Green tea is often praised uncritically for its health benefits, especially its antioxidant properties. However, according to ancient Chinese medical theory, unfermented green tea is cold in nature and harms the body’s stomach qi. In western biomedical terms, it is diuretic and reduces body fluids that are crucial for physiological processes.
A less well-known variant from China is called “Pu-erh” tea (pronounced poo-ahr). It is from the same plant as green tea, but the processing is different. Pu-ehr tea is fermented tea from the Yunnan province of China. Because it is fermented it improves with age. The fermentation process produces microorganisms that change the tea’s properties and its effect on the body. Unlike green tea, it is not cold and has zero astringency. Therefore, it promotes better digestion rather than harming the stomach qi like green tea. Pu-erh is fully oxidized, so it does not have as strong an antioxidant effect as green tea. But pu–erh has high levels of polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins, theaflavin) that result in many health benefits including acting as an accelerator for fat burning.
Some of the health benefits of pu–erh tea: antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, helps prevent photoaging, reduces toxins, aids digestion, reduces stress and anxiety, improves sleep, lowers bad cholesterol, improves metabolic syndrome symptoms and blood sugar management, helps weight loss, promotes bone health, prevents heart disease, anti-cancer.
Aside from its health benefits, pu–erh tea has a unique flavor that gets better with age.