White tea is one of several popular teas made from the camellia Sinensis plant that is native to the tropical and subtropical climates of southeastern China. These small-leafed evergreen shrubs or small trees have multiple stems and grow to about three meters in height. They grow best in rich, moist soil in areas that have a minimum of at least 50 inches (~127 cm) of rainfall each year to attain the most desirable flavor.
The buds and leaves of white tea are picked just before they have completely opened. At this time, the plants are completely covered in fine, tiny white hairs, which is where the “white” name originates. The first recorded production of white tea dates to around 3,000 years ago. This is when the unique properties of the plant’s leaves to produce this unique tea were first discovered.
17 Health Benefits of White Tea
White tea is unique in that it is the least processed of all the major teas made from the camellia Sinensis plant allowing it to keep more of its natural antioxidants. This is why many scientific studies have shown that white tea has more health benefits than most of the other popular camellia Sinensis teas. Here are some of the health benefits of white tea.
Enhances Your Energy Level
Because white tea goes through the least amount of processing, it has the highest amount of the amino acid, L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the mind and boosts your energy level. When L-theanine combines with a small amount of caffeine, it reduces tiredness, lowers your levels of anxiety.
Keeps You Focused and Alert
White tea elevates your mood and helps keep you happier and more alert. At the same time, it keeps you alert and focused allowing you to keep your undivided attention to any work you have at hand without becoming anxious. It also helps you to slowly ease out of stressful situations and concentrate on the things that are most important to you.
Good for Weight Loss
White tea can help you lose weight. The tea can boost your metabolism by an extra four or five percent, which is equivalent to burning nearly 100 additional calories each day. Even though green tea is often mentioned as the primary tea to drink in order to lose weight, the fact is that white tea is just as effective. Both white and green teas help the body to burn fat. They both have similar levels of caffeine and other compounds that can burn fat and prevent new fat cells from growing.
Related: Is There Caffeine in White Tea?
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
In a recent study, scientists found that people who drank three or more cups of white tea a day had an average of 21% lower risk of heart disease. Part of the reason maybe because of the polyphenols contained in white tea. These organic chemicals have antioxidant benefits and help the body to relax blood vessels, reduce inflammation and boost the body’s immunity to disease. Some studies have found these polyphenols prevent “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which is another risk factor that causes heart disease.
Helping With Diabetes
Some studies have found that white tea is helpful in lowering the risk of insulin resistance which contributes to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. The polyphenols in white tea appear to enhance the effects of insulin, reduce insulin resistance, and lower blood sugar levels. As a result, insulin can move nutrients more freely from the body’s bloodstream and into the cells so they can be stored for later use.
Several scientific studies have found that some properties of white tea can have anticancer effects. In one study, a white tea extract suppressed the growth and spread of colon cancer cells. The tea’s antioxidants also protected normal cells from damage from harmful molecules. In another study, a white tea extract triggered the death of cells from several different types of lung cancer and protected healthy cells from DNA damage.
Improves Kidney Health
The consumption of white tea has been linked to reducing the adverse effects of environmental pollution on the kidneys of the human body. Also, in a Chinese study, the catechins in white tea were shown to be a potential treatment for the removal of kidney stones.
Help With Osteoporosis
Some of the beneficial compounds in white tea can help protect you against osteoporosis, a health condition where the bones of your body become porous and hollow. Studies have indicated that free radicals and chronic inflammation accelerate osteoporosis by suppressing the body’s cells that aid bone strength and growth.
Helps Protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases
Several scientific studies have shown that some of the compounds in white tea lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The polyphenol EGCG in white tea has been shown to prevent proteins from folding or clumping together. When this happens, it causes inflammation and damage to nerves in the brain. By suppressing free radicals and reducing inflammation, white tea can be an effective shield against these and other diseases.
Preventing Tooth Decay
White tea helps to protect your teeth and prevent tooth decay. Because white tea is a natural source of fluoride, drinking it helps make the surface of your teeth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks by bacteria when combined with sugar. Also, because the catechin plant antioxidants are so abundant in white tea, they help to inhibit the growth of plaque bacteria in your mouth.
Aids in Treating Acne
Studies have shown that drinking white tea is beneficial for acne treatment. The antioxidants in white tea flush out the body’s toxins that accumulate in your skin resulting in acne. Dermatologists believe that the antioxidants in white tea protect the skin from cellular damage by eliminating free radicals to keep it strong and healthy.
