What Is Jasmine Tea and Where Does It Come From?
Jasmine tea is a scented tea, with the base being green tea (very rarely white or black tea) infused with the aroma of jasmine blossoms. This type of tea has been produced in China since the 5th century, but it became widespread only in the 17th century when it grew to be a valuable export to Western countries.
Today, the tea is mostly produced in China and Japan, and it is enjoyed by locals and people abroad alike. Jasmine tea has a symbolic meaning in China, often associated with love and the Buddha. In northern China, it is customary to serve jasmine tea to welcome guests.
One of the biggest advantages of jasmine tea is that it is easily accessible: it is sold both in specialized tea stores and supermarkets worldwide. Interestingly, not all jasmine varieties are used in tea infusions, with the most widely-used ones being the common jasmine (Jasminum officinale) or sampaguita (Jasminum sambac), pictured above.
In terms of preparation, fresh blooming jasmine blossoms are added to tea leaves and stored for enough time for the tea to accept the pleasant aroma of the flowers. The resulting product is a highly aromatic and slightly sweet tea that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Now let’s finally move to the health benefits of this delicious drink.
1. A Cognitive Boost
A cup of jasmine tea contains 15–60 mg of caffeine. The amount of caffeine depends on how long you let the tea brew and which tea is used as a base of a specific variety. Caffeine is an important cognitive booster because it inhibits the functioning of adenosine, a chemical neurotransmitter that helps you relax.
Caffeine can boost dopamine and serotonin levels, too. This way, caffeine can help you feel more alert and energetic, ready to absorb all the information life wants to throw at you. On top of that, jasmine tea is naturally sweet, so it is one of the few sources of caffeine that don’t need any added sugar.
But we haven’t finished yet, as jasmine tea contains the amino acid L-theanine as well, and this compound urges the release GABA, a neurotransmitter that boosts your attention. What's even better is that caffeine and L-theanine potentiate one another.
2. Weight Loss
According to some estimates, drinking green tea, the most common base used to make jasmine tea, can speed up your metabolism by 5% and boost fat burning by 10-16%.
These fat burning properties are linked to a high content of caffeine and EGCG, a polyphenol investigated for its numerous health benefits, in jasmine tea. There is also some scientific evidence suggesting that the combination of these two compounds may enhance each other’s fat burning effects.
3. Oral Health
Finally, a caffeinated drink that’s good for your teeth. There is scientific evidence suggesting that a group of plant compounds called catechins, which jasmine tea contains, may halt tooth decay. These compounds are good at killing Streptococcus mutans bacteria, one of the major causes of cavities.
4. May Prevent the Development of Certain Cancers
Although the cancer-fighting properties of Jasmine tea haven’t been studied specifically, it is high in antioxidants, so it is capable at reducing free radical damage. The consumption of high quantities of tea has been linked to lower risks of prostate, breast and bladder cancer, although the magnitude of the results is somewhat inconsistent.
5. Could Protect You From Heart Disease
The polyphenols contained in jasmine tea may protect you from heart disease by preventing the formation of plaques on your blood vessels. There is also a meta analysis proving the effectiveness of drinking 1-3 cups of tea at significantly lowering the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
6. May Decrease the Likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes
Jasmine tea is great for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes because it doesn’t require sweeteners. Apart from that, research suggests that drinking 3 or more cups of tea a day can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 16%. EGCG, too, may help regulate blood sugar levels.
7. May Be a Protective Measure Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
The polyphenols and contained in jasmine tea may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. These compounds are very effective at neutralizing free radical damage, which is an important contributing factor of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
A review concluded that drinking tea on a regular basis lowered the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 15%. Another analysis with over 52,500 participants drew a correlation between teas high in EGCG, which includes jasmine tea, and a 35% lowered likelihood of brain dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s.
Summing up: Jasmine tea is a delicious aromatic drink, packed full of antioxidants and other compounds that can protect you from many degenerative diseases and other unpleasant conditions, especially if you consume more than 1 cup of tea every day. Most importantly, it is usually not costly and easily accessible.
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