Black tea – traditional English breakfast tea – is derived from the same plant as green tea, Camellia sinensis, but has a different taste and appearance because it is fermented. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the more lightly oxidized teas. Tea is chemically very complex, with many different ingredients. Ingredients such as catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids and amino acids have been found to have effects on neurotransmitters in the brain.
Black tea from China can be sweet or spicy, with a hint of chocolate or the sweet fragrance of orchids. In Chinese and culturally influenced languages, black tea is known as red tea (Mandarin Chinese hóngchá; Japanese kocha; Korean hongcha), perhaps a more accurate description of the color of the liquid. In Chinese, black tea is a commonly used classification for Pu-erh tea. However, in the western world, “red tea” more commonly refers to South African rooibos tisane.
Scented and spiced teas are made from black tea. “Scented teas look just like any other tea,” says FDA chemist and tea expert Robert Dick, “because the scent is more or less sprayed on. They’re flavored with just about anything–peach, vanilla, cherry. The spiced teas, on the other hand, usually contain pieces of spices–cinnamon or nutmeg or orange or lemon peel–so you can see there’s something in there.”
While green tea usually loses its flavor within a year, black tea retains its flavor for several years. For this reason, it has long been an article of trade, and compressed bricks of black tea even served as a form of de facto currency in Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia into the 19th century.
Recent research findings have reported that drinking black tea, the kind typically used to make American iced tea, improves the body’s defenses and quickens the response to outside bacteria and viruses. Green tea carries the powerful antioxidant “epigallocatechin-3 gallate” or easier said “EGCG.” EGCG is a defense component considered extremely beneficial for one’s health perhaps even more powerful than vitamins C or E in protecting the body from detriment.
To relieve stress :
Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a study by UCL (University College London) researchers and evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. UCL researchers also found (Oct. 4, 2006) that blood platelet activation – linked to blood clotting and the risk of heart attacks – was lower in the tea drinkers, and that this group reported a greater degree of relaxation in the recovery period after the task.
As heart healthy :
According to a study; published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, which finds that tea consumption is associated with an increased rate of survival following a heart attack. The greatest benefits of tea consumption have been found among patients who already have cardiovascular disease. The key to this protection appears to lie with a group of antioxidants known as flavonoids, which are plentiful in both black and green tea. In addition, another study found that drinking black tea improved endothelial function – the ability of the blood vessels to relax – in cardiac patients. Finally, its flavonoids contain may have an anti-clotting effect.
Green and black tea can lower human cholesterol levels. A study, in China, is the first to show that tea can affect cholesterol levels in humans, after previous studies on animals and shown that daily extracts of the teas can reduce cholesterol by up to 16 per cent.
A small, six-month, randomized clinical trial Study of Black Tea and Cardiovascular Risk Factors; recorded at American Heart Journal in October 2007 have yielded mixed results on the effects of tea on cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers believe their study is the longest such trial conducted to date, but concluded that confirmation of the effects of black tea on cardiovascular risk will require larger and longer studies in more diverse populations.
A study of over 3,000 adults in Saudi Arabia – where black tea is favored over green – found that regular consumption of the dark brew can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by fifty percent.
For oral health :
A group of researchers from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry believe that black tea and its components benefit oral health by interfering with the harmful plaque bacteria in the mouth that cause gum disease and cavities. They found that compounds in black tea were capable of killing or suppressing growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. Black tea also affects the bacterial enzyme glucosyltranferase which is responsible for converting sugars into the sticky matrix material that plaque uses to adhere to teeth. In addition, certain plaque bacteria, upon exposure to black tea, lost their ability to form the clumpy aggregates with other bacteria in plaque, thereby reducing the total mass of the dental plaque.
Chicago College of Dentistry study showed that people who rinsed their mouths with black tea multiple times a day had less plaque buildup than those who rinsed with water. “Polyphenols in tea suppress the bacterial enzyme that triggers plaque accumulation. Drinking tea a few times a day could have the same effect.
To reduce toxicity following radiotherapy and cancer risk :
The University of California in Los Angeles, USA, and colleagues from the University of Freiburg, Germany; published in the open access journal BMC Medicine found that tea extracts reduce the duration of skin toxicity following radiotherapy by 5 to 10 days. Green tea extracts are more effective than black tea extracts in some patients. Pajonk et al. also show that tea extracts reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNFalpha and PGE2, in human white blood cells in culture, with green tea having higher anti-inflammatory properties than black tea. Both black tea and green tea inhibit one major inflammatory pathway in mouse white blood cells due to the anti-inflammatory properties of tea.