Helps to Keep Skin from Aging
Scientists have discovered that applying white tea extract to your skin helps protect it from both internal and external aging. Drinking white tea also helps keep your skin from premature aging by combating the effects of certain enzymes and free radicals that can cause skin damage.
Heals Wounds and Helps Prevent Wrinkles
The ECGC in white tea may help wounds to heal faster. Due to its high phenol content, white tea is able to strengthen the body’s elastin and collagen, important proteins in the body’s connective tissues. These proteins make your skin stronger and help to prevent wrinkles from occurring.
Acts as a Detoxifying Agent
White tea is an excellent detoxifying agent. When freshly brewed, white tea helps to replace and flush out harmful fluids from your body. It, therefore, relieves the pressure on your kidneys and helps with you perspire more readily to balance out the amount of water your body retains.
Improves Hair Health
The antioxidants in white tea help treat many hair-related disorders like hair falling out. These anti-inflammatory properties strengthen the connective tissue of your hair and help to reduce allergies like eczema and dandruff. The EGCG in white tea enhances hair growth and the survival of hair cells. Research also suggests that the chemicals also useful in the treatment of scalp seborrheic dermatitis.
Since white tea is essentially a transparent liquid, unlike coffee and most other kinds of tea, it minimizes your chance of having discolored or patchy-looking teeth. The higher amounts of caffeine content in other strains of teas leads to teeth yellowing, So with white tea, you get that extra kick-start each morning and don’t need to worry about it affecting your physical appearance.
Increases Your Metabolism
The caffeine in white tea helps your body burn energy faster and therefore enables you to produce more energy. Therefore, the process of metabolism is accelerated to help you make up for any energy gaps during the day.
Side effects of White Tea
Although white tea is enjoyed by people around the world for its taste, flavor and health benefits, it can also cause health issues in some people, especially when consumed in uncontrolled proportions. Here are a few of the side effects of drinking white tea.
Sleep Disorders and a Diuretic Effect
The caffeine in white tea and most other teas as well can lead to a mild diuretic effect, especially when taken in large amounts. Even though the amount of caffeine in white tea is considerably less than found in coffee, it can still be disruptive when you try to sleep. Tea also contains some other chemicals besides caffeine that impact your body’s sleep cycle.
White tea contains theophylline, a chemical that can lead to a dehydrating effect during digestion and cause constipation. Many researchers believe that drinking tea in the morning can help people to have a clear bowel movement, drinking excess amounts of tea can cause constipation in many people.
Anxiety and Restlessness
The caffeine in white tea can lead to restlessness, anxiety, sleep disruption, and an increased heart rate. Even though caffeine is one of the world’s most popular mood-enhancing drugs, it can have both good and bad effects on our bodies.
Possibility of Miscarriage
Most doctors and pediatricians caution that pregnant women should avoid tea entirely since the caffeine content can harm the development of a fetus and even pose a threat of miscarriage.
Prostate cancer is possibly the worst side effect that can be caused by drinking too much tea. Some research suggests that men who drink tea in large amounts can be at higher risk for prostate cancer than those who don’t drink it as much.
The caffeine found in tea is not considered good for the human cardiovascular system. This appears to be especially true for those who have heart ailments or maybe recovering from cardiovascular disorders. High blood pressure is one of the side effects that can be caused by caffeine in white tea when it is consumed excessively.
Can affect PMS and Increase Diabetes Risk
The excessive consumption of white can also lead to premenstrual symptoms in women and increase the risk of diabetes by increasing the secretion of insulin.
How to Brew White Tea Correctly
White tea is not just healthy and satisfying, it is also very easy to prepare.
- add loose white tea to a pot
- pour steaming hot water directly over the tea leaves.
- Allow the leaves to steep for between five to eight minutes
- strain and serve the tea.
Ideally, the water used should be between 75-85° Celsius (170–185° F.). Avoid using boiling water as it can ruin the delicate flavors of white tea. Instead, bring the water to a rolling boil and then allow it to sit for about a minute or two to slightly cool down to reach the proper temperature.
White tea generally has a subtle and refreshing taste and can be enjoyed hot or cold. However, if you should prefer a somewhat stronger tea, you can add additional dry leaves before brewing. It is usually advised that in order to create the right flavor balance for individual taste preferences, experiment with the amount of tea used until you are completely satisfied with the results.
White tea is a wonderfully delicious and healthy drink when consumed in moderation. The only actual side effects that can be considered negative are experienced when you drink white tea in excessive quantities.