Tea is made from the leaves, stems, and buds of the evergreen shrub- Camellia sinensis otherwise referred to as “the tea shrub”, a native shrub of East Asia (1). The black tea, green tea, and the delicious Oolong tea are all made from this plant. The process of making the Oolong tea starts immediately after the leaves are picked. The process ends in the pan firing stage after the leaves’ edges are reddened and aromatic substances are formed from partial oxidation. Oolong tea is a favorite, highly sought after for its health benefits. In this article, we share the nutritional value, benefits, and possible side effects of taking oolong tea.
What is Oolong tea?
Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese beverage that represents 2% of the world’s tea. Its origin is traced back to the Fujian province of China where it is still largely produced today. It is an intermediate between the green tea which is slightly oxidized and the black tea that is left to oxidize till it turns black. This traditional Chinese tea is also known as “wu long tea” is left to oxidize from 8%-80% which accounts for its robust taste and color (2).
The Oolong tea is made by naturally withering the freshly harvested leaves in direct sunlight. The withered leaves are then repeatedly shaken in a bamboo basket to lightly bruise their edges. After this, it is air-dried in the shade until the surface changes to a slightly yellow color (3). The Oolong tea’s flavor and color may vary widely depending on where it’s grown and how it’s processed. However, its benefits are universal and can significantly improve your skin, hair, and health.
What is the Nutritive value of Oolong tea?
Like all other teas, oolong tea has great nutritional value. It contains
- Vitamins A, B, C, and K
- An array of minerals
- The amino acid L- Theanine with antioxidant properties
- Polyphenols including Thearubigins, theaflavin, and EGCG – Epigallocatechin gallate. These polyphenols are responsible for the tea’s multiple benefits
- Caffeine, which specifically functions as a nerve stimulant (4)
How to make Oolong tea
To make this tea, the ideal ratio is 3gms of tea leaves to 200ml of water at a temperature of 200°F.
- Put the tea leaves in a pot of water boiled to a temperature of 200°F.
- Let the leaves steep for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Strain the tea into your drinking cup.
- Serve as desired.
- Great Oolong tea can be brewed from the same leaves 3-4 times.
15 Health and Beauty Benefits of Oolong tea
As stated earlier, drinking Oolong tea has many benefits to our hair, skin, and health in general. It contains an enormous amount of Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants which makes it beneficial in the following ways.
1. Improves Hair Growth
The dysfunction in the synthesis of dihydrotestosterone which results in hair loss can be best corrected by antioxidants. Drinking Oolong tea daily which has abundant antioxidants, can help you fight this dysfunction and repair hair loss. This results in a visible improvement of hair growth.
2. Removes Dandruff and Improve Hair Shine
The Oolong tea may be applied directly to the hair scalp to fight dandruff and itchy scalp. You may use the oolong leaves after they have been steeped 3-4 times to scrub your hair. It may enhance the shine of the hair strands and improve overall hair health.
3. Improves Appearance of the Skin
The skin may appear unhealthy for various reasons. Excessive loss of moisture may stimulate the skin to appear worn out, dull, dry, and saggy. Oolong tea may improve these skin condition in the following ways:
Fights Eczema – The anti-allergenic properties of the oolong tea antioxidants may bring relief to skin eczema. Oolong tea is used by many for this eczema treatment.
Fights Skin Aging – The antioxidants in oolong tea help in fighting the free radicals that make the skin age. Studies have revealed that drinking the tea and also rinsing your face with it may immensely help you fight aging processes.
Enhances Skin Glow – With its array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, drinking Oolong tea may help your body flush out toxins, eliminate free radicals and regulate metabolism. Your skin will automatically glow and look better when these needs are met.
4. Protects the Skin from Skin Radicals
The polyphenol compounds found in Oolong tea may help remove free radicals that may cause cancer, diabetes, aging, fatigue amongst many others.
5. Helps in Detoxification and Relaxation
The oolong tea contains antioxidants that may help detoxify the body and an amino acid that relieves anxiety and helps in body relaxation.
6. Improves Cardiovascular Function
The tea’s antioxidants may help improve heart health. Studies conducted in China and Japan suggested that the consumption of Oolong tea is associated with reduced cardiovascular challenges. Drinking this tea may help decrease the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and other heart diseases (5).
7. Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
The polyphenol antioxidants in the tea may help reduce insulin and blood sugar levels that could cause diabetes. Oolong tea drinkers may have a lower concentration of plasma glucose compared to non-drinkers (6).
8. Improves Brain Function
The oolong tea contains a reasonable amount of caffeine which helps in increasing alertness and attention. The amino acid Theanine also functions to protect the brain cells from the effects of aging. It improves information processing speed, cognition, brain focus, and retention abilities. Drinking Oolong tea may preserve brain efficiency at old age.
