White tea originates from the leaves of the same camellia sinensis bush that black, green and oolong tea come from, but white tea is uncured and unfermented. Because of the minimal processing that white tea goes through, studies have shown that the polyphenols and other anticancer properties contained in this type of tea may be more potent and more effective in lowering the risk of disease in comparison to drinking other types of tea.
Many studies have been conducted on animals in the lab and on humans alike, but conclusive medical facts are still hard to come by regarding what effects white tea really has on the body. If you have a serious medical concern, talk with a healthcare adviser about your situation rather than trying to self-medicate with white tea. The consequences of self-medicating may be ineffective in treating an actual problem that warrants professional medical attention.
Possible Benefits of Drinking White Tea
Polyphenols have antioxidant properties and can protect against free radical damage. With flavonoids and other polyphenols, white tea has been shown in animal studies to inhibit cancerous growths. Although more research is needed in order to determine if the same benefits exist in humans, the early research shows some promising possibilities, particularly for those who would otherwise be at-risk candidates for colon cancer.
If cancer runs through your family or you have other reasons to think you might be particularly susceptible, don’t hesitate to talk with your physician about preventative measures to make the most of your situation. Consuming white tea may isn’t for everyone and a trusted professional might be able to direct you to more valuable strategies in helping you reduce the risk factors for serious diseases.
Reducing Cardiovascular and Stroke Risks
White tea may be able to reduce plaque buildup in your arteries and decrease the frequency and severity of stroke. The polyphenol antioxidants in the tea have been shown to help decrease cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and decrease the risks of cardiovascular disease.
However, caffeine affects some people negatively and can actually pose unwanted cardiovascular side effects including irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure for those who already have a problem with elevated levels. For such people, it can be dangerous to increase your caffeine consumption at all, let alone to increase it dramatically.
Before you start adding 5 cups of white tea to your daily routine, talk with your doctor. If you are on any medications, caffeine might negatively interact with what you’re taking and pose further health risks so do your research and proceed with caution.
Providing Antibacterial and Antiviral Support
In animal and lab studies, white tea has actually demonstrated some protective traits against harmful microorganisms, slowing viruses and bacterial growth while effectively reducing the occurrences of infections. The tea has also been shown to protect skin cells against ultraviolet radiation. To determine if the tea can really provide immune system support in humans, however, more research is needed.
If you are on any antibiotics or other medications while drinking multiple glasses of white tea, the medication can actually inhibit your body’s ability to break down the caffeine, which can worsen potential side effects of caffeine including nervousness, irritability and abdominal discomfort. Always be careful when combining alternative medicine approaches with prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Offering Anti-Inflammatory and Collagen-Preserving Effects
Drinking white tea has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be able to help reduce the risks of developing associated conditions such as certain types of arthritis. In some animal studies, white tea has even produced results similar to what a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like Aspirin, Aleve or Advil is able to deliver. The tea may also be able to help lessen the severity of age-related effects by slowing the breakdown of components like elastin and collagen.
Providing Germ-Fighting and Cavity-Prevention Possibilities
In some studies, white tea extract was actually added to traditional toothpastes and the results showed an increase in the toothpastes’ ability to kill germs and possibly prevent cavities. However, caffeine can block your body’s absorption of calcium, which can actually weaken bones and teeth so the total effect white tea has on your body may not necessarily be positive.
Dangers of Consuming White Tea
Facing Unknown Consequences
Although studies can suggest correlations between drinking white tea and experiencing health benefits, there are a multitude of unknown factors and variables in each case that could be influencing the results. In terms of scientific evidences that are widely accepted as medical proofs, the research is lacking and the actual benefits and consequences from drinking large amounts of white tea are unknown.
Intaking too Much Caffeine
Although the caffeine content of any given cup may be different, eight ounces of white tea generally has anywhere between 30 and 50 milligrams of caffeine. In studies where health benefits are reported, participants often drink somewhere between 3 and 6 cups of tea a day in order to ingest the amount of polyphenols and other compounds suspected of producing desirable results.
Because a large amount of caffeine can produce serious side effects including headaches, diarrhea and even cardiovascular problems, regularly drinking white tea could end up producing unwanted health setbacks for any given individual. Even though white tea has less caffeine than black and green teas, individuals should still be careful when integrating large quantities into their daily consumption patterns.
Although white tea tends to have more antioxidants and less caffeine than other related teas, participants who have benefited in studies are typically still required to drink somewhere between 5 and 6 cups of tea a day in order to see some of these claimed results. Consuming that much caffeine is a serious concern for some individuals including myself. Personally, I don’t want to deal with the consequences.
If you are not turned away by the unknown risks, you might be interested in pursuing the possible health benefits that can come from a regular consumption of white tea. Especially if you’re not used to drinking tea or caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, avoid dramatically increasing the quantity of tea you consume over a short period of time. Too much change all at once can heighten the side effects you might otherwise not suffer as much from.