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Tea tips


Pu-erh tea (also written as Pu'er or Puer) is finally becoming better known in the West.

Originating from the Pu-erh region of China, it comes from old wild tea trees in Yunnan that produce large leaves. Some Pu-erh tea trees still in existence today are said to be ancient – the oldest is over 2000 years old.

Pu-erh tea was discovered by accident when tea that was sold onold trade routes (called the Ancient Tea Horse Roads) aged a lot whilst in transit. The routes were long, often taking many months to negotiate, and lay between Yunnan and the destinations of Tibet, Burma, and Laos. The climates the tea came into contact with en route were very hot and humid and as the tea was only carried it baskets it was found to absorb the moisture from the air, which had a huge effect on the taste and character. The traders soon realised however that the tea actually tasted better when it was aged for such a long time and so

Pu-ehr as we know it was born.

It's a full tea thanks to the long periods of fermentation. In fact, the longer the better: its value is directly related to the length of fermentation. Some Pu-erh tea has been fermented for hundreds of years! One pound of genuine and hard to find aged Pu-her, for example, can cost anything up to $25,000. This makes Pu-erh tea much like wine in that it is often referred to and classified by year and region it was produced in.

There are two kind of Pu-erh tea: cooked and raw.

Raw Pu-erh is made from leaves that are picked gentle to avoid any bruising and therefore unwanted oxidation. The leaves are then usually, though not always, left to wilt and start drying out in the sun, before being fried in a large wok to kill the enzymes and stop any further oxidation. It's then compressed into bricks or cakes and left to age.

Cooked, or ripened, Pu-erh tea seeks to imitate the flavour and colour of aged, raw Pu-erh for those who cannot wait 20 years for it! It's produced through a process that uses controlled conditions to manipulate the tea and create almost a false aging. A technique called wet piling, which is a little like composting, sees the tea leaves stacked in damp piles and then occasionally mixed and turned. This ensures the tea ferments evenly. The whole process can take up to one year.

Pu-erh is known as a medicinal tea. According to the Chinese system of medicine, Pu-erh teas are seen as being hot, which makes them good at warming the body and reducing any excessive coldness. They're also very good at aiding digestion and alleviating period pains.


In China, where it is often referred to as a "wonder tonic", Pu-erh tea widely known for its health giving properties which have been well documented in various historical texts throughout Chinese history. Pu-erh is traditionally made from old, wild tea trees which, according to the Chinese system of medicine, have strong Qi (energy, or "life force"). Which may go towards explaining why the Chinese believe that Pu-erh boasts greater benefits than any other tea.

In recent years, this wonderful, unique tea has crept into our consciousness in the West thanks mainly to the significant way it can aid in weight loss. It's even said to be used by various celebrities to help keep them looking trim on the red carpet (unfortunately it can't do anything to stop them wearing such daft shoes).

The Chinese often drink Pu-erh tea alongside their meals, which are often very oily and high in fat. It's very good at breaking down fats, aiding in digestion and speeding metabolism. Its soothing properties help clean the intestines and stomach, and it's even known to counteract the effects of alcohol consumption and help you sober up. Which clearly makes Pu-erh ideal after an evening in the pub with a stop-off for Chinese take-away on the way home.

Pu-erh tea has remarkable blood cleansing and cholesterol lowering properties and, like green tea, it can help prevent heart disease and cancer due largely to its antioxidant content.

Other Pu-erh tea benefits include:

-Reducing high blood pressure
-Anti-aging effects
-Improving eyesight
-Reducing inflammation
-Improving circulation
-Helping you walk through walls.


First make sure that all your tea utensils are clean. Any old residue can taint the flavour.

Using a knife, cut off some Pu'ehr off from the tea brick.

Place 3-4 grams per serving of Pu'ehr to your pot.

Add boiling water. This is one of only two types of tea where you can, and should, use fully boiling water. The best type of water to use is bottled, or filtered water from of chlorine and other chemicals.

Drain the water immediately to wash the leaves.

Refill with boiling water and steep for 2-3 minutes.

Stir and then pour into cups.

Tea can be brewed2-4 times - each time steeping it for 60 seconds longer than the last infusion.

TCM Take on Fat: Vent Your Spleen


If you want to fight fat the TCM way, you should eat foods to promote a healthy spleen — like Chinese pearl barley, known as Job's tears — and drink lots of Pu'er tea. Both are also diuretics.

A sun top, miniskirt and high-heel sandals - that's the outfit that catches men's attention and other girls' envy on the streets in summer. In order to show off their figures in skimpy clothes, girls started their weight-loss battles months ago, but it's never too late to lose weight.

Drinking slimming tea (a laxative), staying on a diet, and going to the gym frequently are widely used weight-loss methods. But eating certain foods or being pierced by fine silver needles may also help you to get rid of excessive weight.

Most people believe that obesity results from eating too much, which is certainly true in most cases. But it fails to explain why some people gain weight even though they eat little and drink lots of water while others keep slim though they eat a big dinner every day.

"It is not simply the case that the more you eat, the more weight you gain," says Dr Zhang Zhongyi, deputy director of the Acupuncture Department of Yueyang Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. "Whether your stomach and spleen work well plays a much more important role."

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the spleen, together with the stomach, digest and absorb nutrients (the spleen function in TCM differs from that in Western medicine). TCM holds that the spleen is responsible for sending the nutrients from the stomach to all the organs, and also for expelling excessive body fluid. If the spleen doesn't function well, excessive body fluid will collect and turn into fat.

Fat not only collects on muscles, destroying a nice figure, but also on organs and in the blood, which can cause health problems.

