The Fantastic Health Benefits of White Tea

by Roohi

You have tried black tea and green tea. Now it is time to try white tea. Take a look at some wonderful health benefits of white tea, good reasons to switch to this new variety.

The Chinese have been drinking white tea for more than a thousand years. However, the rest of the world has only just begun to realize its numerous health benefits and its wonderful flavor. Learn all about what is white tea, the different varieties you can choose from, and the health benefits of white tea.

What is white tea?

Here is a little tidbit that you should know about your tea leaves. All tea comes from the same source, that is, the Camilla Sinensis tea bush. While black tea goes through a complex fermentation process, green tea is not fermented at all. In fact, it is just simply steamed or pan-fried very lightly and then rolled gently. Oolong tea, on the other hand, is fermented, however, not as much as black tea. 

White tea is quite different from these three varieties of tea. It is made of buds and select leaves. These are steamed and dried which turns the silver fuzz on the buds to a whitish color. This is why it is called 'white tea'. Different varieties will use a different proportion of buds and leaves. 

Early spring is considered to be the best time to get white tea. The buds and leaves are hand-picked carefully. They are not picked on rainy or frosty days. These are then steamed and dried. The tea leaves and buds are only allowed to oxidize slightly. This is why it is the least processed of all tea varieties. 

The fact that it is made from leaves that are picked so early and are least processed is the reason for the many health benefits of white tea.

The taste and color of white tea

While it is called white tea because of the silver fuzz on the unopened buds, however, it is not that white in color on being brewed. It has a slightly pale color on being brewed. The taste itself is light and slightly sweet, and not at all too strong. Compared to green or black tea, it has a lower amount of caffeine and higher amount of polyphenols.

 

Health benefits of white tea

Let's take a look at some reasons as to why white tea is better for your health. 

 

Rich in antioxidants 

When compared to the other varieties, white tea is the richest source of polyphenols. These are plant compounds that work as antioxidants and protect the cells of the body from free radical damage. Since the leaves or buds are not fermented and are steamed immediately after being harvested, white tea has a higher concentration of polyphenols than the other varieties. This means that white tea will protect the cells of your body from damaging effects of free radicals which are responsible for accelerating aging as well as many chronic diseases. 

 

Prevents cancer 

Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol that have been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and also prevent the development of new ones. White tea is rich in flavonoids, which means that it offers protection against different types of cancers including colon and prostrate cancers. 

 

Promotes cardiovascular health 

White tea may reduce one's risk of getting coronary heart disease and stroke. It helps in reducing high blood pressure. Catechins found in white tea have been found to reduce 'bad' cholesterol and increase 'good' cholesterol. This means improved artery functioning and less blockage of blood flow. To summarize, 2 cups of white tea everyday will protect your heart, strengthen your circulatory system, and reduce your chances of a heart attack. 

 

Healthier bones, teeth and gums 

Studies have found that tea, in general, promotes high bone mineral density and we have already established that white tea is the most beneficial of all tea varieties. This basically means stronger bones and better protection against osteoporosis. It is believed that the fluoride and polyphenols present in white tea may be responsible for not only healthier bones but also for strong and healthy teeth and gums. 

 

Good for the skin, hair and nails 

One of the many health benefits of white tea is beautiful looking skin. By reducing the damaging effects of free radicals, white tea may help in reversing the aging process as well as in providing clear and radiant skin. It is believed that drinking white tea three to four times a day for at least three months will promote healthy skin, hair and nails. 

 

Other health benefits of white tea 

White tea may help in controlling blood sugar levels and thus preventing diabetes. It contains compounds that reduce stress levels and increase energy. It may also aid in weight loss since it raises the metabolic level, thus, encouraging the body to burn more fat.

Varieties of white tea

So, if you want to reap the health benefits of white tea, you will need to buy a pack of this wonderful variety. However, before you actually go on to buy white tea, you should know that there are four main varieties of white tea.

Silver Needle

This one is considered to be the best of white tea. It is made of only the silvery white buds and has a delicate, light and sweet flavor. For the best health benefits, pick this variety of white tea.

Rishi Organic White Tea, Silver Needle Loose Tea, 1.41-Ounce Tin (Pack of 2)

Reserve White Tea with a sublime, sweet flavor and rich, savory finish. USDA organic. Certified kosher. Certified Organic by QAI. Rishi white teas are made from authentic medium...

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The Tao of Tea, Silver Needles White Tea, Loose Leaf, 2-Ounce Tins (Pack of 2)

The tao of tea white tea silver needle, yinzhen, 100% organic, 2-ounce tin (pack of 2) is an organic, famous white tea with rich tea history. Known as ‘Bai Cha’ in Chinese, whit...

