Proven Health Benefits of Oolong Tea & How to Use it (Evidence Based)

The Health benefits of Oolong Tea

Are you a person who likes to relax with a refreshing and soothing cup of tea? If so, then there are many reasons to switch from your regular tea to oolong tea. As well as being a delicious drink, there are many benefits to drinking this tea.

What are the health benefits of oolong tea? Find out in this article about oolong tea’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties which can help with weight loss, reduce stress, manage blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea (sometimes called Wulong tea) is produced from the same plant that black tea and green tea are made from – the Camellia sinensis plant. However, it is produced in a slightly different way.

Most tea leaves are produced through a process of oxidation whereby the leaves of the plant are softened and then gently rolled. This starts a chemical reaction in the leaves which releases flavonoids, lipids, and amino acids. To stop the oxidation process, the leaves are then heated.

Black tea leaves are oxidized which gives the tea its characteristic deep brown color rich in tannins.

On the other hand, green tea leaves aren’t oxidized at all.

Oolong tea is somewhere in the middle. It is produced by semi-oxidizing the tea leaves, resulting in a different chemical structure from green tea (which has many health benefits), but not as dark and bitter as black tea. So, by drinking oolong tea, you get the best of both worlds.

One of the main differences between oolong tea, black tea, and green tea is the amount of L-theanine that it contains. L-theanine is an amino acid which is only found in the Camellia Sinensis plant and the Boletus badius mushroom. Oolong tea can have up to as much as 9.2 percent of its dry weight from L-theanine.

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea

All types of teas are rich in antioxidants and provide many health benefits. However, the way that oolong tea is processed means that its health benefits are greatly enhanced.

Let’s have a look at the many health benefits of oolong tea.

1. Oolong Tea for Weight Loss

For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has used oolong tea to help people lose weight. There is more than just anecdotal evidence that oolong tea can actually help with weight loss.

For example, a study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine showed that by introducing oolong tea into the diet, body fat in obese people was reduced.1

Over a period of 6 weeks, over 100 obese people took 8 g of oolong tea daily. At the end of the study over 3/4 of participants had lost more than 1 kg of weight, and some more than 3 kg. There was also a notable decrease in cholesterol levels. It was concluded that oolong tea could decrease body fat content and reduce body weight by improving lipid metabolism. It was also concluded that continued consumption of oolong tea may prevent obesity.

Other studies have shown that the polyphenols in oolong tea can help reduce fat that accumulates around the body’s vital organs.2

Traditionally, the Chinese drink oolong tea along with their meal and this can have a beneficial effect on weight management. The Journal of Nutrition conducted an experiment on men to examine how oolong tea affects the body’s metabolism.3

The participants were given water, full-strength oolong tea, half-strength oolong tea, or water with caffeine, equivalent to amount in the full-strength tea. They had to consume one glass 5 times a day. It was found that metabolic rate and fat oxidation in those who had the full-strength oolong tea was significantly higher than the other drinks.

It seems that the catechins and polyphenols (both of which are antioxidants) along with caffeine4 in oolong tea help the body metabolize fat better and more efficiently.

Further reading: There are other natural ingredients that can help you lose weight, such as apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, honey and cinnamon drink, cumin, ginger and lemons.

2. Oolong Tea for Eczema

If you suffer from eczema or atopic dermatitis, you could boost your treatment by drinking 3 cups of oolong tea daily. This can be especially useful if the dermatitis is not responding well to topical treatments.

One study examined the effects of oolong tea on people who had dermatitis that was difficult to treat. The participants were asked to drink oolong tea 3 times a day with their regular meals. After one month over half of the participants found that there was a marked improvement in their skin condition.5

The antioxidant properties of oolong tea can help to heal the skin from within.

Further reading: If you suffer from eczema, you can try other natural remedies for eczema such as coconut oil, a special diet, these essential oils, and other natural treatments.

3. Oolong Tea for Type 2 Diabetes

The combination of antioxidant polyphenols and caffeine in oolong tea also help to control blood sugar levels. Drinking oolong tea can be an effective way to manage type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association published a research which showed that regularly drinking oolong tea has a positive effect in managing blood sugar levels.6

In the study, the participants continued taking their regular diabetes medication and one group of participants consumed water regularly and the other consumed strong oolong tea 5 times a day. It was found that after one month the blood sugar levels in the participants who had the oolong tea significantly decreased.

Further reading: You can also control type 2 diabetes with these foods and spices, apple cider vinegar, or a special diet.

4. Possible Cancer Prevention

Tea, in general, is known to help reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.7 This is due to the high amount of antioxidants in tea which help to kill off free radicals in the body.

