The Amazing Health Benefits of Pu'er Tea
Besides good flavor, many people include tea in their diets for its many health properties. Pu'er teas are uniquely beneficial, as they not only boast many of the health benefits of your other tea types, but they are also the only teas that undergo a fermentation process, which provides added probiotic benefits.
We have looked into studies that highlight the potential of this healthy drink and why you may want to start including it in your diet. Possible benefits of pu'er include:
1. Aids in Weight Loss
One study found a reduction in BMI with an overall 3% weight loss over 20 weeks in comparison to a placebo group. (3)
2. Controls Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
There are many promising animal studies showing that the active ingredient in pu'er lowers cholesterol levels by improving lipid profiles and lowering triglycerides. (4, 5) These are key factors in providing healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, which can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Another important compound found in pu'er that helps regulate cholesterol is lovastatin. Interestingly, it was always detected in all ripe pu'er of any age, but not young, raw pu’er. But with proper storage of five years or more, the compound increased significantly in raw and ripe pu'er. (7)
3. Aids with Treating Type II Diabetes
A review of various studies showed that pu'er polysaccharides may lower blood sugar and decrease resistance to insulin. (8)
4. Sustains Good Gut Health
Because pu'er is fermented, it is a probiotic. Probiotics can be very helpful in inhibiting the growth of harmful gut bacteria and can aid in boosting your immune system.
5. Helps Prevent Illness
Pu'er has been found to have good antibacterial and antioxidant activities. In combination with its vitamin content, regular consumption could help fortify your immune system. (12)
6. Fortifies Brain Health
An interesting area of study was its neuroprotective potential. Biological compounds and binding proteins like GABA and Homer1 can aid in some neurological ailments like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and seizures. ( 13, 14)
7. Inhibits Cancer Growth
Some test-tube studies have shown that high concentrations of pu'er’s active ingredients have targeted and prevented tumor growth. Specifically, it has killed breast, tongue, and colon cancer cells. (15, 16,17, 18)
This may be due to the oxidized polyphenols in pu'er that work to eliminate irregular cell growth. It is important to note that these studies were conducted with high concentrations of pu'er extract in lab conditions. More research is needed to study the effects of daily consumption.
8. Promotes Bone Health
In this study, the polyphenols in pu'er aided in ameliorating the effects of osteoporosis caused by lack of estrogen. (19)
While this research is promising, many areas need further study. It is important to consult a medical professional whenever considering supplemental treatment for a medical condition.
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- Ding Y, Zou X, Jiang X, Wu J, Zhang Y, Chen D, Liang B. Pu-erh tea down-regulates sterol regulatory element-binding protein and stearyol-CoA desaturase to reduce fat storage in Caenorhaditis elegans. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 6;10(2):e0113815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113815. PMID: 25659129; PMCID: PMC4319740.
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- Hou Y, Shao W, Xiao R, Xu K, Ma Z, Johnstone BH, Du Y. Pu-erh tea aqueous extracts lower atherosclerotic risk factors in a rat hyperlipidemia model. Exp Gerontol. 2009 Jun-Jul;44(6-7):434-9. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2009.03.007. Epub 2009 Apr 5. PMID: 19348878.
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- Kuo KL, Weng MS, Chiang CT, Tsai YJ, Lin-Shiau SY, Lin JK. Comparative studies on the hypolipidemic and growth suppressive effects of oolong, black, pu-erh, and green tea leaves in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jan 26;53(2):480-9. doi: 10.1021/jf049375k. PMID: 15656692.
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- Hsin-Cheng Lin,Chien-Tai Lee,Yea-Yin Yen,Chiao-Lee Chu,Yen-Ping Hsieh,Chi-Sheng Yang,Shou-Jen Lan © 2018 The Authors International Journal of Food Science & Technology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Institute of Food, Science and Technology (IFSTTF) Vol. 54 Issue 2, pages 516-525.
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- Lu X, Liu J, Zhang N, Fu Y, Zhang Z, Li Y, Wang W, Li Y, Shen P, Cao Y. Ripened Pu-erh Tea Extract Protects Mice from Obesity by Modulating Gut Microbiota Composition. J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Jun 26;67(25):6978-6994. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b04909. Epub 2019 Jun 11. PMID: 31070363.
- Gao X, Xie Q, Kong P, Liu L, Sun S, Xiong B, Huang B, Yan L, Sheng J, Xiang H. Polyphenol- and Caffeine-Rich Postfermented Pu-erh Tea Improves Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome by Remodeling Intestinal Homeostasis in Mice. Infect Immun. 2017 Dec 19;86(1):e00601-17. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00601-17. PMID: 29061705; PMCID: PMC5736808.
- Su, Yajuan & Zhang, Chenlu & Wang, Yan & Li, Ping. (2011). Antibacterial property and mechanism of a novel Pu-erh tea nanofibrous membrane. Applied microbiology and biotechnology. 93. 1663-71. 10.1007/s00253-011-3501-2.
- Li C, Chai S, Ju Y, Hou L, Zhao H, Ma W, Li T, Sheng J, Shi W. Pu-erh Tea Protects the Nervous System by Inhibiting the Expression of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 5. Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Sep;54(7):5286-5299. doi: 10.1007/s12035-016-0064-3. Epub 2016 Aug 30. PMID: 27578019; PMCID: PMC5533841.
- Hou CW. Pu-Erh tea and GABA attenuates oxidative stress in kainic acid-induced status epilepticus. J Biomed Sci. 2011 Oct 20;18(1):75. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-18-75. PMID: 22014163; PMCID: PMC3217899.
- Zhao X, Song JL, Kim JD, Lee JS, Park KY. Fermented Pu-erh tea increases in vitro anticancer activities in HT-29 cells and has antiangiogenetic effects on HUVECs. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2013;32(4):275-88. doi: 10.1615/jenvironpatholtoxicoloncol.2013007074. PMID: 24579782.
- Zhao L, Jia S, Tang W, Sheng J, Luo Y. Pu-erh tea inhibits tumor cell growth by down-regulating mutant p53. Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(11):7581-93. doi: 10.3390/ijms12117581. Epub 2011 Nov 7. PMID: 22174618; PMCID: PMC3233424.
- Xie J, Yu H, Song S, Fang C, Wang X, Bai Z, Ma X, Hao S, Zhao HY, Sheng J. Pu-erh Tea Water Extract Mediates Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 Human Breast Cancer Cells. Front Pharmacol. 2017 Apr 6;8:190. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00190. PMID: 28428754; PMCID: PMC5382226.
- Zhao X, Qian Y, Zhou YL, Wang R, Wang Q, Li GJ. Pu-erh tea has in vitro anticancer activity in TCA8113 cells and preventive effects on buccal mucosa cancer in U14 cells injected mice in vivo. Nutr Cancer. 2014;66(6):1059-69. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.916317. Epub 2014 Jun 19. PMID: 24945996.
- Liu Titi, Ding Shihua, Yin Dan, Cuan Xiangdan, Xie Chuanqi, Xu Huanhuan, Wang Xuanjun, Sheng Jun. Pu-erh Tea Extract Ameliorates Ovariectomy-Induced Osteoporosis in Rats and Suppresses Osteoclastogenesis In Vitro. Frontiers in Pharmacology. Vol 8. 2017 ISSN=1663-9812 .