Pu-erh Tea – Nutritional Value, Health Benefits, Racipes

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Pu-erh tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used for making green, oolong, and black teas. Though the same source plant is used, the different teas are made by using different processes. Pu-erh tea is used for improving mental alertness and sharp thinking.

Pu-erh tea is a unique type of fermented tea produced in certain parts of China and provides a range of health benefits for those who regularly consume it.

Other Name

  • Arbre à Thé,
  • Camellia sinensis,
  • Camellia thea,
  • Camellia theifera,
  • Sheng pu-erh,
  • Shou pu-erh, Té Pu-erh, Tea, Thé Pu’Er, Thé Pu-Erh,
  • Thé Puerh,
  • Thea bohea,
  • Thea sinensis,
  • Thea viridis, Théier.

What is Pu-erh Tea?

This specialized type of tea is unique as it is fermented after being dried and rolled. Pu’er tea was first cultivated and distributed in the Yunnan Province of China, where it has been an important cultural staple for more than 2,000 years. There are varying ways to prepare pu-erh tea, including different durations of fermentation, from as little as a month to as long as years and decades. This process not only creates a unique flavor in the tea but also imbues it with surprising health benefits. Pu-erh tea undergoes something called post-fermentation; while black tea is also fermented, this specialized tea is then aged for an extended period. [rx]

There are a number of types of pu-erh tea, including both raw and ripe varieties. The raw type is typically sun-dried and compressed and is the traditional form of this tea. Ripe pu-erh tea, on the other hand, is rapidly aged tea, and undergoes a 45-day fermentation process in which the tea is kept perpetually damp in a “wet pile”. In terms of taste, it can be bitter, but the more it is aged, the richer the flavor becomes. There is a great deal of complexity in this tea, along with 60-70 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup. [rx]

Pu-erh Tea Benefits

Due to the unique fermenting process and existing nutrient levels in this tea, it offers many benefits, including aiding in weight loss, strengthening the immune system, and reducing cholesterol, among others.

  • Mental alertness – Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine seems to prevent a decline in alertness and sharp thinking when consumed throughout the day.
  • Heart health – Pu-erh tea contains caffeine, although not as much caffeine as other teas. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, and muscles. Pu-erh tea also contains antioxidants and other substances that might help protect the heart and blood vessels. There is interest in using pu-erh tea for lowering cholesterol because, unlike other teas, it contains small amounts of a chemical called lovastatin. Lovastatin is a prescription medicine used for lowering cholesterol. Investigators think that bacteria that sometimes contaminate pu-erh tea may somehow make the lovastatin in the course of their normal life cycle.

Animal research suggests that pu-erh tea might lower certain blood fats called triglycerides as well as total and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It might also raise “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

  • Obesity – Early research shows that taking pu-erh tea reduces body weight and tummy stomach fat by a small amount in overweight adults.
  • Weight Loss – This caffeine-rich drink is known to boost the metabolism and suppress the appetite, both of which can increase your passive fat-burning and also prevent overeating or snacking, helping you remain on track with your diet.[rx]
  • Boosts Immune System – There is a wide range of antioxidants found in this tea, which can support the immune system and reduce strain on it, by eliminating free radicals and preventing them from causing cellular mutation and oxidative stress throughout the body.[rx]
  • Protects Heart Health – Studies have found that this ancient tea is able to boost HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol, while also preventing the oxidation of cholesterol in the cardiovascular system, thus preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.[rx]
  • Aids in Digestion – Stimulating the gastrointestinal system is something pu-erh tea does very well by helping to speed the digestive process and clear up symptoms of indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach issues.[rx]
  • Boosts Energy Levels – With a good amount of caffeine, this energy-boosting drink has been consumed around the world as a natural source of healthy energy.[rx]
  • Improves cholesterol – Several animal studies have observed that supplementing with pu-erh tea extracts benefit blood fat levels (rx, rx, rx). Pu-erh tea extracts may help reduce cholesterol levels in two ways (rx). First, pu-erh tea increases how much dietary-fat-bound bile acid is excreted in the feces, thus keeping the fat from being absorbed into your bloodstream (rx). Second, in animal studies, pu-erh tea also decreases fat accumulation. Together, these effects can decrease heart disease risk (rx, rx).Yet, animal studies using concentrated extracts do not prove that drinking pu-erh tea will have the same effects in humans.
  • Inhibits cancer growth – In test-tube studies, pu-erh tea extracts have killed breast cancer, oral cancer, and colon cancer cells (rx, rx, rx). While these findings offer a promising starting point for future research, pu-erh tea should not be used as a cancer treatment. These studies involve applying highly concentrated extracts directly to cancer cells, which is not how drinking pu-erh tea would interact with cancer cells in your body. More research is needed to understand how drinking pu-erh tea would affect cancer cells.
  • May boost liver health – Because it can help decrease fat accumulation, pu-erh tea may help prevent or reverse nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a disease in which excess fat accumulates in your liver. However, this has only been noted in animal research so far (rx). Another animal study also found that pu-erh tea extract may protect the liver from damage caused by the chemotherapy drug cisplatin (rx).

