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What is white Ceylon Tea and what are the health benefits?

What is white Ceylon tea?

White Ceylon tea
White Ceylon tea

Ceylon white tea is a unique and delicious form of tea from Sri Lanka. Its uniqueness comes from the way it is processed. Ceylon white tea is processed from the freshly sprouted leaf tips of the tea plant. These long tea buds are covered with dense hair which makes the leaves appear a bit fuzzy. Due to this form of processing, the final brew has a certain creaminess and a subtle natural taste. It is delicate in flavour and lacks the astringency and grassiness of black tea and green tea.

White tea is traditionally grown in the mountains of Fujian Province, China, and consists of the first tender buds. Ceylon white tea from Sri Lanka is amongst the most premium qualities of white tea. Unlike green and black tea, white tea is not rolled or oxidized. In fact, it is merely dried with no additional processing. In certain cases, it is steamed a bit before drying. The essential step in the manufacturing of white tea is the time of plucking the leaves. Young leaves with fine hair produce the best results. Like other forms of tea, white tea is also processed from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Despite its name, white tea in its brewed form is pale yellow. In fact, it’s called white tea on the basis of fine silvery-white hairs on the fresh buds that contribute significantly to its taste.

What nutritional value does white tea contain?

Ceylon white tea is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Polyphenols are nutrients that have huge health benefits. Catechins are a special category of polyphenols and white tea contains large quantities of it. It’s said that white tea has a similar range of polyphenols as that in green tea. White tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate, which is a special kind of catechin which is capable of fighting chronic diseases like cancer.

White tea also contains tannins, however, the quantity is lower in comparison with other kinds of tea.

It also possesses antimicrobial properties that prevent the occurrence of diseases. It also contains caffeine. There are 28 milligrams of caffeine in one 8oz. a cup of white tea.

White tea also contains organic compounds and anti-ageing substances that can help to reduce oxidative stress and prevent certain chronic diseases.

Caffeine content may vary depending on the plant varietal, processing, and brewing methods. 

Loose leaf White Ceylon tea
Loose leaf White Ceylon tea

What are the health benefits of White tea?

1. Weight management

White tea is known for its effect in burning the existing fat cells and preventing the formation of new ones. Owing to its quality of being less processed, it has stronger effects when it comes to fighting fat.

The antioxidants and catechins present in white tea also aid in weight loss. Due to this, it is often called the ultimate health drink.

Some studies have suggested that the intake of white tea can prevent adipogenesis. Adipogenesis is the process of formation of fat cells. White tea can also control the life cycle of these fat cells known as adipocytes. This property has also been confirmed to exist in other types of tea but it is quite strong in white tea.

2. Treatment of acne

White tea has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that can prevent the formation of acne and treat them. Dermatologists suggest that the antioxidants in white tea help in preventing the action of free radicals that cause skin damage.

Another great advantage of white tea is that drinking it twice a day is a great way to flush out the toxins. This ultimately leads to clearer skin by fighting the accumulation of these toxins.

Direct application of a cooled down brew of white tea through cotton swabs directly on the affected area is also known to have a healing effect.

3. Treatment of cancer

Though green tea is also considered beneficial when it comes to treating cancer, the effect of white tea is even better. This is because the antioxidants present in white tea not only destroy damaged cells but they also help in preventing damage of the other healthy cells.

The polyphenols and antioxidants present in white tea also help in improving overall metabolism which helps in blocking cancer-causing effects.

EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is the compound that is most helpful in fighting cancer. It also has the highest concentration of catechins which is also helpful.

Research has suggested that white tea is a potential anticancer, chemopreventive agent and its extract may induce apoptosis or cell death and may help in preventing new cell growth in lung cancer. It has antimutagenic properties as well.

4. Improvement of hair and skin health

White tea has anti-inflammatory properties which are helpful in strengthening the connective tissues. This helps in reducing allergies such as dandruff and eczema.

It is also used to treat problems related to hair fall as anti-oxidants present in it are helpful. The chemical EGCG is especially useful for helping the survival of hair cells. This is because a special class of bacteria called the gram-negative bacteria which is resilient to a lot of other drugs can be fought by EGCG. Skin diseases like psoriasis, wrinkles, rosacea and wounds can also be fought by EGCG.

It also has anti-ageing benefits because it strengthens elastin and collagen that helps makes the skin strong.

5. Treatment of diabetes

White tea is used to prevent the damage that diabetes causes to the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain that plays a role in consciousness).

There are studies that also suggest that white tea helps in preventing the effects of diabetes on male reproductive health. The catechins in white tea play an important role in preventing type-2 diabetes.

Symptoms such as excessive thirst (polydipsia), decrease plasma glucose levels and increase insulin secretion can be prevented through regular intake of white tea.

6. Improves mental alertness

Because white tea goes through least amount of processing it is extremely rich in L-theanine, the amino acid that is known for boosting alertness. It also has a calming effect on the mind.

