All things Chinese tea, food and culture.

Tea & Arthritis

Arthritis is a common terms that describes joint pain. While it’s often understood as a disease it can be rather seen as a symptom resulting from different causes.

For some people, arthritis could be caused by inflammation. In such a case, tea can be a easy and effective natural remedy.

What is Inflammation?

When visiting the Wikipedia page you’ll read that inflammation is described as:

A part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators.

Scientific research on mice until now concludes with pretty strong evidence that feeding mice with polyphenol rich tea reduces inflammation and thus joint pain. Does this work on humans? Well let’s believe it for now, until more conclusive research follows.

Before we head on to what tea is the most suitable, let’s have a look at the definition of tea as well.

What is Tea?

When we talk about tea, we’re referring to leaf tea made from the Camellia Sinensis tea plant. Given this, herbal teas made from other plants, such as Rooibos, doesn’t fall in this category. They’re officially referred to as tisanes. This of course doesn’t mean they don’t help against inflammation. In fact, some tisanes are very effective!

What’s the Best Leaf Tea against Inflammation and Arthritis?

Now you understand that inflammation is a cause of arthritis, we can now discuss some teas that can be effective against that.

When it comes to leaf tea, there’s green, white, black, oolong, and pu erh tea. They’re all from the same tea plant as I said before. What makes them different is the processing method applied. White and green tea are the least processed of all, while oolong, black and pu erh are more processed teas.

Types & potential side effects

Generally research shows that white and green tea contain the most polyphenols, so it would make sense to suggest those teas to prevent arthritis. However, white and green teas can have their side effects, and some people are very sensitive to that. Because they’re less processed teas, they tend to be ‘raw’. And this rawness can sometimes hurt the stomach. When you suffer from Arthritis, go for a cup of white and green tea first, but check if your stomach can handle the regular consumption of 4-5 cups a day. The best is to drink it after meals and snacks when you’re stomach isn’t empty.

If you do suffer from side effects on the stomach, then switch to oolong, black or pu erh tea. For the latter, there are two types: Sheng (raw) and Shou (ripe) pu erh. We won’t go into the details of explaining the difference here, but go for ripe pu erh.

Some oolong teas can still be harsh on the stomach, such as a lightly oxidized Tie Guan Yin, while a darker Dahongpao oolong is fine. Black teas are usually ok as well, and with ripe pu erh it can hardly go wrong. Ripe pu erhs are post-fermented and actually very soft on the stomach. It even supports digestion.

At the end of the day, there’s not that much difference between the polyphenol levels among the types. Don’t worry to much about the type of tea that you should consume as long as it’s tasty, so you’ll be able to make it part of your daily diet.

Herbal Teas against inflammation

Besides leaf teas there are also great herbal teas against inflammation. You’ve to be careful with those as they can be very powerful. So try them in small amounts first. In China, Kuding tea and Honeysuckle tea are the most famous examples and often prescribed by Chinese Medicine doctors.

Read this article in which we’ve published a honeysuckle tea with rose buds recipe: https://helloteacup.com/2016/05/13/rose-tea-recipes/

Other Notes on Arthritis

  • Avoid drinking tea in the evening as it contains caffeine.
  • Try to listen to your body, tea often helps, but not for everyone. Consult a doctor when in doubt.
  • Try to adjust your tea choice across seasons. Often times, people tend to go for a more refreshing green tea during summers and a more soothing black tea during Winters. There’s nothing wrong with that intuition.
  • Don’t just drink tea for health, try to enjoy it. Isn’t that also a health benefit in itself?!

 



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