Evidence from laboratory studies by National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden indicates that green and black tea preparations may protect against various cancers. They observed a 46 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer in women who drank two or more cups of tea per day compared with non-drinkers. Coffee is not associated with ovarian cancer risk in this cohort; study concluded.
For preventing of diabetes and its complications :
“Most people, scientists included, believe that green tea has more health benefits than black tea,” says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a chemist at the University of Scranton (Penn.) and lead author of the paper. In combination with Vinson’s earlier research showing that green tea and black tea equally inhibit atherosclerosis — a major risk factor for heart disease and may be a simple, inexpensive means of preventing diabetes and its ensuing complications, including cataracts. The findings suggest that both drinks could play a part in curbing two of the most widespread maladies in the United States today.
Another research study by University of Dundee and University of Edinburgh; published in the peer-reviewed medical journal: Aging Cell found (04 Mar 2008) that some constituents of black tea (theaflavins and thearubigins) mimic the action of insulin in the body. For a long time green tea has been believed to have beneficial health properties and it is now suggested that black tea may also have some potential.
Scientists in Scotland have unexpectedly discovered that black tea may help to combat type 2 diabetes. They found that the black tea compounds theaflavins and thearubigins behaved like insulin. Another same like collaberated study at Osaka University, City University, Nara Women’s University, Aichi Cancer Center; Japan found that consumption of green tea, coffee, and total caffeine was associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
To sharpen memory :
A team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne found that green and black tea inhibits the activity of certain enzymes in the brain which are associated with memory. Green tea and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Both teas also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits which are found on the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s.
Drinking at least 23 cups of black tea a month, or about three-quarters of a cup a day, may slash the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by a whopping 71 per cent, suggests new research from Singapore; published (20 December 2007) in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Source of antioxidants :
A study found at Purdue University found that citrus juices enable more of green tea’s unique antioxidants to remain after simulated digestion. Studies have shown catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants found from the green tea plant, Camellia sinensis, are able to detoxify toxic chemicals, inhibit cancer cell activity and stimulate production of immune-strengthening enzymes.
Citrus juice increased recovered catechin levels by more than five times, the study found. Lemons and tea go even better together. Lemon juice caused 80 percent of tea’s catechins to remain, the study found. Following lemon, in terms of stabilizing power, were orange, lime and grapefruit juices. They also suspects that some of the results also could apply to black tea, which is produced by fermenting green tea. Many prefer black tea’s flavor, although it contains lower total levels of catechins.
For Persistent foot bad odor :
According to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – AAOS; soaking your feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week can help for Persistent foot bad odor. The tannic acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer. Use two tea bags per pint of water. Boil for 15 minutes, then add two quarts of cool water. Soak your feet in the cool solution. Alternately, you can soak your feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.
Against Anthrax Threat :
A cup of black tea could be the next line of defense in the threat of bio-terrorism according to new international research. A new study by an international team of researchers from Cardiff University and University of Maryland has revealed how the humble cup of tea could well be an antidote to Bacillus anthracis –more commonly know as anthrax.
As a nation, Brits currently drink 165 million cups of tea, and the healing benefits of the nation’s favorite beverage have long been acknowledged.
But now the team of scientists led by Professor Les Baillie from Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University and Doctor Theresa Gallagher, Biodefense Institute, part of the Medical Biotechnology Centre of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, has found that the widely-available English Breakfast tea has the potential to inhibit the activity of anthrax, as long as it is black tea.
Anthrax – a potentially fatal human disease – is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. A very serious and rapidly progressing form of the disease occurs when bacterial spores are inhaled making anthrax a potent threat when used as a biological warfare agent.
Published in the March issue of the Society for Applied Microbiology’s journal Microbiologist, Professor Baillie said: “Our research sought to determine if English breakfast tea was more effective than a commercially available American medium roast coffee at killing anthrax. We found that special components in tea such as polyphenols have the ability to inhibit the activity of anthrax quite considerably.”
The study provides further evidence of the wide range of beneficial physiological and pharmalogical effects of this common household item. The research also shows that the addition of whole milk to a standard cup of tea completely inhibited its antibacterial activity against anthrax.
Professor Baillie continued: “I would suggest that in the event that we are faced with a potential bio-terror attack, individuals may want to forgo their dash of milk at least until the situation is under control.”What’s more, given the ability of tea to bring solace and steady the mind, and to inactivate Bacillus anthracis and its toxin, perhaps the Boston Tea Party was not such a good idea after all.”