Pu-erh Tea the Cholesterol lowering, Weight loss Tea from China
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Pu'erh tea is a form of black tea which undergoes a special fermentation process – usually for 30 to 40 days, although sometimes for years or even decades ( we have found the 5 year Imperial Pu-erh aged Tea to be the best in flavor and benefits)– which gives it a unique flavor and some potential health benefits not present in other forms of tea. Pu'erh originates from the Yunnan province in China and has been prized for its health benefits for over 2,000 years.
Possible Health Benefits of drinking Pu-erh Tea:
- Lower cholesterol
- Aid digestion
- Blood cleansing properties
- Weight loss
Health Benefits of this unique tea have long been used in China for the medicinal benefits. The soothing properties, aid digestion and are perfect after heavy or greasy meals. More recent studies indicate powerful cholesterol lowering effects, blood cleansing properties and aid significantly in weight loss efforts. Many published studies have been done showing the enormous health benefits of this wonderful tea. The most eye opening of these studies was conducted in France several years ago. A blind study was conducted with 500 hyperlipidemia patients (individuals with advanced cholesterol conditions, usually controlled with medication). Half of the controlled group consumed 3-4 cups of Pu'erh daily, while the rest of the participants were given something else. After a 30-day period the results showed that drinking Pu'erh on a regular basis could significantly lower cholesterol and further research confirmed that Pu'erh was as effective as the most advanced cholesterol lowering medications available. This is just one of the many healthy benefits of this delicious tea.
Pu-Erh Weight Loss Tea on Dr. Oz
Pu'erh tea is a form of black tea which undergoes a special fermentation process – usually for 30 to 40 days, although sometimes for years or even decades – which gives it a unique flavor and some potential health benefits not present in other forms of tea. Pu'erh originates from the Yunnan province in China and has been prized for its health benefits for over 2,000 years.
Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Syndrome
One of the touted benefits of pu-erh tea is its ability to lower cholesterol. A study published in the journal “Experimental Gerontology” in 2009 found that rats given pu-erh tea saw a profound reduction in LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and an increase in cardioprotective HDL cholesterol. Pu'erh tea has also shown great benefit for people suffering from metabolic syndrome – a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease which include high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar, high triglycerides and abdominal obesity. Researchers at Beijing University discovered that pu'erh tea appears to treat metabolic syndrome by improving obesity, beneficially adjusting blood lipids, lowering blood sugar and preventing oxidation of cholesterol plaque.
The antioxidant actions of pu'erh may also make it useful in treating tumors, according to in vitro research published in the “International Journal of Molecular Science” in 2011. Researchers discovered that pu'erh tea inhibited tumor growth through a variety of mechanisms, indicating that it may have the same capabilities in humans. There has been a great deal of research on the antioxidant effects of green tea, but fewer studies have been conducted on pu'erh. Research published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2004, however, showed that pu'erh tea exhibited a similar amount of antioxidant activity as green, black and oolong teas.
“Cooked” pu'erh – which refers to the tea which has undergone the fermentation process – comes in both brick form and as a loose leaf tea. The brick teas take quite a bit more time to open up and extract into water, and are best made with fully boiling water and a longer steeping time -- up to 10 minutes. Brick teas have a characteristic musty flavor which can be lessened by soaking and rinsing the tea in cool water before extraction. Loose leaf pu'erhs tend to have a more refined flavor ranging from earthy to chocolatey over-tones with a dark, rich liquor. They are best brewed Gong Fu style – which means “the skillful way” in Chinese – using a gaiwan or other small brewing pot. Extract with boiling water and leave the water on for three to five minutes – these teas can take multiple extractions each with their own unique flavor.
Cheaper pu'erh teas may be harvested from tea plants which might have higher levels of fluorine – which can build up in the body over time and lead to fluorosis – according to NaturalNews.com. According to a study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology,” pu'erh brick teas had a safe level of fluorine – below the maximum RDA – compared to another form of brick tea called Bianxiao. Pu'erh does contain caffeine, so those who are sensitive should limit dosage to a few cups per day. Pu'erh tea contains about 37 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce serving compared to 86 milligrams in black tea, making it a better tea choice for people who are limiting their caffeine intake.
Pu-erh tea (pronounced POO-air) is the most oxidized form of tea, often aged, and sometimes very expensive. Unlike other teas, which get stale over time, pu-erh can mellow and improve with age like fine wine. Some pu-erh teas are more than 50 years old, and rare ones sell for many thousands of dollars in Asian specialty stores.
Pu-erh teas come from China's Yunnan Province and are named for a city in southern Yunnan. These teas are highly valued in China where the processing methods have been a well-guarded secret for centuries. Pu-erh's distinct flavor comes from the fact that after the leaves are picked, they are made into a sundried base tea called maocha and then fermented. After that, the leaves are aged and then packed into bricks or cakes.
You brew pu-erh tea the same as you would brew black and oolong teas. Heat good quality water to a vigorous boil. Pour the water over the tea leaves (which can be loose or in a tea ball or strainer), wait 10 seconds, then discard the water. This "opens" the leaves. Add more water and steep long enough to develop color and flavor but not so long that the tea will taste tastes bitter. For pu-erh, two to five minutes is best. Depending on the variety, the color of the brewed tea can be pale yellow, golden, red, or dark brown. Some brewed pu-erh varieties look like coffee and taste very earthy, but connoisseurs often dismiss these as low quality. You can reuse good quality tea leaves several times; tea lovers say that the subsequent infusions taste better and better.
Because it is fully oxidized, pu-erh has a lower antioxidant
content than white or green tea, but Chinese people credit it with many health benefits, especially promotion of weight loss, reduction of serum cholesterol, and cardiovascular protection. Not many scientific studies exist on pu-erh tea, so we don't know how valid these health claims are. Some research suggests that pu-erh may help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk, but this hasn't been confirmed in humans. A Chinese study performed on rats and published in 2009 showed lowering of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels after the animals were fed a pu-erh tea extract, along with an increase in HDL ("good" cholesterol). We know that tea, in general, is protective against heart disease and cancer. It's likely that pu-erh tea has similar effects.
I am a great fan of quality pu-erh
, and have had the good fortune to sample some exquisite varieties during my travels in China. Fortunately, good pu-erh is becoming easier to find in this country. Exploring these complex, venerable teas is a healthy and rewarding pursuit that I highly recommend.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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