Osmanthus tea is made from the osmanthus fragrans flowering plant native to China. Widely consumed in Asia, osmanthus tea is less common in the United States. It's readily available at Chinese health food stores and online in loose leaf and tea bag form, however. Osmanthus is known for its rich aroma, which proponents claim helps suppress appetite. Scientists are still determining what chemical components osmanthus contains and what the potential health benefits may be.
Potential Appetite Suppressant
Inhaling the fragrant aroma of osmanthus tea may curb your appetite, say the authors of a study published in a 2013 issue of the journal Scientific Reports. In the study, researchers were able to show that the scent of osmanthus decreases the activity of brain chemicals that stimulate appetite, such as neuropeptide Y. In addition, the odor of osmanthus increases the activity of brain chemicals that decrease appetite. The results suggest osmanthus aroma exerts a mild sedative effect and lowers the motivation to eat, explain the study authors.
Rich in Vitamin B-3
Scientists in China evaluated the substances in osmanthus fragrans flowers and found that the flowers are rich in a form of vitamin B-3 known as niacinamide, according to an article published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Natural Medicines. This is a lesser known form belonging to the B vitamin group that has different effects than niacin. As with all B vitamins, B-3 helps your body convert carbohydrates to energy. Unlike niacin, however, niacinamide may help protect insulin-producing cells in people with type-1 diabetes, but more research is needed, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Rich in Antioxidants
Osmanthus is rich in polyphenol compounds, which are substances found in plants that act as antioxidants. Polyphenols like those in osmanthus are also found fruits and vegetables. Clinical data suggests that a diet rich in polypenols reduces the risk of chronic diseases, according to a review published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. For example, research indicates polyphenols reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Polyphenols are credited with the heart-health benefits of red wine.
Characteristics and How It's Made
Osmanthus tea is naturally caffeine-free and consists of dried golden yellow flower buds. Loose leaf is typically made by placing the buds in an infuser and placing the infuser into your mug. You then pour a cup of boiling water over the infuser, allowing the buds to steep for a few minutes before removing the infuser. The tea has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor and a flowery aroma. It's common to mix osmanthus with oolong or green tea, but you can enjoy it on its own as well.