Black tea

Black tea, the most common, is the basis for many types of tea. Several manufacturers of iced tea use black tea. It’s made from fermented and cured tea leaves. It has the highest caffeine content of any of the teas. Along with the other teas, it contains polyphenols, antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals – those that can cause cancer and other ailments. Black tea also helps to inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth, slowing down the formation of plaque. Drink your tea black if you’re using it for this purpose. Sugar helps bacteria grow, as well as the acid condition that lemons contribute to.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from steamed leaves. It is the highest in EGCG, one of the catechins (a type of antioxidant), that helps with weight loss. Green tea also helps to remove radiation from the body which makes it great for those on cancer treatment. It also contains micro nutrients that will help the body when stressed. There is still caffeine in green tea, but not as much as in black tea. I don’t care for the taste of green tea, which is kind of blah. Add lemon or stevia to perk it up, or like i did today, smash a few blackberries in it. You can also get the benefits of green tea from capsules or tinctures.

White Tea

White tea is the most mild of all the teas. It is made from the uncured, unfermented tips of the camellia tea plant. Like bean sprouts, the tips contain all the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that the plant needs to survive, but in a concentrated form. It is also the most concentrated in the cancer fighting EGCG. Steep white tea for only a few minutes or it will become bitter.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is partially fermented leaves of the tea plant. It’s said to be a cross between black and green tea. Some like the taste, some don’t. It combines the benefits of both types of tea.

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is fairly new to the Western world, but has been consumed for centuries. It is fermented and aged for a period of time, giving it a stronger flavor. It is a type of black tea that is pressed into cakes. From there it is brewed for a short time.

Herbal Teas

So if teas from the Camillia sinensis plant are the only true teas, what are herbal teas? Ok, they are not technically teas, but are often called so. Herbal teas are really tisanes, if steeped for a few minutes, or decoctions if simmered and left to rest. Herbal teas, and we’ll call them that here, have benefits all their own. Here are a few of the more popular ones:

  • Chamomile is great for stomach ailments and can help you sleep.
  • Passion Flower is also calming and can help you sleep.
  • Hops and Lemon Balm are also great sleep aids.
  • Valerian can help you sleep, but has a noxious smell. It’s recommended taking this as a capsule not as a tea.
  • Ginger is anti-inflammatory, about the same as an aspirin, and can help with joints, such as with arthritis. It is also great for nausea as it help calm the stomach. It is also warming.
  • Licorice root can help to regulate blood sugar and add sweetness without calories.
  • Nettle tea contains antihistamines. It can help combat hay fever and allergies. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.
  • Peppermint can help combat constipation. It can help improve memory and alertness. It has been used by some for nausea and headaches, like migraines. Try chocolate mint or citrus mint for a change. (See my article on mints here.)
  • Lemon Balm is also antiviral and can help fight illnesses. I used it last year to help fight a respiratory tract infection.
  • Ginseng is an adaptogen. It helps the body to deal with whatever life throws at it. It can also help improve circulation, which can help with sexual dysfunction.