Ever since its first appearance, tea is considered beneficial for the body. Historians have advocated its medicinal properties: at first tea was used in the form of a paste, as a poultice to combat rheumatism. Legends about tea, whether Indian, Chinese, or Japanese, all show, in their own way, the stimulating and invigorating properties of tea. The Emperor Shen Nung, father of Chinese medicine and farming, states that, "tea relieves tiredness, strengthens the will, delights the soul and enlivens the sight." Tea drinkers have empirically known the many benefits of tea for over two thousand years.
Xanthics Tannins Vitamins Iron
There are three xanthics present in tea: caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. These are organic substances that are found in all types of teas whatever its colour.
How do you decaffeinate your tea
It is very easy to decaffeinate tea yourself without affecting the flavor too much. The caffeine in tea is released during the first few seconds of infusion. Simply rinse the leaves first with freshly boiled water and discard this first infusion after approximately 10 seconds.
Tannins or Polyphenols
Tannins in tea are similar to the tannins found in wine. Characteristics of tea, like its colour, its body or its strength, are directly dependent on these polyphenolic derivatives.
A tea high in tannin has astringency, which sometimes translates into bitterness if the tea has been over brewed: tannins are released slowly but in an ever increasing way, so that an overly long infusion considerably raises their concentration and makes the tea bitter.
Tea Vitamins & Minerals
Tea contains Vitamin C (about 250mg per 100g of fresh leaves).
However, this is completely destroyed from the minute the tea is infused in water at a temperature above 30°C.
Tea cannot, therefore, be used as a source of vitamin C.
Tea also contains a considerable amount of vitamin P, B group vitamins and minerals such as potassium and fluoride.
Tea & Iron
Drinking tea lowers iron levels in the blood.
Indeed, the tannins present in tea, while being very beneficial to the body on many counts, have one defect: they prevent the iron contained in foods from being totally absorbed by the body during digestion. A heavy daily consumption of tea (more than 1.5 litres) could have an effect on the body's absorption of iron. This does not pose a problem if the tea drinker does not suffer from an iron deficiency and has a well-balanced diet. Although, it is recommended to wait for 40 minutes after meals before drinking tea. Pregnant women are also more at risk: during this period it might be better to limit consumption of tea.