In recent decades, holistic health and the use of foods, supplements, and essential oils to maintain wellness and help curb the onset of disease have become increasingly popular. Green tea is widely touted as an aid to good health, but it's not the only leafy brew that's good for you. Many people drink Assam tea for its purported health benefits.
All tea contains caffeine. In moderation, caffeine increases alertness. Tea is especially effective as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon drink to combat sluggishness. Brewed coffee contains about 96 mg of caffeine per eight ounces, but black tea has only around 45 to 50 mg.
Studies suggest the antioxidants in Assam tea may also help combat the effects of free radicals on the brain, helping to prevent Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.
In addition to offering an energy boost, caffeine can impact metabolism. One study indicated that Assam tea can promote the production of good bacteria in the intestines. This changes the way the liver breaks down fats and produces energy, and some research suggests it could assist with weight management.
Studies show that drinking black tea regularly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing antioxidant levels and lowering LDL cholesterol. It also lowers high blood pressure and can ease complications of hypertension if it's consumed regularly.
Drinking black tea in combination with prescription medication — as indicated by a doctor only — has been shown to decrease plasma uric acid and C-reactive protein levels, benefiting people at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Research links diets rich in plant foods to a lower risk of cancer. Experts believe that this is largely due to the strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of polyphenols, which are plentiful in plant-based foods. Oxidation in the body causes free radicals, which damage healthy cells, and polyphenols stop the growth of certain cancer cells.
Green tea has been a popular source for these useful compounds, but research suggests black tea has a greater concentration of polyphenols.
Black tea appears to be effective in controlling type II diabetes; it modifies blood sugar after meals by absorbing the dietary glucose in the small intestine. One study demonstrated that the polyphenols in black tea are not absorbed easily so they stay in the intestines longer, affecting bacteria linked to leaner body mass. It is generally accepted that leaner individuals are less prone to type II diabetes.
Additionally, a recent study shows that countries consuming high amounts of black tea had the lowest levels of type II diabetes.
Assam tea helps with digestion, whether after a heavy meal or to ease persistent stomach trouble. Studies show that it can ease nausea and stomach upset and prevent bloating. It can also relieve diarrhea thanks to tannins, polyphenols that clean the intestinal lining, reducing the inflammation that can lead to loose stools. Multiple studies show that black tea helps with diarrhea, prevents stomach ulcers, reduces inflammation, and soothes irritation in the bowel.
Assam tea is high in antioxidants that fight cell damage and reduce premature skin aging — sometimes more effectively than expensive skin products. Flavonoids in Assam tea also protect skin from damage caused by UV rays. When ingested, it flushes toxins from the body. When used topically, some people find it helps firm skin, reduce pigmentation and inflammation, fade blemishes, and tighten pores.
Assam tea is harvested twice a year during what are called flushes. The first flush is in late March to early April. The second flush is more valuable, as gold tips appear on the leaves, and these are made into "tippy tea." This tea is sweeter and more expensive than the results of the first flush.
Assam is a black tea grown in the state of the same name, in northeastern India. After explorers landed in this part of the world, the British set up the Assam Tea Company, the first tea plantation.
Today most growers are members of the Assam Branch of the Indian Tea Association, which is the oldest and most prestigious group of tea producers in India. Assam tea was eventually planted in many other parts of the world, as it adapts well to different climates.
The Tea Camellia is a hardy shrub or tree used to make caffeinated teas. The small leaves produce green tea. The older and larger leaves are processed to make black and oolong varieties. Buds are used to make white tea.
The two major varieties are Camellia sinensis and Camellia assamica. Sinensis is the Chinese variety with smaller leaves, while the Assamica variety is from India and has larger leaves.
Differences in the taste of these teas are due to climate, harvesting, and processing.
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