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Yellow Tea - the "new" Green Tea for Health Benefits?
Copyright 2011 - Kris Heeter
Step aside green tea, there's a "new" tea in town.
That's right, Yellow Tea is hitting the streets and gaining popularity...
Research suggests that it packs a healthy punch that may just match up to or be better than green tea.
Antioxidants? It hasn't been completely flushed out yet but yellow tea may have more cancer-fighting power than green tea. Yellow tea may also be better at fighting liver toxicity.
Let's take a look...
Have you tried yellow tea?
Of the six predominant teas of china - which do you prefer?
Yellow Tea's History
Over two thirds of the world's population drink tea. Major tea producing countries include China, Japan and Indonesia. Although, tea as a commodity is becoming quite popular in other countries as well.
There are six major tea classifications from China: black, green, oolong, pu-euh, white, and yellow. These six all come from the plant Camellia sinensis.
Yellow tea has been around for centuries, but is considered to be a rare tea because of it's more complex methods of harvest and preparation. And, it's relatively "new" to Westerners.
Leaves for yellow tea are harvested when they are young - earlier than for green tea. Yellow tea is then oxidized (or fermented) for a longer period than green tea. It is not completely oxidized like oolong or black tea. The lighter color in the tea leaves comes from a slower drying phase.
Is Yellow Tea Healthier Than Green Tea?
The jury is still out on this but there are indications that yellow tea is just as healthy, if not more, than green tea.
Green tea has always been touted for its antioxidant and cancer-fighting abilities. A long history of scientific research backs many of the health claims. The antioxidant levels of yellow tea, however, have not yet been extensively studied. It has been hypothesized that yellow tea will have similar if not higher antioxidant levels due to the early harvest and slower drying phase. White tea is also thought to have higher antioxidant levels but, again, the studies on this are not extensive yet.
Phenolic compounds in the tea leaves are the antioxidants. There are several different phenolic compounds, one in particular, epogallocatechin (egcg), has been attributed to beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, and the digestive system. Antioxidants in tea have also been implicated in lowering blood sugar levels, particularly with respect to diabetes, and in improving mental health.
Yellow tea has been recently noted, in a 2007 scientific study, to have higher capabilities of suppressing liver toxicity more efficiently than green, white, black, oolong, and pu-erh teas.
Finding Yellow Tea
Finding yellow tea here in the United States is a little challenging - it's not something that you will easily find in a main grocery store. Some specialty stores may carry it and there are some online sources - for example:
Hashimoto et al. Yellow tea is more potent than other types of tea in suppressing liver toxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats. Phytother Res. 2007 Jul;21(7):668-70.
Kuroda and Hara. Antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic activity of tea polyphenols. Mutat Res. 1999 Jan;436(1):69-97.
National Cancer Institute. Tea and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limits of the Evidence - http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/tea