Medicinal Tea : PU-ERH TEA

The restorative and medical properties associated with Pu-erh tea is truly astonishing. Often referred to as the “Wonder Tonic” and the “Medicinal Tea”, Pu-erh tea has been hugely popular in China for over 1700 years. For centuries it was given as a tribute to the Emperor and high ranking officials within the Imperial Courts of China. Its high value and many health benefits lead to high demands and the frequency of the tributes gave it the title “Tribute Tea”.

Accounts on the health benefits and medical use of Pu-erh tea has been documented in various ancient scripts and famous books throughout Chinese history. Pu-erh tea is strongly believed to have wide ranging health benefits from anti aging, prevention of heart disease and cancer, diabetic control, removal of toxins to curing dysentery, inflammation, aiding digestion and weight loss, improving the eyesight, blood circulation and reviving those who are overly intoxicated with alcohol.

In many traditional Chinese restaurants especially those serving dim sum dishes Pu-erh tea is the customary drink served. Its ability to break down oily and fatty food and aid digestion makes it an ideal drink to have alongside delicious Chinese dishes that are often high in fat. After a heavy meal drinking Pu-erh tea is said to help clean the intestines and stomach. In some quarters Pu-erh tea is used as a slimming tea and consumed to assist with weight loss.
Pu-erh Tea
This unique tea is only just starting to become known in the Western world

What makes Pu-erh tea so unique? Well, just about everything. The growing conditions of the region, the kind of tea used, and an unusual fermenting process all add up to this very special tea.
As with many varieties of teas and coffees, Pu-erh is named after the region where it was first harvested. There is a small town in the Yunnan province called Pu-erh, and trade in this type of tea was very heavy there. They harvest the tea from a broad-leaved variety of tea, that is supposedly a very ancient strain of tea.

All teas have a wide spectrum of health benefits, but Pu-erh has an extra one. Drinking Pu-erh tea can help reduce cholesterol, according to scientific studies. By helping digestion (particularly of fatty foods), Pu-erh is the perfect tea after a heavy meal.

As for the special processing, I found conflicting information. Some sites said that Pu-erh tea is double fermented, whereas another called it semi-fermented. Another site just said there was “secret processing”. I guess I will have to make a trip to Yunnan province and find out for myself.

The brewed tea is darkly red, and has a bold, earthy taste. For optimum brewing, use boiling water. Unlike most other teas, Pu-erh is usually purchased in a compressed state rather than loose leaves. The leaves are pressed together during processing into a variety of shapes. The ‘tea bricks’ once used as currency were typically made with Pu-erh tea. You just shave off some tea from the brick or ball, into your teapot.

The flavour of Pu-erh is often under-appreciated, because it actually gets better with age. Letting it mellow will improve your cup of tea. You can buy very old samples of Pu-erh, but they will cost you. Some aged Pu-erh has been in storage for several years. Think of it as you would a fine wine.

The long term consumption of Pu-erh tea is believed to help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and play an important role in preventing heart disease and cancer. Pu-erh tea made from wild old tea trees are reputed to be more potent, containing strong Qi (translated as “life energy” or “life force”) that boosts the blood flow and helps the body’s circulation. This as a result aids the removal of toxins and can cure minor aches and pains.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by John Read on January 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I can endorse these teas, my wife started to drink puerh, oolong and green because her Chinese friend told her to drink green for energy, oolong for weight loss and puerh after eating fatty food and drinking alcohol. Two years later she’s got me on it. Tea Cargo have an offer on their website for their organic collection which she buys all the time.


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