Oolong tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a panacea that can treat everything from inflammation to metabolism. In recent years, these health claims have been supported by scientific research concerning oolong tea’s many beneficial properties.
What is Oolong Tea?
Like other types of tea, including black tea, green tea, and white tea, oolong tea is made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis tea plant, which is native to southwest China and northeast India. Oolong teas are partially oxidized, and fall somewhere in between black and green teas in terms of their oxidation level. These unique teas are often produced from specialized cultivars that have been developed over the course of decades. Oolong teas are often formed into tightly rolled balls that gradually unfurl as the tea steeps, making them suitable for multiple infusions. These teas tend to have a lighter body than black teas, but are a bit heartier than green teas, with floral and vegetal notes.
The Benefits of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is full of beneficial properties! These include:
1. Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy
Drinking oolong tea can help ensure that you have a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that consuming oolong tea can have a beneficial effect on people suffering from coronary artery disease. Drinking tea was also shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you’re looking to improve heart health, regularly consuming a cup of tea is an easy, tasty way to do so!
2. May Speed Up Metabolism
Oolong tea has a reputation for boosting your metabolism. While tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for this purpose, recent studies also back up claims about oolong tea’s metabolic benefits. Oolong tea can help to increase metabolism and energy expenditure. Oolong tea has also been shown to help tea drinkers maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.
3. Good for Your Skin
Whether you’re looking to clear up breakouts or cultivate a healthy glow, drinking oolong tea can be good for your skin! Studies show that oolong tea has anti-allergic properties, and can help to clear up skin problems like eczema. Drinking tea can also help you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Boosts Brainpower
Oolong tea contains both caffeine and l-theanine, a potent combination that can improve cognitive function and alertness, without any of the jitters or upset-stomach feeling that come with drinking too much coffee. Oolong tea contains about a quarter of the caffeine of coffee, making it a mildly stimulating beverage that can increase energy and focus. L-theanine is a unique compound found primarily in tea that reduces stress and produces a state of mental calm and clarity. Together, caffeine and l-theanine can help to increase attention and give your brainpower a boost!
5. Can Help Ward Off Degenerative Diseases
Oolong tea has also been shown to contribute to the prevention of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is in part thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.
6. Good for Your Microbiome
The gut microbiome has come under renewed study in recent years due to increased recognition of its function in promoting overall health and wellbeing. The microbiome consists of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and can help to defend against pathogens and boost the immune system. Oolong tea has been shown to favorably regulate the gut microbiome by increasing the levels of beneficial microorganisms.
7. May Help Prevent Cancer
Oolong tea is extremely high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help to prevent certain types of cancer. A recent study indicated that partially oxidized Fine Ti Kuan Yin Oolong tea has been linked to inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells. Consuming tea regularly has also been shown to lower the risk of ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and skin cancer. While studies concerning oolong tea’s cancer-fighting properties are still ongoing, it’s a safe bet that a cup of oolong tea can help to reduce your risk for a variety of cancers.
8. Good for Your Bones
Drinking oolong tea can also help to improve bone health. Studies have shown that oolong tea can protect against osteoporosis, a degenerative skeletal disorder that increases the risk of bone fractures and breaks. Oolong tea can also help to increase bone mass and bone strength, reducing the likelihood of injury.
9. Reduces Inflammation
Oolong tea has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be a result of temporary stressors, or can develop into chronic inflammation over a prolonged period of time. Since inflammation can often result in an increase in pain and diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Oolong tea contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe temporary pains as well as to protect against illness caused by chronic inflammation.
10. Good for Your Teeth
Oolong contains naturally occurring fluoride, which can help to protect your teeth against damage and prevent cavities. Studies have shown that oolong tea may also be able to reduce dental plaque. If you’re looking to improve your oral health and boast a happy, healthy smile, regularly drinking oolong tea is a good idea!
How to Prepare Oolong Tea
In order to prepare oolong tea, you should use about one teaspoon of tea leaves per six ounces of water. Oolong tea leaves expand when they are steeped, so you should be sure to give them plenty of room to spread out and use an infuser with extra room at the top. Heat cool, filtered water to approximately 195 degrees. You want the water to be not quite boiling, though a few bubbles are okay. Infuse the tea leaves for 2-3 minutes, then enjoy! Oolong teas can be infused multiple times, allowing you to enjoy different nuances of flavor with each successive cup.
Our Oolong Teas
We carry an extensive selection of both classic and flavored oolong teas. Whether you’re looking to explore oolongs because of their unique taste or outstanding health benefits, we’re sure to carry something that will suit your fancy!