Pu-erh tea has been harvested in the Yunnan Province for 1,700 years, and the medicinal and health benefits of pu-erh tea has been touted for for centuries. Pu-erh is harvested from the Camellia sinensis tree like all tea, but the leaves of the pu-erh tea variety are broad leaves. It is these broad leaves that yield a higher oxidation level when the tea is fermented that is believed to produce pu-erh tea's health benefits.
Reducing Cardiovascular Risk
Pu-erh tea comes in a variety of forms and is either raw or unfermented or fermented and processed. Many studies have been conducted on both fermented and non fermented pu-erh tea to determine the health benefits of the tea. One important study cited in the "Journal of Gerontology" tested both fermented and non fermented pu-erh tea on the blood lipids of rats. The study concluded that fermented pu-erh reduced the lipids or fats in the blood of the rats. The research in the study determined that pu-erh tea can be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders because it reduces blood lipids.
Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention
All teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant contain antioxidants called catechins that help fight cancer. Green tea, or the less processed tea is the highest in catechins. Pu-erh tea that is raw or not fermented is a green tea. Pu-erh that is processed and allowed to ferment is a black tea that also contains catechins. Catechins in pu-erh tea lock onto the oxidating elements in the blood and destroy the oxidative process thereby preventing cancer.
Pu-erh tea is known for helping to regulate body weight. In a study conducted by the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, pu-erh tea had a greater ability to regulate and reduce body weight than any other tea studied.The study concluded that the compounds found in the pu-erh tea that had an anti-obesity effect were catechins, caffeine, and theanine. Pu-erh tea was also shown to reduce the fat content in the liver in the study.