Tea is a beneficial beverage at various points. People in China discovered its advantages thousands years ago. Tea is not only a drink, but also used for medicinal purposes. For example, ancestors in China used tea to treat diabetes because it helps lower blood sugar.
Modern medicine has proven tea’s affects on reducing blood sugar and blood pressure, and has also been known to prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Since the 1980’s, many studies have shown that the polysaccharide in tea helps decrease blood sugar level as well as ameliorate diabetes.
Tea polysaccharides are an acid glycoprotein consisting of a lot of mineral elements, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese.
A Soviet scholar first discovered tea polysaccharides’ magic, which was breaking news in medicinal field since diabetes was a fatal disease in the early 1980’s. Since then, countless researchers have followed his footsteps focusing on the tea polysaccharides investigation.
According to many Chinese studies, tea polysaccharides benefit the human body in many ways. First, it helps reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases by decreasing blood fat and pressure. Secondly, it helps relieve the symptoms of diabetes, and lower fasting blood sugar level. Moreover, it helps enhance our immune system, and reduce radiation damage.
Though tea polysaccharides’ magical affects on diabetes are substantiated, few of them demonstrate the mechanism behind the process. Several Chinese scholars in Zhejiang University found the answer in 2002. After feeding tea polysaccharides to rats for 3 weeks, they witnessed significant changes to the blood sugar levels and insulin. They made two achievements analyzing the result. First, they found out tea polysaccharide can amend glucose tolerance, improve insulin levels and regulate its secretion. Second, it helps neutralize sugar – degrading enzymes. This process helps restrict carbohydrate absorption and lower blood sugar. However, the tests didn’t shed light as to why some rats yielded better results than others.
According to Chinese medical sources, the drinking habits and the type of tea can influence the results.
One study conducted in the mid 1980’s focused on the relationship between water temperature and tea’s medical efficiency in lowering blood sugar. The researchers used boiling, warm and cool water to steep tea, and fed it to rats with diabetes. They discovered blood sugar decrease forty percent in those rats which were fed with tea soaked in cool water. They verified that cool water helps preserve the beneficial substances, including tea polysaccharides, caffeine and tea polyphenols. Water above 80 Celsius degree can degenerate tea polysaccharides.
According to another Chinese medical source, Marita, a Japanese scholar, researched the cold-steeped tea theory over a three year period as to whether or not it can help relieve or even cure diabetes. He tracked 1300 diabetes patients, who drink cold-steeped tea for half a year, and discovered 82% of them had significant changes in their blood sugar levels. He also discovered that 9% of his patient’s blood sugar levels dropped into the “normal” range.
Professor Jiangde Ni in the Central China Agricultural University investigated tea polysaccharides percentage in different teas, and he concluded that green tea has the richest tea polysaccharides. Oolong tea and black tea came in second and third, respectfully.
In the following animal experiment, rats were divided into groups and fed with low, regular and high dosage of tea. The result suggested the amount drank doesn’t tremendously influence the affect of tea polysaccharides because only a certain amount can be absorbed daily. The study also showed that tea polysaccharides are no longer being absorbed after 24 hours; therefore, drinking tea should daily habit to achieve its best affect.
Professor Ni also addressed climate, process techniques and tree species variation also impact the medicinal effects.
The Chinese Institute of Pharmaceutical Science hosted a project concentrating on green tea’s affects on lowering blood sugar. Countless samples were collected throughout the country and a database was built. As one of the most reliable medical institutes in China, the Chinese Institute of Pharmaceutical Science verified green tea’s tremendous influence on blood sugar and discovered that tea polysaccharides extract. The project also mentioned the older the tea tree is, the higher the tea polysaccharides level will be.
However, many people have a misunderstanding: the more expensive the better. In fact, rough tea, according to some latest research, has 37% of tea polysaccharides, while green tea has 32%.
What’s rough tea? Normally, the best tea, including green and Oolong tea, are plucked in the spring- these are called fresh teas. The new leaf buds preserve a lot of amino acids, which helps improve the aroma. The leaves harvested in summers are called the rough teas. For the most part, they are roughly processed. As the leaves grow in the heat of the Sun for a few months they become bigger and harder. Tea polysaccharides and polyphenols–the products of photosynthesis–accumulate. Because of the bitter flavor brought by tea polyphenols, rough tea is generally looked down upon.
Another study further expanded—without the delicate processing technique, rough teas are more likely to preserve the beneficial substances. Former studies have shown heat can decompose tea polysaccharides. Many rough teas are made in small workshops and are sunned instead of stirred to cut the cost. Luckily, the natural drying process protects tea polysaccharides from degenerating.
Some people can’t stand the bitter taste, so they only use a fraction of the suggested amount of tea leaves. According to some studies, in order to reap the benefits, one must drink at least 10 grams of tea every day. Some experts suggested a multi-brewing method if you can’t stand the bitter flavor. An hour after meals is ideal because the nutrition won’t be beneficial if chugged down.
Many experts suggest drinking tea, especially rough tea during therapy. It helps regulate blood sugar level and relieve the suffering of the patients. But keep in mind, tea helps decrease blood sugar, it doesn’t cure diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the most fatal and most common diseases on Earth. The causes of diabetes are complex, but the most common reasons point to genes, weak immune system, virus, and mental stress. Though diabetes relates to blood sugar, it may lead to worse complications – such as organ failure.