USES OF TEA
 
 
 
 
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Tea
 
Tea is a drink made from the leaves and buds and is the most important non-alcoholic beverage in the world. It has two basic forms: black tea and green tea.

Black tea makes up about 78% of the commercial tea drunk throughout the world, including the famous British 'cuppa' and that most often enjoyed in the rest of Europe and North America. Green tea remains more popular in the Far East.

The medicinal effects of tea have a history dating back almost 5000 years in China. The use of tea in traditional Chinese medicine is well-documented and it is suggested that it could be used as a cure for over 200 illnesses and symptoms! Tea is not an important medicine in the main medical traditions of South Asia.

Medicinally tea has been most used as a stimulant, or as an astringent lotion which may be used as a gargle or injection. An infusion of tea leaves was once used as a remedy for insect blights. An infusion of tea has been used for some digestive problems and to reduce sweating in fevers. In Tamil Nadu, tea leaves have been used homoeopathically for mania, paralysis, nervousness, neuralgia and sleeplessness.
Tea's stimulant effects are caused by xanthines such as caffeine. Caffeine is included in small doses in some over-the-counter medicines for its stimulant effect, and is often combined with medicines that treat pain such as aspirin.

A related compound found in tea is theophylline, which is a licensed medicine for the treatment of respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Tea also contains flavonoids, compounds reported to have anti-oxidant properties. These effects may be beneficial to health such as in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Tea flavonoids are also reported to reduce inflammation and to have antimicrobial effects. Some studies suggest that tea may help prevent tooth decay. Consumption of tea may have diuretic effects, which is largely due to the caffeine, and tea may also inhibit the absorption of iron in the gut. Tea is also used in some cosmetic products for an astringent effect.

The possible beneficial health effects of tea consumption have been suggested and supported by some studies, but others have not found beneficial effects. One should consult a doctor before using high concentrations of tea for disease prevention. Ingestion of large amounts of tea may cause nutritional and other problems because of the strong binding activities of tea polyphenols and the caffeine content, although no solid data exist concerning harmful effects of tea consumption.

 



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