Puerh tea benefits your health because it is rich in antioxidants and also because it is fermented.
And by dampening inflammation, Pu Erh tea may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Let’s take a closer look.
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Table of Contents
What is Puerh Tea?
Like any true tea, Puerh tea is a type of fermented tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. Typically, this tea comes in tea cakes or loose leaf varieties.
There are many names for Puerh, including the most common name: Pu erh tea. It is also called puer, pu’er, po lei, dark tea, black tea, as well as bolay tea.
The long fermentation and carefully controlled conditions of aging of the tea leaves are what sets it apart. This process makes the teas taste complex and deep. This is why Puerh tea may appeal to those who like bolder flavors like coffee.
Many types of Pu Erh tea are on the market today including green tea Puerh and many varieties of black tea Puerh.
Best value Puerh tea pick: Numi’s Organic Puerh Tea.
Why is Puerh Tea So Healthy?
Puerh benefits the body because it has a vast number of healthy compounds. It is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body. By dampening inflammation, it may reduce all chronic diseases.
Pu Erh tea contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, including:
- Gallic acid
- Gallocatechin gallate
These antioxidant compounds help protect the body from pollution, toxins, and more.
Like other antioxidant-rich foods, Puerh may help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes too.
Best organic Puerh tea cake pick: Yan Hou Tang Organic Compressed Chinese Yunnan 10 Years Aged Puerh Tea Cake
Pu Erh Tea Weight Loss Benefits
Many people swear that they lose weight while drinking Puerh tea.
Now, research is showing that Puerh tea’s benefits may truly be to maintain and lose weight.
In a rigorous clinical study, daily Puerh tea drinking resulted in increased weight loss and reduced body mass index compared to people receiving a placebo.
Fat loss in the arm, belly, and legs within the Puerh group also occurred.
While Pu-erh benefits weight loss, it works best when combined with a healthy diet that is full of whole foods.
Puerh Tea is Energizing and Relaxing
Like all tea, Puerh has small amounts of caffeine but also contains L-theanine, which helps the body relax.
Additionally, warm beverages like Pu Erh tea are known to help the body warm, which in turn can be calming.
May Reduce Heart Disease and Diabetes Risk
Puerh tea is good for the heart for many reasons. For one, it helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels according to research on mildly obese people.
Not only that, early research suggests that Puerh tea may help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
Puerh for Brain Health
Pu Erh tea’s health benefits are many and include many brain health benefits.
Because this tea is anti-inflammatory, it may improve memory and protect the brain.
In fact, it has numerous compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Like other kinds of tea, Pu Erh tea contains caffeine, which may be part of the reason that it helps with memory.
Tea drinking, in general, may also slow down memory loss, especially in people who carry certain genes for inflammation.
Additionally, Pu Erh tea may protect the nervous system by reducing a toxin called glutamate in neurons.
Puerh also contains a substance called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is a neurotransmitter that may help improve mood, reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and calm the nerves.
Puerh Tea Helps Reduce Cholesterol
In a study of 59 overweight or obese adults, blood cholesterol levels known as small, dense LDL levels improved with Puerh tea drinking using 3 grams of tea per day compared to placebo.
The dangerous cholesterol numbers were improved in 4 weeks as well as 8 weeks.
Fascinatingly, Puerh tea also contains a natural statin, which is a compound used to treat cholesterol.
Puerh may also reduce fat build-up in fat cells although more research is needed.
Puerh Tea Helps the Gut
Pu-erh tea’s gut health benefits are many because it is a rich source of natural probiotics and antioxidants.
These probiotics are critical to our immune system and for keeping our digestive tract healthy. Research shows that Puerh tea helps to heal the gut lining for these reasons.
As a fermented tea, Puerh tea is complex and varies depending on how it is fermented, stored, and aged. These fermented foods have lots of probiotics and help digestion.
For example, samples of two different Puerh teas found both had around probiotic 390 fungal strains and around 630 bacterial strains in each, making them very high in probiotics.
In contrast, yogurts typically only have a handful of strains of bacteria.
Fascinatingly, the fermentation of Pu Erh tea also increases its antioxidant content. These antioxidants include gallic acid, resorcylic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol. Antioxidants like these dampen inflammation in the gut.