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Davidson's Tea Bulk, Silver Needles, 16-Ounce Bag

Exquisite tea, consisting of spring-harvested silver down-covered buds, prized for rich flavor and medicinal benefits.

$80.20  $64.88

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White Peony

White Peony contains one bud for every two select leaves. These are both covered with silver white hair. You will find the taste to be stronger and the color to be slightly darker in this case when compared to the Silver Needle variety.

Prince Of Peace (C) Tea, Og, Peony White, 100-Count

Prince of Peace Organic White Peony Tea 100 Tea Bags

$10.59  $5.40

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Boston Tea Finest Grade White Tea, Organic Peony Resealable Pouch

All the way from the Fujian province in China comes this delectable blend. Fragrant peonies, which symbolically mean the “flower of riches and honour” are blended with our delic...

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Coffee Bean Direct Peony White Loose Leaf Tea, 2 Pound Bag

After the tremendous response we had in offering White Tea, we decided to get an even higher grade. Originating from the Fujian province in China, Peony White Tea is plucked in ...

$38.00  $30.91

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Tribute Eyebrow

This one is of a further lower quality and is processed in a slightly different way than the other varieties.

Long Life Eyebrow

Once the Silver Needle and White Peony are harvested, the leftover leaves are used to make this variety of white tea. Not as beneficial as the above two but if you prefer its taste there is no harm in trying this one out.

Other varieties of white tea

There are also Darjeeling white tea from India and Ceylon white tea from Sri Lanka that may have slightly different flavors but nevertheless are rich in nutrients. The Darjeeling variety is made using a process that is similar to the Silver Needle variety. However, since the origin is different, the taste and nutrients are different as well.

Ceylon Tea, Organic Chinese White Tea, 100-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 2)

White tea comes from the youngest buds and leaves from the Camelia sinensis plant- the same plant from which green and black teas are derived. The leaves undergo virtually no ox...

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Numi Tea Spring White, White Tea, Full Leaf, Loose Tea 16 oz bag

Limited and rare, Bai Mu Dan white tea is plucked in the early spring in Hunan province, China just before the tea buds open. It brews a clear yellow liquor with a sweet aroma, ...

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Lipton Pyramid Tea Bags, White Tea With Island Mango & Peach Flavor, 18-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6)

First discovered in the Fujian province of China, LIPTON White Tea is plucked by hand from the tips of tea buds before the tea leaf blossoms, to preserve the natural goodness of...

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Try a Cup of White Tea Today!

So, are you ready to try this new variety of tea? Give it a try and you may find it to be something to your liking.

Read more articles on tea

Different Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits

Updated: 04/02/2013, Roohi
 
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Roohi on 04/08/2013

Hi cazort, being a tea drinker myself, I am always ready to try any brand and any variety. I will always go for a cup of tea rather than coffee not just because I find it quite to my liking but also because it does have more health benefits too.

Your suggestion of using shou mei, a type of white tea is surely valuable. i will try it and I am sure all tea drinkers will give shou mei a try as well.

Thanks for your valuable comments and suggestions!

cazort on 04/05/2013

I think some companies overstate the health benefits of white tea, relative to other types of tea. From what I've researched, all types of tea are healthy, including not only green tea but even regular black tea. I also think companies can understate the caffeine content of white teas in particular.

For example, Teavana's website contains the really bold statement that their white teas contain only 1% the caffeine of a cup of coffee--but when I actually started researching figures, I found that white tea can contain a lot more caffeine--especially silver needle.

One of my favorite types of white tea though, shou mei (longevity eyebrows), is very low in caffeine. It may be a "low grade" but I love this one...it has a pleasant fragrance of autumn leaves. I find it can be a little tricky to locate, but I've bought good ones from Upton Tea Imports, and also a good one from Life in Teacup.

Roohi on 09/14/2012

Thanks, Katie! I am glad you liked it.

katiem2 on 09/13/2012

As it happens I love tea and mangoes, what a great combination. Those tea bags are beautiful. I love how you can clearly see what's in them. So colorful and brilliant. Thanks for the great product introduction. :)K

Roohi on 09/09/2012

Thanks, Mira!. Good to know that it helped you.

Mira on 09/09/2012

Hi Roohi, I knew about white tea being even richer in antioxidants than green or black tea, but didn't know it could lower bad cholesterol and control blood sugar. I've been meaning to look closely into the health benefits of green, black, and white tea varieties, but never got around to it -- so thank you for another very useful article!

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