Tea has been recognized from its inception for its medicinal properties. Several
studies have been undertaken to research the health benefits of black tea
The polyphenols present in tea are active anti-oxidants, which are thought to
act protectively against cardiovascular disease risk and carcinogenesis.
The free radicals found within us, are oxidants, which are very active, combining
with a variety of other chemicals to cause undesirable effects. Polyphenols and
other compounds in tea neutralize the free radical oxidants by reacting with
them, in effect acting as free radical scavengers.
In green tea, which has not gone through an oxidative fermentation process,
natural constituents known as "Catechins" have similar anti oxidant properties
to the vitamins A, C & E. General results so far obtained by in-vitro
experiments, animal experiments or human interventional studies have suggested
that tea Catechins may contribute towards the prevention of cardiovascular
related diseases. These benefits of tea Catechins derive from their potent
antioxidative and free radical scavenging capacity. With improvement of
techniques for identification, black tea Polyphenols may also be found to be
linked to the beneficial effects of tea. "Theaflavins", which give the colour to
black tea, are also powerful anti-oxidants and have q substantial contribution
to the NO scavenging of black tea.
The Inter-Governmental group on Tea in 1992 proposed that the Common Fund for
Commodities under- take research on the health benefits to humans on the
consumption of black tea. The studies have produced positive results in the
contribution to preventive effects of some biomarkers of carcinogenesis, and
suggested a possible mechanism of association with a reduction in cardiovascular
risk. Studies are also being done on the beneficial effects of tea on dental
enamel, caries and oral bacteria.
Apart-from these effects, tea also plays a part in human nutrition and is widely
accepted as a healthy low caloric drink.
“Tea is the beverage of ceremonious people, and like the dense monsoon
rains, it is both calming and stimulating, encouraging conversation and
relaxation…. Ideas and traditions seep slowly in its steamy transparence”