Pu Erh’s health benefits for the gut are related to the diverse antioxidants and probiotics it contains.
Pu-erh Tea Benefits for Skin
Like green tea and black tea, Puerh tea is protective of the skin. This is because Pu-erh tea reduces free radicals in the skin that come from UV rays and toxins.
Teas like Puerh also help to protect the elastin content in the skin. This makes Puerh tea great for anti-aging effects on your skin.
Puerh May Help Fight Cancer
There are 10 preclinical studies that show the anti-cancer effects of Puerh on cancer.
All of them show that Puerh tea reduces the growth or spread of tumors. Here are examples of these research studies.
- Puerh reduced cancer cell growth while reducing the spread of cancer in mice.
- Puerh tea reduced the growth of tumors while keeping healthy cells healthy in a mouse model of cancer.
While these studies are considered preliminary, it is likely that Puerh tea has some benefits of helping to keep cancer at bay.
Puerh May Improve Bone Health
Puerh tea reduces inflammation, which may also help keep bones healthy.
For example, Puerh helped protect from bone loss by reducing bone breakdown (osteoclast activity) in a research study of post-menopausal mice.
However, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of Pu Erh for bone health.
Puerh Tea May Help You Live Longer
In a small village on Jingmai mountain, there are over 100 people over the age of 100, still healthy and with a lot of vitality.
Not surprisingly, they drink a lot of Puerh tea.
Science shows that the benefits of Pu Erh tea for lifespan, and any other tea for that matter, may be partly due to the ritual of tea.
Frequent tea drinking, in general, may increase lifespan.
Tea Rituals Protect Overall Health
The health effects of slowing down enough to sit and sip some tea with a good friend or family member are also important.
Japanese tea ceremonies use rituals to create both aesthetic and calming environments when preparing and drinking teas. Schools are even created around drinking tea ceremonies in Japan.
The ritual of tea drinking itself may be healthy. Sipping tea that was treated with good intentions (given by Buddhist monks) largely improved the mood compared to the tea that wasn’t treated with good intentions.
History of Puerh Tea Benefits
The ritual of women healers is central to the power and history of Puerh.
This tea is made from ancient tea trees and then fermented by traditional methods which likely provide a benefit of Pu Erh tea.
Many of the methods of Puerh tea-making are also deeply hidden still today.
Thousands of years of healing traditions, including the healing powers of Puerh tea, are passed down by women to their daughters.
And women hold the power of plant medicine here in the Yunnan part of China.
Buying Puerh Tea
These days you can find Puerh in many places.
But Pu Erh tea benefits depend on the quality of the fermentation and the quality of the tea leaves.
Find tea companies like Numi’s Organic Puerh Tea, FGO Organic Puerh Tea, or Yan Hou Tang Organic Compressed Chinese Puerh Tea Cake that help support farmers of tea and support growing sustainability and quality tea.
You should also buy organic teas that are from ancient tea trees.
The health benefits of Puerh tea and all teas are vast and rigorous in research now. But quality will always matter.
How to Brew Puerh Tea
Making Pe Erh tea is super simple. Here is your recipe:
- Boil filtered water.
- Add 1 tsp of Puerh tea to 8 oz of hot water.
- Steep for 3 minutes.
- Serve warm or over ice for Peurh ice tea.
Pu-erh Tea Side Effects
Drinking Pu Erh tea is safe.
However, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to limit your tea intake to 2 cups or less per day.
Although the caffeine in Pu Erh tea is less than in coffee, it can still add up.
Frequently Asked Questions
When to drink Pu-Erh tea?
It is best to drink Pu-erh tea in the morning or early afternoon, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. I prefer to drink tea before noon to minimize any chances of caffeine-induced insomnia.
How much caffeine does Puerh tea contain?
Puerh tea has around 60-100 mg of caffeine per cup depending on brewing methods and the caffeine content of the leaves. This is equal to or less than a cup of coffee.
If you want less caffeine in your tea, simply shorten the brewing time.
Is Pu Erh tea safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Yes, as long as you keep your tea drinking to under 3 cups a day or less. This is because there is around 100 mg of caffeine per cup and you should limit your caffeine during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. While The Healthy RD’s posts are backed by research, you are unique, so you must seek care from your own dietitian or healthcare provider. This post is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.