Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is Fermented Pu'er Tea

All tea comes from the same plant species--Camellia sinensis. Among the great variety of tea available, Pu’er tea stands out in terms of its medicinal value, historical and cultural importance. Its medicinal value can be traced back more than 5,000 years ago in history of China.

Pu’er tea is made by using Yunnan large leaf species as raw material undergoing a special fermentation process called ‘Pile fermentation(Pile fermentation means pu’er tea leaves are dried and piled then undergo microbial oxidation in order to change the tea leaves from green to reddish in colour.) Yunnan large leaves species contained rich of tea polyphenols, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and many more trace elements.

A traditionally key step in the process of making Pu'er tea had a substantive impact on the tea quality. At this stage, a series of sophisticated biological transformation reactions and oxidation reactions take place, caused by active microbes.The microbes were not inherent in the tea, but came from the surrounding environment at the processing step.

The existence of friendly microbial substances like Aspergillus niger, Penicillium, Saccharomyces (yeast) and Rhizopus after the pile fermentation have amazed many researchers around the world.
Aspergrillus niger
and Saccharomyces (yeast) are two of key ingredients in fermented pu’er tea. Both contain varieties of rare substances, particularly the amino acid group B (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, & B11), vitamin D2, coarse fibre, minerals, enzymes, proteinase, lactic acid and others organic acid. Lactic acid is the main subtances helping our body to absorb different types of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamine D.

A number of studies have found that pu’er tea has an outstandingly positive effect on the prevention and treatment for many diseases, especially for the prevention of cancers, due to the existence of unknown substances forming in fermenting process. The study now is still carrying on by Yunnan Tea Science & Research Institute to find out more about the secret substences in Yunnan pu'er tea.

By enhancing the body immunity, white blood cells will stay actively acttack any foreign invaders with projection of its cytoplasm enzymes, eventually it will swallow up and digest the out-comer completly. (as macrophage shown)

Some ingredients, such as flavone, monosaccharide and polysaccharide, are rare and difficult to obtain from daily meals. These elements are largly found in the mature leaves of Yunnan pu’er tea. Flavone is reknown to improve blood circulation in human body by carrying more oxigen for hemoglomine. Monosaccharide is one of the key nutrients to increase the volume of friendly microbe in human intestine to promote better peristalsis, whereas Polysaccharide plays as important element for immunological enhancement. The constitutions of our body very much depend on these three rare substances.
Natural aging process of quality green pu’er allows more complex flavors to develop over time, sort of barrel-ageing a good scotch, giving you another sensation taste of tea drinking in eastern art of tea.

In 1987, yunnan fermented pu’er tea was shine with bright for winning its highest gold medal award in international foods competition organised by German in The 10th Federal Deutschland International Food Festival.

According to the research of National Taiwan University, a study group conducted by Dr Lu-Xi Sun for “Infusions of pu’er tea are effective in lowering artery deposited cholesterol”, where laboratory animals (mice) are fed on specially controlled diets and their blood cholesterol levels are monitored over the course of time. The results conclude that for mice fed on pu’er, there is a significant reduction of blood cholesterol that deposits in capillaries. Dr Sun believes the results indicate what could well be happening in people who regularly drink pu’er.

From left to right showing the medical properties of yunnan pu'er tea have the stronger effect on the numbers of or mutation gene or cencer cells in human body. (by Kunming Nature Herb & Science Research Centre)

Over 10 years of study, Dr Lian Da-Ming and Dr. Hu Mei-Ying from Kunming Natural Herb & Science Research Centre found yunnan ‘Large-leaves’ pu‘er tea contained certain unique elements which had strong medical properties effect in reducing the numbers of active mutation cells in human body.

More recent study carried out by Dr Emily Caroby of Paris St. Antonio Medical Institute, French State Health Medical Institute and Assails Nutrition Physiology Research Centre, indicate that pu’er tea had powerful cholsterol lowering effects, blood cleasing properties and reduce body weight by increasing the metabolism. The long term cousumption of pe’er tea is believed to help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may also plays an important role in preventing heart and liver diseases as well as the formation of cancer cells in the body due to its antioxidats.

Drinking pu’er tea after a heavy meal will help to clean the intestines and stomach. It may also help prevent intestines infection, digestive problems and constipation. In tradition chinese medicine, tea is known to invigorate the spleen and inhibit ‘dampness’.

The ethnic groups of Yunnan still practising tradition ways to harvest organic tea from their well preserved semi-wild tea mountains near by the villages.

Due to georaphical reasons, most Yunnan grounds layers contained various of mineral and organic elements, thus Yunnan pu’er tea had its higher tea ingredients and trace elements compared with other places. Further more, the carefully selected organic pu’er tea from Yunnan dense forests and green environments serving better qualities in terms of health, flavours, as well as keeping it to brew for another alluring taste in future.

According to experiments carried out by the Yunnan Tea Science & Research Institute, the water extracts of large-leaf Pu’er tea are 3~5 % higher than other famous tea species produced in other parts of China. In addition, each gram of pu’er contains 30~60 mg more catechins than other tea as well.
Fermented pu’er tea is mild and soothing. It is suitable for the young and old, for people with weak constitutions. Especially for people with gastric problem can consume it daily due to its rare and gentle fermented components. Drinking pu’er keeps you fit and healthy, and as daily beverage which bring relief to both body and mind.