History and Background
Tea is one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world, second to water. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavor. It has almost no carbohydrates, fat, or protein. Tea is a natural source of the amino acid theanine, methylxanthines such as caffeine, and theobromine, polyphenolic and antioxidant catechins. Tea is the common name of the shrub Camellia sinensis, which has been cultivated for several thousand years in China. Tea is now widely cultivated in Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and other countries. The word ‘tea’ also refers to the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of this plant, which have been prepared and cured for the market by several recognized methods (Sheets).
Tea can be distinguished by Leaves of Camellia sinensis soon begin to wilt and oxidize if not dried quickly after picking. The leaves turn progressively darker because chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released. This process, enzymatic oxidation, is called fermentation in the tea industry although it is not a true fermentation: it is not caused by microorganisms, and is not an anaerobic process. The next step in processing is to stop the oxidation process at a predetermined stage by heating, which deactivates the enzymes responsible. With black tea this is done simultaneously with drying.
Tea is traditionally classified based on producing technique (Tong, 2005):
- White tea: Un-Wilted and unoxidized
- Green tea: Wilted and unoxidized
- Oolong tea: Wilted, bruised , and partially oxidized
- Black tea: Wilted, crushed, and fully oxidized
According to Mondal (Mondal, 2007), Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, among which the compounds closely related to human health are flavonoids (a type of polyphenol), amino acids, vitamins (C, E, and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. The health benefits of drinking tea are largely due to the consumption of flavonoids (Jonathan M. Hodgson, 2010). Scientists (Jonathan M. Hodgson, 2010) stated that one cup of 2g tea infused in hot water can provide 150-200mg of flavonoids.
Moreover, tea drinking has recently proven to be associated with cell-medicated immune function of the human body. Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal micro flora, as well as providing immunity against intestinal functions and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants, mainly catechins that have antioxidant properties. In green tea, the flavonoids are flavones (primarily catechins) including epicatechin (EC), epicatechingallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC) and epigallocatechingallate (EGCG). They are water-soluble and colorless compounds that contribute to the bitterness and astringency of green tea (Jonathan M. Hodgson, 2010). While for black tea, most of these catechins are oxidized to condensed flavonoids such as thearubigins and theaflavins (Jonathan M. Hodgson, 2010). In addition, the minerals and vitamins in tea increase the antioxidant potential (Cabrera, 2006).
Pu-erh tea or puer tea is a type of tea made from Camellia sinensis var. assamica, the “large leaf” variety of the tea plant.
It is hard to classify the puer tea since puer fits in more than one tea type. There are two types of puer teas: raw/green or ripened/cooked. Raw puer can be classified as green tea and ripened puer as black tea. Puer is well known for the fact that it is compressed tea and also that it typically ages well to produce a pleasant drink. Through storage, the tea typically takes on a darker color and mellower flavor characteristics. The prices of old puer can reach up to thousands of dollars per cake. Therefore, high-quality puer tea becomes the new fad in the investment market.
Drinking puer tea is reported to aid in digestion, reduce blood cholesterol, and lipid levels. It is also widely believed in Chinese cultures to counteract the unpleasant effects of heavy alcohol consumption. In traditional Chinese Medicine, the tea is believed to invigorate the spleen and inhibit “dampness” (Paajanen, 2006) (Hakim I.A., 2002). Puer tea is widely sold as a weight loss tea or used as a main ingredient in such commercially prepared tea mixtures. Though there is as yet no empirically backed evidence as to how puer might facilitate weight loss, there are widely proposed explanations include that the tea increases the drinker’s enzymes, thus reducing nutrient absorption.
Tea, Not Only a Healthy Drink
Tea has played a significant role in Asian culture for centuries as a staple beverage, a curative, and a status symbol.China has the earliest records of tea drinking, with recorded tea since the 10th century BC. In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China, who tested the medical properties of various herbs himself, found tea to work as an antidote. Laozi (ca. 600-517 BC), the classical Chinese philosopher, described tea as “the froth of the liquid jade” and named it an indispensable ingredient to the elixir of life. Laozi also started the national custom of offering tea to guests and prestigious people.
In 220, a famous physician and surgeon named Hua Tuo described tea’s ability to improve mental functions:” to drink bitter tea constantly makes one think better.”
In Tang Dynasty, Lu Yu (729-804 AD), remembered as Tea in China, wrote The Classic of Tea. The book describes how plants were grown, the leaves processed, and tea prepared beverage. It also describes how tea was evaluated. The b also discusses where the best tea leaves were produced. T produced in this period was mainly tea bricks which were o used as currency, especially further from the center of the empire where coins lost their value.
Due to its special status in Asian culture, tea ceremonies a hold in China and other countries in some important social events like weddings or formal meetings.
What is SmarTea™?
SmarTea™ is the customizable blend of different varieties of teas: black tea, whit tea, Oolong tea, green tea and puer tea.
Unlike the other tea extract in the market which only uses one tea as the raw material, SmarTea Blend provides you the alternative of experiencing the benefits of all kinds of teas including the most rare and expensive varieties.
Since teas are different in regards to their bitterness and caffeine content, AuNutra®‘s SmarTea Blend has adjustable flavor and caffeine content based on your needs by changing the relative ratio of the teas in the blend. It is the smart and new generation of tea extracts! You do not need to worry about the application of SmarTea Blend in your products because we will tailor it to fit you!
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Note: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.