What are the benefits of red tea

Exotic teas with miracle effects?

Dipl. Oec. troph. Ulrike Berges

Well-traveled teas like Pu-Erh, Lapacho, Honeybush and Rooibosh develop into a best seller. The providers do not save with full-bodied promises about their effectiveness. What is it about the alleged fit-makers and fat killers?

Hardly any other drink is said to have so many beneficial effects as this Pu-erh tea. The advertising promises of the providers range from fat loss and purification to liver strengthening and faster alcohol breakdown to natural fit-maker. The tea is made from the large leaves of the Qingmao tea tree, which grows in the Chinese province of Yunnan around the Pu-Erh district. Once picked, the green leaves are pressed, causing the cells to break open and fermentation to begin. For this enzymatic conversion, some producers add special microorganisms that provide the characteristic red color. In contrast to green and black tea, the pu-erh, which also contains caffeine, should ferment as long as possible. The older the tea, the more expensive it is.

Pu-erh tea as an effective fat killer?

The red, partially fermented tea tastes tart, earthy to musty. Many people therefore drink pu-erh tea less for pleasure, but rather because of the hoped-for effects. The suppliers praise pu-erh tea primarily as an effective fat killer. The much-cited studies from Yunnan and Paris, where participants lost 11 kilograms in 4 weeks, were never confirmed, and the original work is kept under lock and key. Experts suspect that a simultaneous fasting diet was primarily responsible for the weight loss. The advertised antimicrobial effect also lags far behind that of black and green tea. In animal experiments, pu-erh tea did not show any influence on an excessive cholesterol level.

Residues of the pesticide DDT are repeatedly found in Pu-Erh tea, although its use is just as prohibited in China as it is in this country. DDT, which is suspected of being carcinogenic, hardly goes into the infusion. Nevertheless, you should only buy residue-controlled goods. For this reason, we do not recommend ordering via the Internet. If you want to be on the safe side, the analysis of the batch in question can be shown in the shop. The tea is not yet available from organic cultivation, but some companies are trying to offer them organic quality. If you don't expect miracles, you can drink 1-2 cups of Pu-Erh a day without hesitation: pour one level teaspoon of tea per cup with boiling water. After 2-3 minutes the tea tastes mildly smoky and has a stimulating effect; after 3-5 minutes the earthy taste increases significantly as more tannins pass into the infusion; after 10 minutes it tastes rather musty.

Tree bark from the rainforest

The Lapacho tea is obtained from the bark of the Lapacho tree (Tabebuia avellanedeae). Its home is the rainforests between Mexico and Argentina, where the tree is up to 700 years old and 20 meters high. To make lapacho tea, the tree is peeled, the red inner bark is crushed and dried. Peeling does not harm the tree; after a year the bark has grown back. The wood of the lapacho tree is also popular as a building material because it is particularly resistant to pests. The by-product of wood processing is abundant bark, so that the wood industry can offer the tea at dumping prices. Here it is worthwhile to look closely at the label and only buy lapacho tea that comes from sustainable management of the rainforest. However, this information is not officially checked.

Quinones in tea are supposed to make you fit

Drunk regularly, lapacho tea is said to strengthen the immune system. Natural wedge experts also recommend it for diseases such as diabetes, rheumatism and if the intestine is colonized with the Candida fungus. South American folk medicine reports that lapacho is effective even for cancer. Certain quinones, which are among the phytochemicals, are responsible for the immune-stimulating and cancer-inhibiting effects. They should already strengthen the body's defenses in amounts that are contained in a normal infusion. However, these properties have not been scientifically proven. Since the caffeine-free Lapacho tea has fewer tannins than other teas, it tastes pleasantly mild. For a pot, add about 1-2 tablespoons of tea to a liter of boiling water and simmer for five minutes. Then the pieces of bark should soak in the pot for another 15-20 minutes before they are filtered off.

Honey-scented tea

The honey bush (Cyclopia intermedia) is at home in South Africa, and in spring it bears yellow honey-scented flowers. The shrub, which is up to 1.5 meters high, grows mostly wild in mountainous areas in the south and east of South Africa. To obtain the Honeybush teas the leaves and branch tips are used. However, fermentation requires higher temperatures so that it takes place in the oven. The honey bush tea, which only tastes slightly like honey, is caffeine-free and, like all types of tea, contains traces of minerals and secondary plant substances. Since it has only recently been available in Germany, there is hardly any literature on ingredients or health effects. To prepare it, pour boiling water over a heaped teaspoon per cup and let it steep for about 10 minutes.

The red one from Africa

Rooibosh tea, also known as Maasai or rooibos tea, comes from western South Africa. It is obtained from the needle-shaped leaves and the tips of the branches of Aspalathus linearis, a plant that is similar to our gorse. The red bush grows to 50 to 200 centimeters and an average age of 7 years. Shortly before it dies, its leaves turn red, hence the name. After the harvest, the leaves and twig tips are cut into small snippets, which are layered on top of each other and watered. The onset of fermentation lasts 8-24 hours, with the originally green leaf fragments turning reddish brown. They are then dried in the sun, sieved and pasteurized in the steam.

The rooibos tea is offered pure and flavored in organic quality. The caffeine-free tea contains very few tannins, but tastes similar to black tea, only slightly milder. The infusion contains traces of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are known as natural antioxidants. Regular consumption of Rooibosh is also said to have particular health-promoting effects. Marketing experts promise fewer wrinkles, relief from rheumatism, acne and high blood pressure. The tea is also said to help with insomnia and prevent overreactions in allergic diseases. The promises, however, have no scientific basis whatsoever; many statements are based on the experience of South African health professionals. There are no known contraindications, so there is nothing against drinking it regularly: Pour around six heaping teaspoons of tea with one liter of boiling water and let it steep for 5-10 minutes, you get a good pot of Rooibosh.

From a scientific point of view, neither pu-erh and lapacho nor honeybush or rooibosh tea can be certified as having any health effects. But it has often been shown that there is more to the traditional knowledge of healers than science initially wants to believe. The magic drink with miraculous powers will only exist in fairy tales or for the inhabitants of a small Gallic village in the future.

Source: Berges, U .: UGB-Forum 2/00, pp. 81-82

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This article is taken from the UGB archive.

We would like to point out that the content may have to be re-evaluated due to new scientific findings.