I was first introduced to Pu’erh tea in the early ‘90’s when I attended an integrative medicine conference as part of my Integrative Medicine Fellowship with Andrew Weil. We were introduced to all sorts of delicious “new” foods (at the time, “new” to me and to most). There were artisan dark chocolate, grains like amaranth and quinoa and of course organically grown fruits and vegetables. One of the few conferences that I have attended in which the food was not only delicious but nutritious.
They had a display of many varieties of teas and one that was particularly interesting and unfamiliar to me. It was a deep, dark red-to-almost-black tea that had an earthy, smoky aroma and flavor that while at first tasted quite different, quickly grew on me and I was seeking out samples frequently. I continued to drink it sporadically for the next several years.
PU’ERH CONNOISSEURS AND ENTREPRENEURS
I subsequently met Larry and Yang Su Chin of PURE PUER TEA at the Farmers Market in Sausalito. As I said, I had drunk Pu’erh over the years, but tasting and trying their tea took me to a whole new level. They invited me to their home to a tea tasting and I tried various grades and ages of Pu’erh tea explained and served by Su, who is an expert in all things Pu’erh and travels to China frequently to buy and experience the wonders of the growth and harvest of the tea. I was blown away by the complexity and deliciousness of the tea. I drank tea until I thought my bladder would burst! You can read about the source and how Pu’erh is grown, made, aged, and stored on their site. It also is best when you follow the special brewing instructions. Wikipedia also has pictures and describes the different types of Pu’erh teas.
It might be compared to wine, as the quality and flavor can vary markedly depending on climate conditions, time of harvest, age of plant, processing, storage, etc.
PU’ERH HEALTH BENEFITS
Pu’erh is reported to provide many health benefits including weight loss, improved digestion, hangover relief & reducing cholesterol as described in this article about Alice Waters who says she has lowered her cholesterol by 100 points by drinking Pu’erh tea. In animals, Pu’erh tea was shown to decrease fatty acid synthase, involved in insulin/metabolism and led to suppression of weight gain. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol in animals though the mechanism is not clearly elucidated.
My last two lab tests have shown a mildly elevated cholesterol so I have decided to give Pu’erh a test trial. I am going to drink at least 24-30 oz of Pu’erh (Su says you need to drink enough to get results) a day and then repeat my numbers in 3 months. I started drinking Pu’erh recently when I was trying to lose a few holiday pounds and I found it very helpful in controlling carbohydrate cravings. I believe that it helps to stabilize blood sugar probably through the FAS pathway leading to improved insulin/glucose metabolism. I put it in a thermos and sip on it all morning. I find it a bit stimulating for evening though. Watch this video from Dr Oz on teas for weight loss.
GIVE PU’ERH A TRY
So, I suggest that you give this lovely tea a try. Use it as an adjunct to your weight loss program and see if it helps you shed/keep off a few pounds, bring your cholesterol into a favorable range and/or avoid medications.
Join Larry, Su and me in Sausalito at the Farmers Market held every Sunday, 10am to 2pm and enjoy samples of delicious Pu’erh tea. (Dunphy Park, 1600 Bridgeway, Sausalito)