There are many different types of tea, each with a unique taste and health-enhancing properties. Here are some of the benefits and practical uses of five common kinds of tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Green Tea. Made from Camellia sinensis leaves, green tea has potent antioxidants called catechins, which help eliminate free radicals responsible for DNA damage. Because green tea is minimally processed compared with other teas, the catechin is more concentrated. Drinking green tea can help improve acne, and the leaves can be applied as a facial mask.
Black Tea. Higher in caffeine than most other teas, black tea can help wake you up without coffee. Black tea is more oxidized than other teas, giving it a darker color and stronger flavor.
The oxidation process involves exposing the tea leaves to humid, oxygen-rich air, but it does not destroy the antioxidants. Like green tea, black tea helps keep skin clear. Rinse your hair with black tea to keep it strong.
Oolong Tea. Partially oxidized, oolong tea has depth and smokiness while keeping a crisp, light taste. Oolong tea is made from the leaves, buds, and stems of Camellia sinensis.
Often sold in little balls that unfurl in hot water, oolong is known to fight tooth decay and is good for skin allergies like eczema. It is also said to improve mental alertness.
Pu Er Tea. Pu er is a fully fermented tea that gets better the longer it sits. However, it can develop mold and become stale, so smell it and do a small taste test before gulping a cup.
Made from the Camellia sinensis leaves and stems, pu er tea does not have as much caffeine as other teas and is especially good for those who want to lower their cholesterol.
White Tea. A light tea with a floral, fresh, slightly crisp taste, white tea is made from the young leaves and buds of Camellia sinensis. White tea is the least processed of all teas, leaving it with little caffeine and an anti-oxidant power that some say is greater than that of green tea. In ancient China, only the empress was allowed to drink white tea.
Additional reporting by Asian Beauty Secrets, NTD Television