Due to less amount of processing, white tea also has the least amount of caffeine. Low amounts of caffeine ensure that it boosts mental alertness without raising the anxiety levels. In fact, the combination of L-theanine with less amount of caffeine is beneficial for mental and physical health.

White tea is also known to increase the formation of mood-regulating hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.

7. Reducing inflammation

Catechins are known to play a major role in reducing inflammation. Because of this property, they are known to fight the effects of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.

EGCG present in white tea also has anti-inflammatory properties. Diseases caused by bacteria and virus such as cold, flu and influenza can be fought using by EGCG.

8. Improving liver health

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver and causes serious diseases. Catechins present in white tea fight this particular virus and play a vital role in maintaining good health of the liver. However, excess intake can be harmful to the liver.

9. Improving kidney health

The pollution of the environment causes adverse effects on kidney health. White tea is known to fight those negative effects. It is said that it can prevent cases of renal failure. Apart from that, catechins also play a role in preventing and healing kidney stones.

10. Improves cardiovascular health

The catechins and antioxidants present in white tea are known to lower down the cholesterol levels, blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Coronary heart diseases can also be treated to a certain extent by regular intake of white tea. Some studies have revealed that consumption of white tea for about 12 months can reverse the oxidative stress caused by the heart.

Flavonoids present in white tea are also beneficial in improving cardiovascular health.

11. Oral health

The components such as fluorides, flavonoids, and tannins present in white tea are beneficial for oral health. They inhibit the growth of bacteria that lead to plaque formation. Fluorides help in fighting tooth decay and tooth cavities.

Due to its impact in fighting viruses and bacteria that cause cavities, its extracts are used in some of the toothpaste.

Where can I get white tea?

At teakruthi, two variations of white tea are available. One is Ceylon Ivory White tea. Also known as silver needle, this is the purest form of white tea. Silver needle white tea consists of only the buds of the plant and is very rare, as it is harvested only two days of the year. It is hand-plucked, naturally withered and gently hand-rolled before firing. Made from the first leaf of a pea shoot from the clone, teakruthi's white tea is fresh, light, mild, and nutty in flavour, and appears pale yellow in colour. Their white tea offers a pure drinking experience that is delicate in both flavour and aroma.

The second variation of white tea available at teakruthi is Ceylon Gold White Tea. This tea is a special type of ‘Gold Tips’ White Tea which undergoes a very special, careful process to give it its fine, splendid flavour. Ceylon Gold is harvested from a young tea bush before the buds have opened. From there, the buds are dried in natural sunlight, allowing the tips to maintain their velvety golden colour. Since the young buds are so delicate, they are handled with the utmost care. This tea is from an estate in Hatton in Nuwara Eliya. It is western high grown and displays a brownish-gold colour in the cup. This fine tea boasts a light, fine, tart flavour that we can only attribute to the time and care dedicated to harvesting and processing this tea.

How to prepare white tea?

Brewed 'Silver Needle' Ceylon white tea
Brewed 'Silver Needle' Ceylon white tea

White tea is best brewed with water that is at a temperature between 180 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is most suitable as it avoids scalding the leaves. It does not matter much whether it's tap, filtered, or spring water. White tea should taste good in preparation with either type of water. However, distilled water should be avoided as it can taste flat. Start with fresh, cold water that has not been boiled before.

The about 2 tablespoons of dried tea leaves are used for every 6 ounces of water. As a general rule of thumb, for 6 ounces of water, use 2 teaspoons of the tea consists of buds only, and 2 tablespoons of the tea consist of light and fluffy leaves.

Because silver needle teas are made from the buds only, it is required to steep it for five to seven minutes to bring out the full flavour of the tea. As a general rule of thumb, steep the tea from 1 to 5 minutes, although some teas may take up to 10 minutes.

It must be noted that in case you wish to make stronger tea, you must use more buds/leaves rather than more time, which can make the tea bitter.

The infuser/strainer that you use also plays an important role in overall flavour.

Ensure that there is enough room for the tea buds/leaves to unfold and release their flavours. A basket-style infuser or filter is usually preferable to the ball-style of the infuser. You can also brew the tea buds/leaves directly in the pot or cup and strain them out as you pour.

When brewed, white tea ranges in colour from pale yellow to light orange.

About the author

Shreya Dalela

Shreya Dalela

Contributing author

Shreya loves to research and write about tea and claims Mythical Green Pure Ceylon Green Tea to be her favorite go-to beverage. She swears that her daily cup of green tea gives her a dose of morning inspiration as she sits down to type 1000s of words every day. To unwind at the end of the day, she reaches for a cup of soothing Ananda Veda Green Tea infusion. You can often find her saying 'Everything is better with a cup of tea' :)

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I love tea so this is a very interesting post to read!

Belle |

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