Daniel Lui's Blog

Daniel Lui's Blog

Tea + Health Benefits: What to believe?

People come to my tea shop every day asking for a tea (whether it’s oolong tea, pu-erh tea (puerh), or white tea, for example) that will help them with their medical problems. This is not surprising as many tea shops make fantastical medical claims about what their tea will do for their customers.

Most people I speak to are quite healthy and are interested in improving things like their energy levels, skin, sleep or digestion. Sometimes they are even sent by their medical doctor. But some have more serious conditions and are hoping for a magical cure. This makes me very sad.

I have noticed that people often quote a scientific study that supports a particular medical benefit of drinking tea (ie: in the western scientific tradition of publication and peer review using methodologies that can be duplicated by others). But a single scientific study on one particular benefit is not a scientific fact. Many people saying that they have experienced a certain benefit doesn’t make it a fact either.

Unless drunk to excess, it doesn’t appear that anyone ever suffered from drinking tea so it’s probably not a big risk and the effects are probably more positive than negative. Whether a tea should be used as a medical treatment  to cure a specific ailment is another matter and if what works for one person will work for another is something else altogether.

I drink lots of tea and am quite healthy. Is it because of the tea or am I just a healthy person? Some will say yes and others will say no.

All one can say for sure at this point in time is there are many promising studies but little consensus within the scientific community about the health benefits of drinking tea. There is however many centuries of study in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and there is substantial literature available on every type of Chinese tea and their health benefits (some are listed here) as well as research on many things that western science does not even acknowledge exists.  It really comes down to what one wants to believe.

For now, I enjoy tea for its wonderful taste and the enjoyment of sharing the experience with friends. Who knows, this might be the best medicine of all.

To learn more about all types of tea, and to find the tea best to suit your tastes, check out The Chinese Tea Shop’s Tea Wizard here. Or come by the shop and enjoy a cup of fine tea with us!

My next post further explores some of the opinions, myths, and facts about tea and caffeine. Click here to learn more.

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