Published: 12/22/2005 - Updated: 08/13/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Do you want to protect your teeth while you reduce your weight and decreases in volume? Drink tea. Besides being the second most consumed beverage in the world, it is one of the few foods that are rich in fluorine.
Says a Bodhi-Danna legend, the founder of Zen, only prayed and fasted but each night struggling to stay awake, thinking. But one night he fell asleep, angry at his weakness, tore off his eyelids and threw to the ground and the place erupted later unknown bushes, which led to the tea tree.
Tea is derived from the dried leaves of the shrub of the same name. The best teas come from the terminal buds of shoots called pekoe and two pages that follow. Therefore, this term does not indicate a variety of tea, but the plant from which it comes. Prior to use, the tea leaf goes through several treatments and the procedure used is get different varieties of tea.
Botanical survey of Tea
Tea is one of the world's known plants, in fact, its cultivation is widespread in all tropical areas of the planet.
Description of the tea plant
The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes are leaves, but depending on the process to submit, you get different teas.
Tea belongs to the Teacea family. It is a small evergreen tree that can grow to 5-10 m tall in the wild, usually doesn’t exceed 2 m in height.
Its acute leaves are dark green, alternate and are arranged generally measure between 5-10 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, a feature with these leaves is that they are toothed at their 2 / 3 parts superiors. The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes are the leaves.
It has delicate creamy white or pink flowers, which give off a pleasant aroma. They are small and are arranged in groups of solitary or 2 or 3 flowers.
Each flower has 5 sepals, petals oval and between 6-9. The fruit is a small round capsule, inside which the seeds are located.
Although native to Southeast Asia, from India and Sri Lanka to China or Japan, the tea grows extensively in the tropics and subtropics.
Near Ecuador, it can be found up to an altitude of nearly 2,000 meters.
Growing and harvesting conditions
For growth to be optimal tea, requires well-drained soils rich in organic matter and slightly acidic pH. As for temperature, ideally ranging between 14-27 º C (although it is evergreen, tolerates no frost). It needs sun and water.
The root hairs are very thin, so it is very sensitive to lack of moisture, which can cause the plant to dry. When in full bloom, we need a more abundant. Harvesting takes place when the plant reaches an age of 3 years
Depending on the birthplace of tea, climatic conditions vary and this is why there are different varieties of green tea, each with some peculiar characteristics in terms of smell, taste and color of the tea ready.
Harvesting takes place when the plant reaches an age of 3 years, and is usually repeated three times a year. Young shoots are chosen which are composed of 5-6 leaves arranged around a closed terminal bud.
Chemical study of Tea
Tea leaves contain 5-6% water and 4-7% mineral salts, especially rich in potassium and manganese. Other minor compounds that are also found in tea are organic acids such as malic, succinic, and oxalic; glucidic compounds as inositol, reducing sugars, gums and pectin, and even a small percentage of lipids.
Among the active principles responsible for the therapeutic activity of green tea highlight its polyphenolic compound content (3%), which are of three types: flavonoids, catechins and tannins.
It is important to note that the polyphenols decrease with plant age and harvest time, for plants of the same age, is lower in spring and peak in August-September.
Among the flavonoids, the most important are the kemferol, quercetin and miricetol. The catechols are more abundant in the fresh plant and green tea, black tea that, among these, the most active are catechol, epicatecol and their esters with gallic acid.
Finally, it also contains condensed tannins catechic (8-25%). It also has a small amount of essential oil (0007-0014% in the fresh leaves), which is higher in black tea because it is formed during the fermentation of the leaves.
Remember that green tea undergoes stabilization and drying of water vapor, while black tea, does suffer fermentation and drying. This essential oil contains hexenol, and small amounts of aldehydes, butyraldehyde and isobuteraldehido and phenolic alcohols, geraniol, linalool and citral. It is important to note that the polyphenols decrease with plant age and harvest time.
Perhaps, of all tea components, alkaloids (2-4%) are the most popular. These purine derivatives, known more commonly as 'xanthic bases', the most abundant are caffeine and theophylline.
In the fresh plant, caffeine is combined with organic acids to form a compound known as 'tanoide'. This is the reason that black tea has a more stimulating action on the nervous system, green tea, because during the fermentation process breaks this tanoide freeing caffeine. Finally, we cannot forget to mention the presence of vitamins and enzymes.
Properties of Tea
- War on extra kilos: Tea is a perfect drink to control excess weight, not only because it provides calories, but because it provides satiety, and recent studies seem to increase heat production (thermogenesis) by having the individual consumes more calories.
- Moreover, as also stimulates the kidneys, increase urine output, it is appropriate to combat water retention and reduce body volume.
- Awaken your senses: Tea contains alkaloids that three substances are stimulants, delay fatigue and sleep, and increase attention span. These are caffeine (also found in coffee and cola), theophylline (specific tea) and theobromine (which also the chocolate contains).