The journal Cancer Epidemiology reported on the results of one study which showed that regular tea consumption reduces the risk of ovarian cancer.8

The polyphenols in tea have also been cited to have beneficial effects on prostate cancer9, can help prevent esophageal and lung cancers10, and one study showed that an oolong tea extract killed off cancer cell in stomach cancer.11

5. Oolong Tea for Stress

Tea is well-known for its relaxing properties. There is nothing like a cup of tea to calm the nerves and help the mind relax. The reason for this seems to be the amino acid L-theanine, and oolong tea contains a high amount of this.

L-theanine helps the mind relax without making a person feel sleepy and it is required for dopamine production in the body. Also L-theanine reduces the stimulating effect of caffeine. Therefore, oolong tea can help relieve your stress.

The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that L-theanine helps the mind relax and it has a positive effect on a person’s alertness. 12

So, a cup of delicious oolong tea can help you feel more relaxed and help you reduce your stress levels.

Further reading: See how stress affects your body, and how you can reduce it with natural remedies or essential oils.

6. Antioxidative Activities of Oolong Tea

In order to keep healthy and prevent the risk of developing various diseases, it is important to have a diet rich in antioxidants. There has been specific research carried out onto the antioxidative properties of oolong tea which have found that it has strong antioxidant properties.13

Another study checked the anti-oxidant activity of oolong tea using human low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The study concluded that oolong tea has beneficial effects on health due to its anti-oxidative action.14

7. Oolong Tea for Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease is where plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. This can lead to angina and a heart attack. However, a study showed that by drinking around 33 fl oz (1 liter) of oolong tea daily a person can reduce the risk of plaque buildup in the arteries.15

Researchers have also found that oolong tea helps to reduce the risk of death from various cardiovascular diseases.16

Further reading: 80% of heart attacks could be avoided by doing these 5 easy things.

8. Bone Loss Prevention

The antioxidant properties of oolong tea can also help strengthen bone density, thus reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.

One study showed that habitual tea drinkers, in general, have a much better bone mass density compared to those people who never or only occasionally drink tea.17 Another study into the effects of oolong tea and bone density showed that bone mass density was higher in postmenopausal women than in those who didn’t drink tea.18

Further reading: Discover the 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis.

9. Keep your Teeth Healthy

Extracts of oolong tea have also found to contain properties which can promote good oral hygiene.

One study compared the effects of rinsing before and after meals with an oolong tea extract and rinsing with just 0.2% ethanol. Researchers found that there was a significant decrease in dental plaque when oolong tea extract was used as the mouthwash.

This is because oolong tea also contains antibacterial properties which are specifically effective against Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium mainly found in the mouth.

Further reading: How to remove plaque naturally, and how oil pulling can whiten your teeth & improve your gums.

How to Make Oolong Tea

It is very easy to enjoy all the health benefits of oolong tea.

You can buy a ready-made oolong tea bags, or you can prepare it using loose oolong leaf (like this one).

Because loose oolong tea comes in different leaf shapes, it’s hard to choose one-size-fits-all method for preparing the tea, but as a general guideline for each cup or 6 oz (180 ml) water use 1-2 tsp if the tea is rolled into balls and up to 2 tablespoons if it comes as whole or broken leaves.

Heat the water to 185–205ºF (85–96ºC) which is the ideal temperature for brewing oolong tea without breaking down its aromatic substances.

Steep it for two to five minutes, depending on how concentrated you want your tea.

It is recommended to keep the lid on so that the medicinal properties are kept in the tea.

Oolong Tea and Caffeine

One concern that some people have is about the amount of caffeine in oolong tea. One cup of oolong tea contains between 50-75 mg of caffeine. This is slightly more than green tea and slightly less than black tea.

Oolong Tea – Precautions

One of the precautions of consuming large amounts of oolong tea is due to its caffeine content. Caffeine can affect people in different ways, but drinking more than 5 cups of oolong tea a day can cause a person to feel the effects of too much caffeine. These side effects could be headaches, sleep problems, and nervousness.

People with high blood pressure should also be careful about the amount of caffeine they consume. However, this doesn’t seem to happen in people who don’t have high blood pressure and regularly drink oolong tea.

Drinking too much oolong tea can also cause calcium to be flushed out of the body. Therefore, if you have osteoporosis, it is best not to drink more than 3 cups per day.

According to WebMD, oolong tea in small amounts is probably not harmful for pregnant women or women who breastfeed, and it is recommended not to drink more than 2 cups a day of oolong tea.

Read my other related articles:
1. Chamomile Tea Benefits and How to Use It for Great Health
2. How to Make Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Ginger Tea
3. 9 Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
4. How To Make Parsley Tea for Swollen Feet


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