Oolong Tea – Its history and superior health benefits

Featured, Oolong Tea — By on March 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Oolong Wulong teaOolong tea, also known as ‘Wulong’, is a traditional Chinese beverage made with tea leaves and a tea plant cultivar particular to the variety of tea being produced. The word oolong means “black dragon tea” although the reason for this name is disputed; the brewed tea is in fact dark brown in color rather than black. As one of the four types of tea – the others being green, black and white – oolong tea is especially popular in the south China region from where it originates.

The tea is created through a process that involves drying the leaves under the intense sun and then semi-oxidizing them. The tea leaves are fermented to between 8% and 85%, depending on the type of tea and production method being used. Those which undertake a longer aging process are more gentle on the stomach. Traditionally, the leaves were rolled until they are long and curled. This method is still used however many teas now use an alternative wrap-curl method that forms small beads with a tail from the leaves.

The many hundreds of sub-varieties of oolong tea produce a range of different flavors and aromas. Some are sweet and fruity with a fragrant scent, others are deeper and richer in taste and give off a woody smell. Some oolong teas taste fresh and have a floral scent, resembling green tea but without the grassy sharpness.

Oolong tea has many of the same health benefits as green tea. While the semi-oxidation process can reduce some of these merits, oolong tea is still one of the most nutritious beverages around. Like green tea, it contains polyphenols that work as antioxidants, preventing cell damage caused by free radicals that reside in the body. Additionally, oolong tea can help to lower cholesterol and provide protection against heart disease.

The tea is used to assist in weight loss for its fat burning qualities and as a treatment for digestive complaints. Oolong tea is said to encourage longevity by triggering essential body functions and fortifying the immune system. It also helps to form stronger teeth and bones that are more resilient to diseases including tooth decay and osteoporosis.

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