This is a promising area of research, but human studies are needed before any claims about pu-erh tea and liver function can be made.

How to Make Pu-erh Tea?

You can purchase pu-erh tea leaves in a solid cake or as traditional loose-leaf tea. From there, the preparation process is quite similar for both. Take a look at the recipe below.

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Puerh Tea Recipe

Sip and enjoy a leisurely pot of this hot soothing tea!
  • Course: Beverage
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Keyword: pu-erh tea
  • Appliance: Stove, Tea infuser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 200 ml of water (filtered)
  • 3-4 grams of puerh tea
  • 1 tsp of honey

Instructions

  • To make Pu-erh tea, use 3-4 grams of this tea per 200 ml of water.
  • Break off a small piece of the pu-erh cake or add the loose leaves to a tea infuser.
  • Add a small amount of water and swirl it around.
  •  Discard this water, along with any impurities it may have eliminated from the leaves.
  • Add hot water to the leaves and allow them to steep for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the infuser and add honey or sweetener, if desired, to counter the bitter taste.

Pu-erh Tea Side Effects

There are some serious side effects that have been associated with this tea, particularly by those who consume it in excess. These side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Exacerbation of bleeding disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart irregularity
  • Gastrointestinal distress

These side effects are largely due to the caffeine content in this tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid using this tea. As with any healthy beverage, moderation is key to prevent unwanted side effects.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS & WARNINGS

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, pu-erh tea in small amounts is probably not harmful. However, do not drink more than two cups of pu-erh tea in a day. Too much caffeine might cause miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and harm to the baby.

If you are breastfeeding, moderation in drinking pu-erh tea is also important. Caffeine passes into breast milk, so nursing mothers should closely monitor caffeine intake to make sure it is on the low side. Caffeine in large amounts might be UNSAFE during breastfeeding. Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breast-fed infants.

  • Children: Pu-erh tea seems to be safe in children in amounts commonly found in foods and beverages.
  • Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in pu-erh tea might make these conditions worse.
  • Bleeding disorders: There is concern that pu-erh tea might make bleeding disorders worse because of its caffeine content. Use pu-erh tea with care if you have a bleeding disorder.
  • Heart conditions: The caffeine in pu-erh tea can cause irregular heartbeat in some people. Use pu-erh tea with caution if you have a heart condition.
  • Diabetes: Some research suggests that caffeine may affect the way the body uses sugar and might make diabetes worse. But the effect of caffeine-containing herbs and beverages such as pu-erh tea has not been studied. If you have diabetes, use pu-erh tea with caution.
  • Diarrhea: Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.
  • An eye disorder called glaucoma: The caffeine in pu-erh tea increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking pu-erh tea.
  • High blood pressure: The caffeine in pu-erh tea might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this effect might be less in people who use caffeine regularly.
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis): The caffeine in pu-erh tea can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of coffee). It’s also a good idea to get extra calcium to make up for the amount that may be lost in the urine. Older women with an inherited disorder that affects the way vitamin D is used should use caffeine with caution. Vitamin D works with calcium to build bones.

Interactions

AmphetaminesInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

  • Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with pu-erh tea.

Cimetidine (Tagamet)Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Cimetidine (Tagamet) can decrease how quickly your body breaks down caffeine. Taking cimetidine (Tagamet) along with pu-erh tea might increase the chance of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and others.

CocaineInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

  • Stimulant drugs such as cocaine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with pu-erh tea.
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EphedrineInteraction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

  • Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. Caffeine (contained in pu-erh tea) and ephedrine are both stimulant drugs. Taking caffeine along with ephedrine might cause too much stimulation and sometimes serious side effects and heart problems. Do not take caffeine-containing products and ephedrine at the same time.

