Western researchers are beginning to discover what tea drinkers in the East have believed for centuries – that tea is beneficial for maintaining health and vigor.
Tea buds and leaves plucked from Camellia sinensis contain a specific group of antioxidant plant compounds known as flavonoids.
The flavonoids in tea are composed of two groups of substances – flavonols and flavanols. Tea is rich in flavanols, and this group contains substances known as catechins. Catechins are tea’s most important arsenal of defense against the oxidative DNA damage that occurs when unstable toxic molecules known as free radicals form with the human body. When left unchecked, free radicals damage healthy cells which can lead to illness and organ disease.
Research is still ongoing and scientists have yet to prove that drinking tea will help to combat illness or organ disease. And research will continue for years to come.
But the reasons to drink tea are the same now as they have been for centuries: tea is a pleasure beverage with a sensory appeal and an enormous feel-good attitude that delivers great, satisfying flavor. Tea has virtually no side effects in most individuals, and the stimulant content of caffeine in Camellia sinensis helps most people maintain alertness, mental clarity and an overall-feeling of well-being.
However, Tea Trekker does not endorse or recommend that individuals should drink tea in place of medical care or treatment or in a self-directed manner to alleviate or improve a known or suspected illness. While much has been written about the healthful benefits of tea, these benefits have not been medically proven.
Tea is not medicine and drinking tea does not promise a cure from aliments, illness or disease. Our advice is to discuss the viability of drinking tea with your doctor or medical team if you are under a course of medical treatment, or if you are considering adding it to an ongoing medical regime. Tea Trekker advises that prompt medical treatment be sought when there is a suspicion that medical assistance is necessary.
For more detailed information on antioxidants or the Healthful Benefits of Tea, please refer to our book:
The Story of Tea A Cultural History and Drinking Guide ( Ten Speed Press, 2007 ) pgs. 350-363.
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