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Check out the Functional Aspects of Tea

By Dr. Julie Monica

January is National Hot Tea Month.  And this winter especially calls for warm comfort with a healthy perspective. Understanding the most functional aspects of common teas can help our patients make better choices.

  • Herbal (teas): Caffeine – none, Tannins – none (because this “tea” is an infusion of leaves, seeds and roots, not really a tea), they have many modulating uses, i.e., passionflower tea is traditionally used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep, and studies have begun to truly support these uses.
  • Green tea: Caffeine -30-50 mg/8 oz., about ½ of an equal amount coffee. Tannins – some, but contains the most powerful polyphenols and anti-oxidants in comparison here, most notably ECGC, a liver detoxifier.  So powerful with consistent use that BP meds and others may need to be monitored as it can decrease effectiveness.
  • Black tea: Made from Camellia sinensis like green and all other teas but is fermented and blended with other plant leaves.  It is known for its strong flavors. Tannins – The most. Caffeine – the most, consistently 48 mg (or more)/8 oz.  But also has some antioxidant qualities and the highest theaflavin content, which is being researched for effectiveness in aiding cardiovascular conditions.

My go-to is herbal teas because they have less acid, are always caffeine-free, and they also have some very unique, delicious flavors.  They can help facilitate some functional goals.  Lemon Balm tea helps improve arterial elasticity. Rose hip tea contains over 500 mg/8 oz of vitamin C, and has anti-inflammatory qualities.

Hot or cold we should drink up.