A quick snapshot of the 6 kinds of tea and their health claims – green tea, white tea, oolong, darjeeling black tea, rooibos and yerba mate.
Green tea: Not fermented and, therefore, generally contains more antioxidants than other teas. Less caffeine than black tea.
Health claim: Vitamin C helps immune system and promotes good health. Contains fluoride that helps strengthen bones and prevents cavities.
White tea: Comes from the bud of the tea plant, has little to no processing and therefore has more antioxidants than even green tea and has less caffeine than green tea. Its popularity is growing, but it’s expensive because it is harvested during a very short time in the spring.
Oolong: Not as processed as black tea but more so than green tea. Has a richer flavor than green tea but more delicate than black.
Health claim: Helps with indigestion and lowers cholesterol, boosts metabolism.
Darjeeling: High-quality black tea (fully fermented, containing more caffeine than other teas but still only half as much as coffee).
Health claim: Lowers risk of stroke. High concentration of flavonoids helps reduce clotting and acts as an antioxidant.
Rooibos: Natural source of antioxidants with high level of flavonoids. Caffeine-free.
Health claim: Helps soothe upset stomach and diminishes hay fever symptoms. Reduces insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension and hypertension.
Yerba mate: Not derived from the tea plant, but from an herb that was believed for years to contain no caffeine. Scientists recently discovered, however, that mate does have caffeine.
Health claim: energizes body, boosts immunity, tones nervous system, eliminates insomnia, aids weight loss and is a gentle diuretic.
(By Virginia Anderson, June 2006, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)