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QTrade Teas & Herbs provides specialty teas, herbs, spices, custom blending, product development, and private label services to businesses all over the world. We are the largest importer of organic teas in North America, with an expanding selection of flowers, fruits, and berries. (949) 766-0070 www.qtradeteas.com

Tea & Human Health: Where are we?

Mona Verma is a Quality Control specialist at QTrade Teas & Herbs. With a background in microbiology, she recently attended the Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington DC. You can read more about the relationship between tea and health on our “Is Tea Healthy?” page

Tea & Human Health: Where are we?

B:y Mona Verma

Catherine Douzel vividly describes tea as, “an imaginary voyage”, referring to the excitement and enjoyment contained in each cup. Humans have brewed and enjoyed tea since antiquity. Initially it was enjoyed as a refreshment beverage; later people began to observe health benefits associated with tea as well. Today, modern science has validated these observations, elucidating tea’s numerous health benefits. Leading research institutes such as Tufts University, University of Glasgow, UCLA, Texas Tech, and numerous others have top scientists who are currently working on research related to teas.

In September 2012, experts from research institutes around the world assembled in Washington DC for a one day conference to discuss the health benefits of tea. I, in my capacity as a quality control specialist, represented QTrade Teas & Herbs at this conference. The atmosphere at the conference was congenial, effusive, and scientific providing an exhilarating display of cutting edge research by top scientists. The research included the benefits of tea in weight management, improving cognition, and preventing neurological decline. Lectures also included its positive effects on heart health, cancer, and bone health. Overall, these lectures pointed out to the diverse effects of tea on human health and how consumption of different teas (particularly green and black) can be beneficial. Moreover, green tea was the highlight of the research presented at the conference and was shown to have the maximum health benefits through its anti-oxidant properties.

Personally, I thought the most interesting research work on green tea polyphenols centered on bone health. In a six-month clinical trial carried out at Texas Tech, 171 postmenopausal women with low bone mass consumed 500 mg of green tea polyphenol capsules a day (equivalent to 4-6 cups of tea) and showed improvements in bone formation.

Other interesting factoids included:

  • Teas are the greatest contributor of flavonoids in the American diet according to the Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University.
  • Green and Black tea flavanoids have neuroprotective and probiotic affects which are beneficial for the gastro- intestinal tract.
  • One cup of Black tea or more per day induces a 44 % reduction in risk for myocardial infarction.
  • A recent study by  the University of Glasgow revealed that black teas contain approximately 5000 different thearubigin components (polyphenols), which are responsible for the red-brown color of tea and its astringent taste.

Working in a tea environment at QTrade, it has amazed me as to how the same plant Camellia sinensis, is capable of making so many different kinds of teas. Being from a research background it has stirred up inquisitiveness in me about the processes in a single tea plant that generate different beneficial chemical compounds by different enzymatic processes.

Finally, a lot more needs study about the exact mechanisms of the different chemical constituents in tea; specifically, if these compounds act individually or synergistically? How does the process of brewing impact the constituents of tea and improve health? Perhaps, in this search, we might find further benefits of this amazing beverage. Regardless, we have significantly furthered our understanding about teas in recent years and moved from the in vitro experiments to clinical trials and possibly in the future, market teas as a “natural cure” for some chronic ailments.

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