There is an old Chinese legend that tells the story of how tea was born. Around 3,000 B.C. the emperor Shen Nung was traveling the countryside and ordered his water to be boiled. A sudden gust of wind blew a tea leaf into his hot cup of water and rather than pulling the leaf out, he let it steep and then drank the brew.
The history of white tea begins in the Chinese empire, with the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The white tea leaf was presented as a tribute to the emperor and was an inspiration for the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
The first written mention of white tea is in “Treatise on Tea” which was written by Emperor Hui Zong (1107-1110), praises white tea leaves as a rarity and luxury that were used to create floral-shaped cakes called “Kua”.
However, an obsession with white tea, unfortunately, caused Emperor Hui Zong to lose much of his empire, in his quest of finding the perfect tea leaf.
After falling out of favor in the following centuries, white tea started gaining popularity in 1769, with the development of the first Silver Needle Pekoe Tea. Less than a century later a higher quality white tea variety was developed after tea plants were found in Fuding County in Fujian. Silver Needle Tea was developed in 1885 and White Peony Tea in 1922.
Benefits of White Tea Oil
1. High in Antioxidants
White tea is loaded with antioxidants, which help fight off harmful free radicals and counteract oxidative stress to cells. These beneficial compounds have even been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Some research, like that published in the Journal of Food Science and conducted at the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehman College, has found that white tea and green tea contain comparable levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Green tea packs in tons of antioxidants and is even considered one of the top high-antioxidant foods.
Drinking a cup or two of white tea per day could make a major impact on your health. In fact, an animal study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that daily consumption improved antioxidant status and prevented oxidative damage in rats.
For best results, pair a cup or two per day with a diet rich in other antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and veggies.
2. Improves Oral Health
White tea contains many compounds that could help promote oral health, including plant compounds like polyphenols and tannins.
These compounds can help reduce plaque formation by blocking the growth of bacteria. Additionally, the fluoride found in the tea has a high bioavailability, which can prevent cavities. In fact, it’s estimated that about 34 percent of the fluoride in each cup is retained, according to research published in the Dental Research Journal — meaning it can help ward off cavities and give your oral health a boost.
3. Amps Up Fat Burning
Research has found that white and green tea have similar levels of catechins. Catechins are plant compounds with antioxidant properties that help kick-start fat burning and give your metabolism a boost.
A test-tube study out of Germany published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism showed that white tea extract induced a breakdown of fat cells and also prevented new fat cells from forming. (6)
Other natural fat burners include grapefruit essential oil, cherries, coconut oil, and bone broth.
4. May Kill Cancer Cells
Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, some studies have found that white tea could boast cancer-fighting properties.
A test-tube study published in Cancer Prevention Research treated lung cancer cells with white tea extract, which was found to kill off cancer cells. (7) Another test-tube study out of the University of Malaya in Malaysia showed that white tea extract was able to stop colon cancer cells from spreading and protect healthy cells against damage. (8)
In addition to tea, other antioxidant-rich foods include berries, ginger, turmeric, and leafy greens.
5. Improves Reproductive Health
Multiple studies have found that white tea may help promote reproductive health and boost fertility, especially in men.
In an animal study out of Portugal, giving prediabetic rats white tea was found to prevent testicular oxidative damage caused by free radicals, helping preserve sperm quality. (9) A 2016 animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry had similar findings, noting that giving white tea extract to animals with prediabetes improved sperm quality by increasing its ability to move and restoring its viability.
6. Protects Brain Health
Research shows that white tea may help protect your brain health due to its high catechin content.
A test-tube study from San Jorge University in Spain in 2011 showed that white tea extract effectively protected rat brain cells against oxidative stress and toxicity. Another test-tube study out of Spain published in Neurotoxicity Research also found that white tea extract prevented oxidative damage in brain cells.
White tea also contains a similar antioxidant profile to green tea, which has been shown to improve cognitive function in the elderly and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
7. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your blood. Although your body needs cholesterol, having too much can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, causing the arteries to narrow and harden. White tea benefits your heart health by helping lower cholesterol levels. In one animal study, treating diabetic rats with white tea extract resulted in a reduction of total and bad LDL cholesterol levels.
Other ways to lower cholesterol naturally include eating more high-fiber foods with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and limiting your intake of sugar, refined carbs, trans fat, and alcohol.
White tea is typically consumed freshly brewed and hot. Because of its subtle flavor, sweeteners and milk are not typically added, and it is often served on its own or with a light snack. A morning or afternoon tea break is the perfect way to fully appreciate this delicate hot tea.