What makes tea such a power-packed health drink? The leaves contain more than 700 chemicals. Among these are flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins C, E, and K, caffeine, fluoride, manganese, and polysaccharides. Tea also contains polyphenols. Categorized as catechins (which are antioxidants), these four primary polyphenols in tea are:
1. Epicathechin (EC)
2. EpicatechinGallate (ECG)
3. Epigallocatechin (EGC)
4. EpigallocatechinGallate (EGCG)
Catechins take up 30 percent of the dry weight of a fresh tea leaf. Of all the six varieties of tea (green, black, white, yellow, oolong, and post-fermented tea, which differ in their processing techniques), green and white tea possess the highest concentrations of catechins. Fat, carbohydrates, and proteins are also present in tea, but in miniscule amounts.
Besides the typical Asian teas, local teas also have a place in the Pinoy palate (not to mention the health meter). Their cool, slightly bitter taste is continually sought, despite the current invasion of milk teas in the market. Slowly inching their way into this category are tea preparations from locally grown medicinal plants:
● Oregano. Steadily gaining headway in the market, backed by support from government and private sectors, oregano is known to be a cure for all sorts of ailments.
● Banaba. Lowers blood sugar, aids in weight loss, helps in the treatment of kidney stones and wounds, promotes proper blood circulation.
● Sambong. Helps ease colds, sneezing, and headaches, cures kidney stones.
● Lagundi. A remedy against coughs and other respiratory diseases.
● Pito-pito. Made up of seven herbal varieties namely banaba, bayabas, pandan, mangga, alagaw, anise, and cilantro, this product popularized by the late radio anchor Ernie Baron sweeps out toxins in the body, thus preventing and treating a variety of diseases.
● Tsaang gubat. Helps treat skin, stomach, and lung problems.