamomile flowers.
The flowers come from the Asteraceae plant family and have been used medicinally for thousands of years.
The main health benefits of chamomile tea include its ability to relieve stress, improve quality of sleep, lower inflammation, and prevent diabetes.
It can also protect the skin, aid in digestion, boost immune system function, and increase menstruation flow.
We’ve written an article all about the benefits of sleepytime tea.
6. Japanese tea
Japan matcha green tea can improve brain function.
Thanks to the high amount of antioxidants and L-theanine, matcha has been shown to decrease anxiety.
It’s also great for improving memory and concentration at the same time!
The bottom line - what's in herbal tea?
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, second only to water.
All teas come from Camellia sinensis (the “tea plant”), but how they are processed affects the flavor of tea significantly.
Green tea leaves are produced by lightly steaming or pan-frying fresh leaves after harvest.
Black tea extracts are fermented before drying.
Oolong teas undergo partial fermentation.
White teas are not fermented at all but instead dried whole or crushed into fine powder.
Finally, pu-erh tea undergoes a repeated fermentation process to produce its unique taste.
Whether you like it hot or cold and whether it is green, black, or white does not matter, as long as it tastes good.
Tea comes in different blends, but caffeine content varies based on different methods of processing and which ingredients are used.
However, there are some health benefits to the leaves of the tea plant, such as having more antioxidants available than coffee beans.
There is nothing wrong with having a cup of tea twice per day but try not to overdo it unless you enjoy having an upset stomach.