Adenosine (Adenocard)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might block the effects of adenosine (Adenocard). Adenosine (Adenocard) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming pu-erh tea or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Some antibiotics might decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking these antibiotics along with pu-erh tea can increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heart rate, and other side effects.
  • Some antibiotics that decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

Clozapine (Clozaril)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril) to get rid of it. The caffeine in pu-erh tea seems to decrease how quickly the body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril). Taking pu-erh tea along with clozapine (Clozaril) can increase the effects and side effects of clozapine (Clozaril).

Dipyridamole (Persantine)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might block the effects of dipyridamole (Persantine). Dipyridamole (Persantine) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming pu-erh tea or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

Disulfiram (Antabuse)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Disulfiram (Antabuse) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea (which contains caffeine) along with disulfiram (Antabuse) might increase the effects and side effects of caffeine including jitteriness, hyperactivity, irritability, and others.

EstrogensInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Estrogens can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with estrogens can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects. If you take estrogens limit your caffeine intake.
  • Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might cause too much caffeine in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of caffeine.

LithiumInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • Your body naturally gets rid of lithium. The caffeine in pu-erh tea can increase how quickly your body gets rid of lithium. If you take products that contain caffeine and you take lithium, stop taking caffeine products slowly. Stopping pu-erh tea too quickly can increase the side effects of lithium.

Medications for asthma (Beta-adrenergic agonists)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the heart. Some medications for asthma can also stimulate the heart. Taking caffeine with some medications for asthma might cause too much stimulation and cause heart problems.
  • Some medications for asthma include albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin, Volmax), metaproterenol (Alupent), terbutaline (Bricanyl, Brethine), and isoproterenol (Isuprel).

Medications for depression (MAOIs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking pu-erh tea with these medications used for depression might cause serious side effects including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, nervousness, and others.
  • Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine might slow blood clotting. Taking pu-erh tea along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
  • Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

NicotineInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • Stimulant drugs such as nicotine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with caffeine.
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Pentobarbital (Nembutal)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The stimulant effects of the caffeine in pu-erh tea can block the sleep-producing effects of pentobarbital (Nembutal).

PhenylpropanolamineInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The caffeine in pu-erh tea can stimulate the body. Phenylpropanolamine can also stimulate the body. Taking pu-erh tea along with phenylpropanolamine might cause too much stimulation and increase heartbeat, blood pressure, and cause nervousness.

Riluzole (Rilutek)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) to get rid of it. Taking pu-erh tea can decrease how fast the body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) and increase the effects and side effects of riluzole.

TheophyllineInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine works similarly to theophylline. Caffeine can also decrease how quickly the body gets rid of theophylline. Taking pu-erh tea along with theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.

Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can increase the risk of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.

AlcoholInteraction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Alcohol can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with alcohol might cause too much caffeine in the bloodstream and caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and fast heartbeat.

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Birth control pills can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with birth control pills can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects.
  • Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), Ethinyl estradiol, and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

Fluconazole (Diflucan)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Fluconazole (Diflucan) might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with fluconazole (Diflucan) might increase the risk of caffeine side effects such as nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, pu-erh tea might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
  • Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Mexiletine (Mexitil)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination. Talk with your health provider.

  • Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Mexiletine (Mexitil) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking mexiletine (Mexitil) along with pu-erh tea might increase the caffeine effects and side effects of pu-erh tea.

Terbinafine (Lamisil)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

  • The body breaks down caffeine (contained in pu-erh tea) to get rid of it. Terbinafine (Lamisil) can decrease how fast the body gets rid of caffeine and increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heartbeat, and other effects.

DOSING

  • The appropriate dose of pu-erh tea depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for pu-erh tea.
  • Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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  • Please note - Elderberry does not smell and taste like a classic berry, and in fact, some people can be put off by the smell. It does have very important medicinal benefits, however.
  • HEALTH BENEFITS – Elderberry Tea boasts many health benefits, including strengthening the immune system, and supporting upper respiratory health. It’s a great source of antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and B, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and zinc.
  • ORGANIC – Our unadulterated Elderberry Tea is crafted from organic elderberries. Packed in bleach-free tea bags, always caffeine-free, enjoy a cup of Elderberry Tea any time of day!
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  • BUDDHA TEAS – Crafted without additives, using only organic or wild-harvested ingredients, we believe in living harmoniously with nature, not using it for profit. Our boxes are from 100% recycled material, making our teas good for the earth and you!

References

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