Dark Tea or Hei Cha is a famous tea product of Anhua, in the Hunan Province of China. It shares the same processing of post fermentation through microbial action as Pu Erh. It is similar in flavour to Pu Erh too. We have chosen to have this tea made into heart shapes to reflect the many alleged health benefits found in drinking this heavy but very mellow charactered tea. One heart should be brewed in 300ml of filtered, boiling water. It is infused for just 20 seconds with the leaves being re-used 5-6 times to extract all the goodness. Listed below are a number of the claims made for its health benefits.
Dark Tea contains rich nutrients, most notably vitamins and minerals, plus protein, amino acids, phospolipids and sugar substances.
Aids digestion by virtue of the infusion being an oily solution, making passage through the intestinal tract easier. It helps regulate fat metabolism, and enhances the secretion of gastric juice volume, improving the appetite.
It helps lower lipids, weight loss, softening of blood vessels, and helps prevent cardiovascular disease by reducing blood fat and the role of peroxidase.
It helps with anti-oxidation, anti-aging, longevity through compounds such as catechins, tea pigments, flavonoids, vitamin C, D, E, beta-carotene, etc., but also contains large amounts of trace elements which also have antioxidant effect such as zinc, manganese, Copper (SOD composition of elements) and selenium (GSHPX the composition of elements) and so on. Its catechins, theaflavins, theanine and tea polysaccharides, in particular the more complex content of flavonoids and so has the function of anti-oxidation, scavenging free radicals and delaying cell senescence.
The study made by Hunan Agricultural University on Dark Tea with a model of tumor cell SGC7901 adopting cutting-edge technology of High Throughput Screening has proven that Hei Cha has significant inhibiting effect on tumor cells.
It has long been reported that tea has a role of lowering blood pressure. Recently, the Japanese reported that theanine, an unique amino acid can activate dopaminergic neurons, playing an inhibitory role in blood pressure. In addition the catechins and caffeine in tea can relax blood vessel walls and increase the effective diameter of blood vessels, decreasing blood pressure through vasodilation.
It helps to improve carbohydrate metabolism, lowering blood sugar, aiding diabetes control. It is the tea polysaccharide complex in Dark Tea that is the main component which lowers blood sugar. Tea polysaccharide complex commonly referred to as tea polysaccharide, is a complex which changes in mixture. Studies showed that Hei Cha has the highest content of tea polysaccharide compared to the other types of tea. Tea polysaccharide in dark tea is more active than that of any other kinds of teas. It is because the sugar chain and peptide chain with relatively short length formed by glucosidase, protease, hydrolase in fermented tea is more easily absorbed and more active than that of longer length. That is why Hei Cha excels any other teas in lowering blood sugar.
Theaflavins and thearubigins are the major components which make the color of Hei Cha infusion. Studies found that theaflavins is not only an effective free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant, but also has antibacterial effect for the bud botulinum bacteria, intestinal Bacteroides, Staphylococcus aureus, capsular bacteria, Bacillus cereus. In addition, it has inhibiting effect on theaflavins influenza viruses, rotavirus and enterovirus to a certain extent.
Its detoxing effect is partly due to the caffeine in dark tea, which increases the discharge of urine by helping water filter through the kidneys. At the same time, caffeine can help with sobering up by stimulating the bladder. Meanwhile, tea polyphenols in Hei Cha not only can precipitate nicotine and excrete it with the urine, but also can clear free radicals in smoke and reduce the toxic effects of smoke on human health. In addition, tea polyphenols can effectively absorb heavy metals, alleviating the toxic effects of heavy metals.