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Different types of tea

Updated on January 30, 2014


From the precise brewing ceremonies practiced by Japanese geishas to the customary practice of taking afternoon tea in Great Britain to curling up on the couch with a mug and a good book, no other beverage has as many cultural and historical rituals associated with it as tea.

Varieties of tea

Although there is a wide variety of tea, basic tea comes in only 3 varieties: green, oolong, and black. All three types are made from the leaves of the same plant, but they differ in how the leaves are dried and the degree to which they are allowed to ferment. Green tea is not fermented, oolong tea is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented.

Green Tea
Green Tea

Benefits of Green Tea

Regardless of fermentation, tea is a stimulant and an astringent. That means it is good for when you have a cold since it helps dry and clear fluids (such as phlegm) from your body. And by toning the intestinal tissues, it also works well as a digestive aid. Plus, it is a great source of potassium, magnesium, and folic acid (vitamin B9 the vitamin that helps protect against spinal birth defects). So the Japanese ritual of drinking a cup of green tea after nearly every meal isn't a bad idea. And it is backed up by decades of impressive research from the East.

Given that green tea is also thought to boost the immune system. Polyphenols, which are found in tea, may act as antioxidants, which eliminate harmful substances and help cell withstand damage and remain healthy. Polyphenols may also benefit the circulatory system by preventing the buildup of cholesterol and strengthening blood vessels. Green tea also contains catechins, which are thought to ward of viral infection and protect against cancers of the colon, stomach, and skin.

Green tea is also full of fluoride and may help prevent cavities. And you can place a damp tea bag or loose tea leaves to relieve inching and swelling from insect bites.

Oolong tea
Oolong tea

Benefits of Oolong tea

Like green tea, oolong tea may strengthen blood vessels, limit cholesterol absorption, and reduce risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Black tea
Black tea

Benefits of Black tea

Black tea is fully fermented and rich in tannins or tannic acid, a natural antiseptic. You can relieve some discomfort caused by minor cuts and bruises by applying a fresh, cool tea bag to them. Drinking a strong cup of cold black tea can combat diarrhea, while weak cold black tea can be washed over a sunburn for some short-term relief. A steaming cup of tea with lemon and honey is a traditional folk remedy for hoarseness. And if you get headaches and don't mind the effects of caffeine, a strong cup of hot tea can provide some relief. Tired eyes? Try lying down and place a cool, damp tea bag on each eye. If nothing else, your body will probably appreciate the rest.


Tea contains caffeine and other natural stimulants. While these stimulants may have a positive effect on the body, they can also have a negative effect if excessive amount is consumed. Dietary caffeine has been link to conditions suck as insomnia, indigestion, and fibrocystic breast disease. A good rule of thumb is to limit your intake of tea to 2 cups per day, unless your health practitioner directs you differently. Those with stomach problems may want to avoid drinking tea completely, since it can stimulate the production of acid. If you are being treated with asthma, you may want to consult your doctor before drinking tea on a regular basis.


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