Technically, any liquid intended for drinking is a beverage so named by a word derived from French and Latin verbs meaning ‘to drink.’ Healthy beverages are beverages with health benefits that attribute by its nutritional value. The use of healthy beverage for promoting health and relieving symptom is as old as the practice of medicine.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Pu-erh tea: Processing and health benefits

Pu-erh (pu’er) tea refers to processed leaves and buds of the broad-leaf variety of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis var. assamica (L.) O. Kuntze; Theaceae) primarily sourced from China’s Yunnan province, as well as from neighboring areas of southwestern China (Sichuan, Guangxi and Guizhou provinces), Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and northeastern India. The tea must be fermented. It is generally believed that the longer the aged Pu-erh tea is kept, the better it will be in both quality and taste. Thus, the commercial value of older Pu-erh tea is much higher than that of the younger ones.

Pu-erh tea is very popular in Asian countries, mainly in southwestern China and south Asian countries, but its consumption becomes even more popular also in Europe, due to the well-documented beneficial effects on human health.

Traditionally, pu-erh tea was valued in traditional ethnomedical systems for its ability to strengthen the immune system, improve circulation, balance the body’s hot and cold levels, detoxify blood, treat rheumatism and stones, remedy headaches, clear skin conditions, promote oral hygiene, treat stomach conditions, and reduce swelling and soft tissue.

Pu-erh tea extracts have also been reported to have lipid-lowering activity, hypoglycemic effects, protective effect against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damages, hypouricemic effect, nitric oxide lowering effect, anti-inflammatory, anti- osteoporosis , neuroprotective and anticancer effects.

Pu-erh tea is processed from the young terminal buds and adjacent leaves of tea plants. The sun-dried green tea leaves are autoclaved and dried to make Pu-erh raw tea and stored in natural conditions to make aged Pu-erh tea, or the leaves are artificially post-fermented with microorganisms for several months to 1 year to produce ripened Pu-erh tea. For fully fermented black tea, the oxidation of the tea polyphenols is performed mainly by polyphenol oxidases from the tea leaves.

Unlike most other teas (white, green, red), which tend to lose their freshness and flavor soon after the time of production, Pu-erh, due to qualities inherent in its broad leaves, undergoes a fermentation process which improves its taste, texture and aroma over time. As such, while most teas should be consumed while they are fresh, Pu-erh tea, like fine wine, is best enjoyed many years later after the tea has been aged.
Pu-erh tea: Processing and health benefits

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