Like green tea, white tea comes from the Theaceae family of tea, specifically Camellia sinensis. It is one of the sources of what is globally known as true tea. There are four main types of teas, but green and white teas are the only ones which are unfermented. Of the four types, white tea is the least processed. On the other hand, black tea is fermented while oolong tea is only semi-fermented.
Contrary to popular belief, white tea is not an exclusive plant. This means that it is only a derivative. White tea is derived from green tea leaves that have not yet fully sprouted or grown. They are nipped when the buds are still covered with white hair. This is what makes it white. It is common knowledge that white tea is more expensive because it is much more difficult to obtain. The plant itself does not yield as many new leaves as one would wish.
White tea is popular for its high nutritional value. There is also a higher concentration of a powerful antioxidant called EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate. Compared to green tea, white tea has more potent antioxidants.
White tea is believed to contain antimicrobial properties that prevent bacterial growth in the body. The nutrients and antioxidants also help the body fight diseases. Though black and green teas are also touted to be healthy, it is believed that white tea is far superior because it goes through less processing. This means that white tea maintains most of its natural components which is not washed away in the fermentation process, as will be discussed later.
Historically, white tea is believed to have come from China. The modern process of harvesting that is practiced today can be traced back to the 1700s.
White Tea Used in a Formula
White tea is part of a formula, a dietary supplement, called Imedeen Prime Renewal. It is combined with vitamins C and E, fish protein polysaccharides, and extracts of grape seed, tomatoes, soy, and chamomile. This formula was used to conduct a study on how white tea affects health.
In a 2006 study, Skovgaard and his group performed an experiment that lasted for six months. It was a double-blind study involving placebo groups on 80 randomly selected postmenopausal women. There were 38 women placed in the treatment group and 42 in the placebo group. The aim of the study was to determine anti-aging effects of the formula. They took two tablets of the food supplement twice a day and went through several tests.
Photos and ultrasound results proved that those in the treatment group had better results than those in the placebo group. The improvements are observed in the forehead, perioral wrinkles, under the eyes, and on overall facial appearance.
White Tea Used for Anti-Aging
In 2009, a study was conducted to determine the antioxidant characteristics of 23 different plant extracts that came from 21 different species of plants, one of which was the white tea. The anti-aging properties were measured using anti-elastase and anti-collagenase properties or activities. It was found that white tea inhibits elastase and collagenase better than the rest of the plant extracts in that study.
Elastase and collagenase are both enzymes that break down protein, and major contributing factors for wrinkles and sagging skin. It was discovered that white tea can inhibit these enzymes and slow down the aging and wrinkling process.
Another study in 2009 focused on skin samples from volunteers. The goal of the study was to see if white tea could prevent damage to DNA cells caused by solar radiation. When applied to the skin, white tea can prevent UV induced skin damage.
Tea, along with coffee, is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It is known globally as a drink that has high antioxidant properties and most importantly, anticancer properties. Although findings of green tea are highly promising, there is still so much to learn about white tea. Studies show evidence that white tea may be much more potent than green tea. However, more studies are needed to back this up.