Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
What happens when you cannot decide if you want to drink green tea or black tea. Although the middle ground is
normally the province of those who just cannot commit, when it comes to tea drinking, compromise is no vice because
there is Oolong tea. The word Oolong comes from the Chinese, meaning 'Black Dragon' and there are a dozen legends
surrounding the origin of the name. One thing that is certainly no myth is just how very fine this tea is.
Midway between a black and a green, Oolong tea originated in the Fujian Province near the end of the Ming
Dynasty 400 years ago. It gradually migrated to Formosa, now called Taiwan and has been a staple product of that
noble nation ever since. Though, the majority still comes from Wu Yi Shan mountain in China.
Oolong tea is not only a delight to taste, when well prepared, but has a distinctive aroma owing to its moderate
oxidation and careful processing. The floral scent and slightly astringent mouthfeel bears a similarity to a fine
wine. And that is no accident.
Oolong Tea Process
Most of the processing is carried out by hand, beginning with the careful plucking by individual farm workers.
Selecting an Oolong for harvesting is done as carefully as the picking of perfect grapes by vineyard workers.
Unlike most teas, running hot water through the Oolong leaves more than once can actually enhance the flavor.
This rinses away any residual dust or other contaminants from processing. The second bath brings pure Oolong flavor
into the cup. This special Taiwanese method of tea preparation has brought the Oolong to the pinnacle of a fine
Oolong Tea Properties
But more than just a delectable, relaxing drink Oolong also has many health benefits. Research strongly suggests
that Oolong tea is good for several different body systems. The beneficial effects for the digestive system are
well known and well documented.
But recent studies suggest that the health benefits of Oolong tea include helping to dislodge toxic
residues from the bronchia and air sacs of the lungs which can then be expectorated (coughed up and spat out). This
effect may help to explain why Chinese men, among the heavier smokers on the planet, tend to have fewer cases of
Oolong teas also contain plentiful amounts of the antioxidants polyphenol and catechins. These help gather free
radicals from the blood stream, which are removed during urination. Free radicals are ionized molecules that, in
concentration, destroy cell membranes and have other harmful effects.
Oolong Tea Types
Oolong comes in a hundred varieties, and nearly every one can be found at some Chinese restaurant or other.
There is the Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), the Shui Jin Gui (Water Turtle) and many other delightful kinds with
equally evocative names. The Golden Buddha produces a light brew, while the Water Sprite is a dark tea. The Dong
Ding from Nantou in central Taiwan is a favorite of those who favor Oolong.
But there are times when you want to have a cup without the accompanying Dim Sum. Fear not, for any of those
Oolong tea varieties are available online with a few mouse clicks. Drink up!