- In moderate doses these substances act heart rate and toning the nervous system, thus facilitating the intellectual work. It also stimulates urine output (they are diuretics). However, if taken in large doses, cause irritability, anxiety, insomnia, etc.., So abuse is not healthy consumption.
- Effects on the gastrointestinal tract: The tea is also rich in tannins, which owes its astringent antidiarrheal, and therefore should not be consumed by people prone to constipation.
- Source of fluoride: Tea is a unique source of fluoride. One cup contains 0.3 mg, one third of our daily needs. This mineral increases the stability of bones and teeth, while reinforcing the strength of the tooth substance and acts on the bacteria into the tooth, preventing its development, which is used to prevent tooth decay.
How to make tea?
It's much better to use a loose leaf tea in a teapot and pour boiling water containing. The caffeine and tannin content depends on the time of infusion. In the first three minutes the leaves release caffeine, and if left longer, the tannins.
A prolonged infusion changed little caffeine content, but rich in tannins, which are the ones that give the tea strong and bitter taste, it does vary. For a lighter tea is best hot water is added to decrease the concentration of caffeine or reduce the infusion time.
Types of Tea
The main types of tea (yellow, white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh and flavored) and the many existing varieties within each category, totaling more than 3000 different around the world are the result of different methods processing of the same tea plant.
- Black tea: This represents 95% of production. The leaves have suffered a long fermentation gives them their characteristic color and perfume, and dried in the sun. The most famous black teas are China, Ceylon and India.
- Green tea: It has not been fermented. After harvesting the leaves dry steam. It is consumed mainly in Muslim countries. It is very aromatic, rich in tannins and contains less caffeine than black, making it the most desirable This is obtained from the same plant as black tea, Camellia sinensis, but it is a different process. The key is that properties are set buds, young leaves, petioles and stems and dried to prevent fermentation and consequent loss of valuable active ingredients. However, not to think that it is a modern process, created specifically to preserve its medicinal properties. Yes it is a traditional technique improved the science now recognizes the ability to preserve beneficial substances such as catechins health.
- Pu-erh or red tea: red tea's name comes from Pu-erh Prefecture in Simao District, located in southern Yunnan. In Cantonese is called Bolei. This tea is actually green tea gets its unique character by a subsequent maturation process, during a long storage under controlled conditions, a specific bacterial strains originally transform green tea into red tea, Pu-erh. The Pu-erh develops a earthy aroma, almost smoke, which can not be compared with any other kind of tea. This last time it has become fashionable consumption of this variety in the West, because of its many medicinal properties, so it's much easier to enchant on the markets or homeopathic store.
- Oolang tea: It comes from Taiwan. Suffers a partial fermentation. Its leaves are grayish green and the flavor is more intense than green tea but more delicate than black tea.
- Rooibos Tea: This Red tea, also known by the name Rooibos comes from a South African plant (Aspalathus linearis). The plant is distinguished by a bush whose stem bark is smooth, which is divided into several branches of equal size, which in turn leaves are thin, weak, soft and sharp as needles that are about 10mm in length that can grow singly or in bunches. The plant can grow up to 1.5 m. height may vary according to climate and soil conditions where it occurs. It has more antioxidants than green tea and is said to improve insomnia, depression and mild stomach upset. To get the best of this drink, which contains no caffeine, is preparing to stop the infusion for ten minutes or more.
Blend and flavored
The possibility of mixing is limited only to the taste of each.
As we usually mix some smoking tobacco in our pipes and manufacture our own cigars flavored itself with the tea: jasmine petals on the classic black tea, lemon leaves, anise, fresh mint with green tea.
Generally to flavor tea, airtight container is needed, willing to experiment and time.
Store in a glass jar that can be basing your green tea or black tea with cloves, cinnamon, lemon or orange peel, petals of different flowers, anise seeds or small slices of ginger, sun-dried fruits, peppercorns, etc., eventually mixes will be more intense and deep, and the effect of boiling water give off essential oils to mix in the infusion, and release the aromas creating a tasty tea.
An important aesthetic contribution is that between the strands of tea can be distinguished elements have been added for flavor, like the petals whole cloves or a half games.
Added to this we must not forget that beauty is a kitchen galleries adorned with bottles of homemade flavored teas.
All tea companies create their own mixes to suit different tastes and different times of day. Although there are no strict rules about the teas that should include some classic blends often contain similar ingredients.
- English Breakfast Tea: A selection of broken leaf teas of the classical regions. Strong tea, very aromatic with lots of golden tips.
- Irish Breakfast Tea: Infusion very hard, dark mix of the best teas of Asthma and Sumatra
- Russian Tea (Samovar tea): Famous following the Russian formula.
- Chinese black tea: with a hint of smokiness.
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