9. Relieves Anxiety
Theanine in Oolong tea may help relieve anxiety and increases dopamine levels which trigger the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction.
10. Improves Metabolism and Body Weight
The Oolong tea antioxidants have anti-obesity effects which may help boost metabolism (7). Hence, drinking tea may help in body fitness and weight management.
11. Improves Oral Health
The fluoride and antioxidant content of the oolong tea may keep your mouth immune to bacteria colonization. The fluoride also helps in calcium-phosphorus replacement which prevents enamel loss.
12. Helps in Bone Development
Minerals like magnesium and calcium, present in Oolong tea may help increase bone density, reduce the risk of fracture and protect against bone loss. Drinking the tea may also support bone-building and reduce inflammation by preventing oxidation-induced bone cell damage.
13. Boosts Energy Level
Oolong tea with its balanced caffeine and amino acid level may help boost energy levels to sustain mental and physical stamina (8).
14. Protects from Cancer
Oolong tea like its green and black counterparts may have a protective effect against cancers. The tea polyphenols content may help prevent cell mutation and decrease the rate of cancer cell division.
15. Improves Immunity
The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of the oolong tea may help in strengthening the immune system and keeping the body healthy.
What is the ideal quantity for consumption?
The European food safety authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) considers 400mg of caffeine which is an equivalent of 1.4-2.4 liters of Oolong tea, daily as being safe (9). Some experts have advised that 1litre of tea a day is enough.
- Excessive consumption of Oolong tea by a pregnant woman may affect fetal development which may increase the risk of miscarriage (10).
- People who suffer from diseases like ulcers, anxiety, kidney, and heart ailments are advised not to drink it.
- Consult your doctor to check for interaction between the caffeine in Oolong tea and certain drugs that could reduce or enhance the drug’s efficacy.
Possible Side Effects
Overconsumption of Oolong tea could have some side effects on you. Although it has a list of health and beauty benefits, excessive intake of it can lead to some bad health situations:
- Itchy skin
- Skin rashes
- High blood pressure
For centuries now, Oolong tea has been a favorite beverage to many people. Because its processing method falls between that of green and black tea, it has a unique taste and a balanced caffeine level. Its minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidant content is incredible and can significantly improve your hair, skin, mental and physical health. However, excessive consumption of tea may pose health challenges like insomnia and deterioration of overall health. Oolong tea is a tasty and healthy drink and has for generations now, greatly improved the diet and health of those who drink it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Oolong tea made from?
The oolong tea is made from the leaves, stems, and buds of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) – the plant that the green and black tea are made from.
Where is Oolong tea produced?
The origin of Oolong tea could be traced to the Fujian province of China. However, because of its unique taste and nutritional value, it is now extensively produced in other countries like Taiwan and India.
Can you drink Oolong tea every day?
With its many benefits, one may be tempted to drink it excessively which won’t be healthy for the body. One liter per day is enough.
How does Oolong tea taste?
Its taste greatly depends on the processing technique of the tea master. Oolong tea is oxidized at varying levels which leads to differences in flavor and color. The flavor ranges from faint to full-bodied, sweet to toasty, or floral to grassy. Its color also varies from green to golden and brown.
Does Oolong tea make you poop?
It contains caffeine which is a herbal laxative. Drinking Oolong tea may make you visit the small room more than you are used to.
Does Oolong tea burn fats?
Oolong tea speeds up metabolism, improves fat burning, and may lead to weight loss.
Can Oolong tea get you dehydrated?
Yes. The caffeine in Oolong tea like in other teas could lead to dehydration if it is overconsumed.
Can you take Oolong tea before bedtime?
No, do not drink Oolong tea around bedtime. Although it contains a lower amount of caffeine than black tea, it still has enough to disrupt your sleep.
Does Oolong tea increase blood pressure?
The caffeine content of Oolong tea may be unhealthy to people with heart diseases, ulcers, and high blood pressure.
Can you add some form of flavor to oolong tea?
Oolong tea has a complex flavor. To enjoy it, you’re advised not to add anything like sugar or milk.
- “Tea” – en.wikipedia.org
- “Chinese tea” -en.wikipedia.org
- “Oolong Tea Production” – thefragrantleaf.com
- “What is Oolong Tea and What Benefits Does it Have?” – healthline.com
- “Tea and Cardiovascular Disease” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antihyperglycemic Effect of Oolong Tea in Type 2 Diabetes” -researchgate.net
- “Anti-obesity action of oolong tea” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “How Your Favorite Cup of Tea Might Just Help You Age Better“- bicycling.com
- “Tea consumption and the prevalence of coronary heart disease in Saudi adults: results from a Saudi national study“- pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Side Effects and Risks” – puretaiwantea.com