Fatty liver is common among fat people and can lead to cirrhosis if patients fail to correct their diet. Links are also found between obesity and the "three highs" (hypertension, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar), which may contribute to cerebral vascular disease.

"The function of the organs, including the spleen, declines with aging. That's why most middle-aged and old people find themselves gaining weight easily," says Dr Zhang. "As for young people, unhealthy eating habits may cause malfunction of the stomach and spleen and leads to fat collection."

Not eating regular meals, but having continuous between-meal nibbles, according to Dr Zhang, is a bad diet habit that causes a weight problem among many young ladies. Besides, sitting all day long and not getting regular physical exercise can also lead to body fluid accumulation, which is typical among office ladies.

Dr Zhang suggests taking a five- to 10-minute break every hour, relaxing, doing some exercises and eating foods that are good for the spleen and are diuretics as well, such as Pu'er tea.

If these methods can't help you reach your ideal figure, you may try acupuncture therapy. It will help improve the function of stomach and spleen, and reduce the appetite by piercing fine needles into certain acupoints.

"Acupuncture works well in reducing excessive weight, yet doesn't seem so effective when girls of normal weight insist on losing more," says Dr Zhang, "especially when some girls only want their legs slimmer."

Dr Zhang says that generally the normal weight for a man is his height minus 100, while that for a woman is her height minus 105. People weighing five kilograms more or less are all within the normal range.

The ingredients listed in the recipes below are available at major supermarkets, such as Carrefour, City Market, Hualian Supermarket and Lianhua.

One of the dishes should be eaten once a day.

Pu-erh Tea is a Chinese Cholesterol Remedy and Overall Health Tonic

Saturday, August 01, 2009 by: Zephyr Faegen

For over 2000 years, a special tea that originates from the Yunnan Province of China has been coveted for its preventative and curative properties. This tea is known as Pu-erh or Yunnan Tuocha. The tea`s cultivation can be traced as far back as the Han Dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) and was made from the leaves of da ye or broad leaf tea. The leaves of this variety of old wild tea tree when picked, are taken and put through a process of delicate maturation that ends in the creation of what is called maocha.

This maocha, meaning "rough tea", is then taken and put through one of two processes. Either it is immediately pressed into tea cakes where it is then classified as "raw/green pu-erh" or it is put through an artificial aging process for 30 to 40 days where daily the leaves are turned, splashed with water, covered with cloth, and then left to ferment. After this fermenting stage, the tea is then dried and pressed into tea cakes and classified as "cooked/black pu-erh". Traditionally, the tea was always pressed raw and then vaulted for up to 100 years to gain this fermented status, but this modern process of fermentation was developed by the Kunming Tea Factory in 1975 for economic reasons.

Pu-erh Tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for generations to inhibit "internal dampness" (a term used in Chinese medicine to describe a build up of internal energy due to the spleen`s inability to transform energy that it receives from the stomach) and to invigorate the activity of the spleen and stomach. Other traditional uses include the removal of toxins from the body, curing dysentery, weight loss, improving eyesight, promoting blood circulation and reviving those who have over indulged in alcohol.

More recently, researchers have taken interest in Pu-erh tea for its ability to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, protect connective tissue, and its ability to attack free radicals within the body. In multiple studies done in several countries, pu-erh tea has shown significant success in reducing blood cholesterol. One study done at the Wun-Shan Branch Tea Research and Extension Station in Taipei, Taiwan compared the effects of green, black, oolong, and cooked/black pu-erh teas on cholesterol in rats. The study showed the rats fed the cooked pu-erh tea leaves had an increase of HDL-C (good cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL-C (bad cholesterol) where the rats given the other teas had varying decreases in both types. This means that with pu-erh tea you get the best of both worlds, an increase in the cholesterol that you do want and a decrease of the cholesterol that you don`t.

At China`s Kunming Medical College, another study that consisted of 86 patients with unusually high levels of blood cholesterol examined the differences in the treatment of patients with Pu-erh tea verses conventional cholesterol medication. 55 of the patients were given a regimented dose of pu-erh tea three times a day; the other 31 were given a cholesterol lowering drug called PCIB in doses of 1/2 a gram 3 times a day. At the end of a two month period, the patients drinking the Pu-erh tea showed a 64.29% reduction in blood cholesterol levels in comparison to 66.67% for the group taking PCIB. Cholesterol is not the only benefit that pu-erh tea has to offer though. In 2006, a study found that it has anti-aging and anti-cancerous properties by attacking free radicals within the body as well as actively protecting human fibroblast cells (connective tissue) from damage and deterioration

Pu-erh Tea is truly a wonder tonic but one must be careful when shopping for this sought-after tea. There are many knock-offs and fake pu-erh teas out there, and the older the tea, the more expensive it is. Sometimes tea cakes can sell for thousands of dollars. Another concern is for the quality of the tea leaf itself. Many of the cheaper teas can contain fluorine which, when ingested over a period of time, can lead to fluorosis or fluoride poisoning. When you are looking for a good pu-erh tea make sure that you are dealing with a reputable tea house or seller, make sure that the tea is from the Yunnan province of China, and make sure that the packaging states that the Tea was cultivated from wild da ye or broad leaf tea trees. This may be a difficult task because most pu-erh teas today are cultivated from multiple trees and from different areas. In the end it`s really the fermentation process that gives pu-erh its distinctive taste and curative properties but if you`re a tea purist, good luck hunting down a true aged Pu-erh tea; it`s difficult and you might just pay an arm and a leg.

Today we are constantly battling the toxicity of our everyday environment and our potentially toxin laden food. Drinking pu-erh tea is a great way to eliminate free radicals within the body, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, fight cancer, and possibly look a little younger one cup at a time.


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