Next to water, Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Since ancient times it has been considered a precious commodity and major influence on trade routes and expeditions. Among all the teas available, Black Tea has ling been the most popular because of its distince aroma and long lasting flavor. In recent years Green Tea has been under the microscope of scientist looking to discover just exactly why it has for centuries been with long life, health, and well-being in the Orient. It has been suggested it is the powerful polyphenol antioxidant compounds and flavonionds in Green Tea that give it its miraculous reputation. Now scientist, such as those at the American Heart Association, are looking to Black Tea to see if is also possesses life giving and extending properties.
Black Tea is derived from the leaves of the some perennial evergrenn shrub known in Latin as Camellia Sinensis that green Tea leaves come from. The difference in Black and Green leaves is the manner in which they are processed. Green leaves are not oxidized or fermented which allows them to retain natural enzymes but also decreases their shelf life. Black Tea on the other hand goes through a process of dying, rolling, fermenting, and firing which gives it its distinguishing color and distince flavor. While it has a shelf life of nearly seven times that of Green Tea the potent enzymes become activated and change into different molecules which may have different effects on the human body. Black Tea has remained the more popular beverage throughout the centuries because it has a stronger flavor then that of Green Tea.
The questions posed by modern medicine over Black Tea primarily concern its antioxidant properties and flavonoid compounds. Oxidation is a chemical reaction which results in the loss of electrons of a molecule, atom, or ion. Oxidation of metals leads to rust. Oxidation in the human body leads to degenerative conditions such as hardening of the arteries. Antioxidants such as those found in tea act as scavengers hunting down free radicals that can damage cells through chemical chain reactions with other molecules. Clinical trials have been conducted using Black Tea to determine if it has cholesterol-lowering affects. During such studies some subjects were given a caffeinated placebo beverage while others were given Black Tea. The results offered some evidence of Black Tea as an agent for lowering the oxidation of LDL cholesterols, which has been directly correlated to heart disease. Some scientists have suggested Black Tea can reduce the clotting factor of platelets in the blood and resist hardening of arteries. In test tubes the flavonoids found in Black Tea did in fact prevent clumping of blood platelets but it is not yet determined if this holds true within the living body. This leads scientists to believe Black Tea does in fact hold water in terms of preventing death after heart attacks when consumed regularly.