Human skin is a complex organ, consisting of nearly 22 square feet and weighing 8 lbs. on average, according to National Geographic. The primary purposes of skin is to protect internal organs and warn the brain of certain environmental hazards, such as extreme heat or cold. Like other organs, your skin requires special care to maintain its strength and dexterity. Over time, age and environmental influences take its toll on skin, yet these negative effects may be reversed or alleviated through the use of certain herbs. White tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, and is made by utilizing immature tea buds. Like other teas from this species, the constituents within white tea may hold special benefits for the skin. Always talk to your doctor before using a new herb or supplement.
White Tea Active Compounds
Once white tea buds are harvested, they are steamed or fired. Exposure to high temperatures reduces the oxidation process, which results in a high catechin content -- also known as polyphenols. The primary catechins found in white tea include epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and epicatechin. Along with catechins, white tea contains a high concentration of flavonols such as myricitin, quercetin and kaempferol. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reports that the active compounds found in white tea may have beneficial qualities for those with coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and possibly cancer.
ScienceDaily quotes Elma Baron, M.D., director of the Skin Study Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University, who says that the active compounds in white tea extract are capable of strengthening the skin’s immune system by preventing damage due to oxidation stress. Researchers of the 2003 study discovered that after the topical application of this extract, the skin’s immune function was restored to damaged cells and the DNA harm caused by exposure to sunlight was reduced. White tea extract may also be able to delay the aging process through its high antioxidant concentration and ability to protect the skin from oxidation.
White tea may be consumed in beverage form or applied topically in ointment form. Both methods introduce the medicinal properties of this herb. However, studies regarding the skin benefits of white tea are performed by topically applying white tea extract. While exact dosage recommendation for white tea is unavailable, you may follow the dosage recommendation for green tea provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center, as green tea is made from more mature tea leaves than white tea. Consume 2 to 3 cups of freshly brewed white tea per day, or apply a topical white tea ointment or cream according to product directions.
The Linus Pauling Institute reports tea is generally safe for most individuals; however, side effects associated with white tea are primarily caused by its caffeine content. Some of the most common side effects of internal white tea consumption include insomnia, dizziness and gastrointestinal discomfort. Topical application of white tea extract may cause skin irritation. Discuss the use of white tea with your doctor to obtain a recommended daily dosage and extract concentration.
- National Geographic: Skin
- ScienceDaily: White Tea
- ScienceDaily; New Study Shows Tea Extract Protects Skin; White Tea Extract Reveals Anti-Cancer, Anti-Aging Properties; January 2003
- Linus Pauling Institute; Tea and Chronic Disease Prevention; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; November 2002
- Linus Pauling Institute; Tea; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; January 2005
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea