15 Health Benefits of Oolong Tea, According to Science (+5 Delicious Recipes)

Oolong tea is a distinctive beverage originated and came traditionally from China. Nicknamed “Oriental Beauty,” this tea was often served to emperors and royalty of many countries. It is one of many in the family of teas that come from the plant Camellia sinensis, but the method used to make it is unlike that of other Camellia sinensis teas. Dating back to the Qing (pronounced “ching”) dynasty, the only origin known is in the form of a legend.

It is believed that a tea farmer was picking the leaves of his plants one day when he saw a deer. The farmer allegedly decided to go hunt the deer, rather than process the tea leaves immediately, and came back to the leaves a bit later to find them more aromatic and partially oxidized. He finished processing the tea leaves as normal.

When he prepared the tea, this farmer found that the flavor had changed entirely and was much stronger than it had originally been, carrying a sweet flavor without the usual bitter taste. This farmer had been nicknamed Oolong, and thus the tea was named after him. (1)

1. Oolong Tea Can Improve Mental Performance

The caffeine contained in in Oolong tea stimulates the central nervous system and brain, causing mental functions to be performed better. Caffeine also awakens and energizes the person who consumes it. Central nervous system stimulants are also able to improve reaction time and split-second decision making. Drinking Oolong tea has been suspected to improve mental alertness, and caffeine has shown in various tests and experiments that it does, in fact, aid in it. Adding sugar seems to improve this ability. (2)

Caffeine holds a multitude of abilities that could potentially be beneficial to one’s health. In addition to awakening the drinker of Oolong tea, caffeine is a diuretic(meaning it may be able to prevent gallstones), reduces inflammation, relieves some of the pain caused by headaches, and may even be able to protect brain cells from the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (3)

Key takeaway: Caffeine in Oolong tea can awaken and focus the drinker, allowing them to perform mental functions faster and more efficiently.

2. Oolong Tea Can Help Prevent Cancer

In two different scientific papers, written in the years of 2000 and 2009, it was stated that those who regularly drink oolong tea (consuming an average of three cups per day) have a slightly decreased risk of cancer. The article written in 2000 remarked upon the abilities of Camellia sinensis teas to protect against various forms of cancer, the potential to improve upon how well chemotherapy works, an addition to one’s diet that doesn’t add on to a lengthy list of medications, and the ability for polyphenolic antioxidants to prevent and inhibit tumor growth. (4)

The study performed in 2009 revealed further information about cancer and Camellia sinensis. The 2009 study originally showed no significant reduction in the occurrence of breast cancer, but when split by an age line, it was discovered that women under the age of 50 have a 37% decreased risk of breast cancer. (5)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea has the ability to prevent cancer and tumors.

3. Oolong Tea Can Strengthen Bones and Prevent Bone Loss

Weakened bones, an effect with many different causes, can be strengthened with the regular consumption of Oolong tea. A 2002 study found that there was a correlation between weekly habitual tea drinkers (hypothetically all coming from Camellia sinensis) and their bone mineral density.

Those who had been drinking tea a minimum of once a week for six years or more were found to have significantly higher bone mineral densities in their spines. The questioned subjects who had been drinking tea weekly for over ten years were shown to have increased bone mineral densities throughout their entire bodies. (6)

An additional study was later performed regarding bone mineral density. This one was far more recent and had a slightly different focus; in 2014, a study on postmenopausal Chinese women revealed that of those who drank Oolong tea and those who did not, it remained a fact that those who drank Oolong tea had a higher bone mineral density. This could result in the prevention of bone loss. (7)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea can strengthen the bones of those who drink it, preventing bone loss.

4. Oolong Tea Can Fight Eczema

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is something that no one is happy to have. Inflamed, itchy skin is never a fun occurrence. Although the causes of it are currently unknown, it is believed to be genetic and brought on by environmental factors.

A multitude of treatments for eczema are available, but for those with very severe and resistant form of atopic dermatitis, some of these treatments may be ineffective and useless. (8)

In a 2001 study, it was shown that recalcitrant atopic dermatitis, a particularly stubborn and persistent form of eczema, can be significantly combated by the consumption of Oolong tea.

After just one month, 63% of the patients suffering from this severe form of eczema showed significant improvement after drinking Oolong tea regularly. Six months into the study, 54% of the patients were still showing an improved condition. (9)

Key takeaway: Severe eczema can be countered by Oolong tea.

5. Oolong Tea Can Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term used to describe many different occurrences. The umbrella of cardiovascular diseases includes conditions such as congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm issues, and blocked blood vessels.

These can lead to negative consequences such as heart attacks and strokes, both of which can be fatal, and the less dangerous but still unfavorable symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath. (10)

In 2011, a study performed on Japanese men and women supported the idea that caffeine could protect against cardiovascular disease.

It was found that those who regularly consumed beverages with natural caffeine (such as Oolong tea) had a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; men were shown to have a 33% decreased risk and women had a 22% decrease in their risk for cardiovascular disease. (11)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea can help to prevent potentially fatal heart diseases.

6. Oolong Tea Can Aid With Diabetes

Having blood sugar that is too high can cause a multitude of problems.

Diabetes is known to be a cause of many bodily issues, including loss of consciousness, damaged blood vessels, heart disease, kidney damage, malfunctioning pancreas, and peripheral neuropathy (a broad term for conditions in which the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord are damaged). It’s quite clear that diabetes can be very dangerous if left untreated. (12)

A 2003 experiment performed on people with type 2 diabetes revealed the relationship between tea and blood sugar levels.

A total of 20 people drank either water or Oolong tea every day for 30 days. It was discovered that the patients who were drinking Oolong tea every day had a much lower blood sugar level than the control group of patients who were drinking water. (13)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics and potentially prevent diabetes.

7. Oolong Tea Can Aid in Weight Loss

In 2001, a scientific study using Oolong tea showed that metabolic rates and fat oxidation in men were sped up by the consumption of Oolong tea. Fat oxidation rates were shown to be 12% higher in men who drank Oolong tea versus those who drank water. (14)

Later on, in 2009, a test was performed on subjects who were (diet induced) overweight or obese. 8 grams of Oolong tea was consumed by each participant every day for a period of six weeks.

By speeding up the metabolism of lipids in the body, Oolong tea had caused over 70% of these overweight or obese subjects to lose at least 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight. (15)

In other words, anyone interested in losing weight can find help in Oolong tea. For those who have a slower metabolism and wish to manage their weight, by drinking Oolong tea, they have a method that is not only known to be safe but also has additional health benefits.

Key takeaway: Oolong tea speeds up the metabolism, aiding in weight loss and weight management. Consuming small amounts of oolong tea on a daily basis can reduce fat content in the body and also help people maintain body weight coupled with regular exercise.

8. Oolong Tea Can Suppress Cravings

In support of weight loss success and diabetes benefits of oolong tea, it’s effect in cravings suppression can also be of help. In view of the fact that oolong tea stabilizes blood sugar, it can prevent cravings from sweets most especially when the body is craving for dessert after a meal.

Also, if you need to get rid of hunger spasm, then oolong tea can be of help. Teasaponin is a compound extracted from oolong tea regulates leptin levels.

Leptin is also called as satiety hormone, a hormone that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Oolong tea is a great way to combat mid-afternoon slumps and sweet cravings. (16)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea has appetite suppressant effect can help you get rid of your cravings. People suffering from obesity and other eating disorders can benefit greatly by increasing their daily intake of oolong tea. It helps enhance leptin levels.

9. Oolong Tea Can Help in Stress Management

In a study done by Osaka Institute for Healthcare Science in Japan, the experiment shows that mice that drank oolong tea have 10 to 18% notable enhancement in their stress level. The polyphenol that is naturally present in oolong tea was recognized as the main stress-buster and alleviates mood swings.

Moreover, oolong tea has relaxing properties. Oolong tea leaves have L-theanine, an amino acid that blocks cortical neuron excitement, which increases the cognitive activity and neural stress responses.

Also, L-theanine is required in dopamine production, the brain’s neurotransmitter that is the key factor in motivation, productivity and focus. Low level of dopamine can lead to a lack of motivation, fatigue and mood swings.

The main effects are a general feeling of peacefulness, over-all sentiment of well-being and optimism without sedation. L-theanine, when combined with caffeine promotes cognition and attention. (17)

Key takeaway: Drinking oolong tea is a very powerful stress-buster and mood swings alleviator. It plays a positive role in increasing dopamine levels, which is important for reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

10. Oolong Tea Can Reduce the Risk to Heart Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the caused by plaque buildup in the arterial walls. These plaques are made up of cholesterol and other materials. CAD has been one of the most common types of heart disease in the United States. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Flavonoids in oolong tea can have a significant cholesterol-lowering effect.

A research was done in the year of 2009 at Kyoto University in Japan involving 76, 979 participators between the ages of 40 and 79, with no history of CAD has been the main focus.

As a result of this study, daily consumption of oolong tea reduces the risk of developing heart diseases and lessen the prevalence of death from cardiovascular disease.

Research proves that those who drink 1 to 6 cups of oolong tea in a week are at a lower risk of surrendering to cardiovascular diseases. (18)

Key takeaway: Consuming oolong tea was associated with the reduced risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Increasing daily consumption of oolong tea can reduce cholesterol and oxidative stress levels in the human body.

11. Oolong Tea Can Improve Oral Health

Oolong tea contains anti-bacterial properties that fight the growth of Streptococcus mutans. Studies from Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry in Japan show that the active polymeric polyphenols which can be specifically found in oolong tea extract can reduce the rate of acid production in the mouth by retarding the growth Streptococcus mutans in a dental experiment done in rats.

To test this theory in humans, they invited 31 volunteers who have dental caries. Successfully, dental plaques were removed among the 31 volunteers with the use of oolong tea.

Oolong tea helps prevent plaque build-up, combats tooth decay and decreases the occurrence of cavities. (19)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea contains properties which can promote good oral hygiene.

12. Oolong Tea Can Fight Age-Related Diseases

Free radicals are linked to many signs of aging such as certain age-related diseases. Oolong tea, who has richer antioxidants contents than green tea, can act as powerful antioxidants that can slow down the oxidation of the cells and fight these signs of aging.

The antioxidants that can be found in oolong tea are bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids are a large class of antioxidants that can enhance the action of Vitamin C for stronger immunity against diseases, treat allergies, viruses and other inflammatory conditions. (20)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea contains an abundance of antioxidants, which can help reduce cell damage and protect the body against diseases caused by aging.

13. Oolong Tea Can Enhance the Liveliness of the Skin

Human skin is very exposed to free radicals causing it to age rapidly and slows down the rate of exfoliation. With these accelerating process, skin develops fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone and rough skin. Regular consumption of oolong tea can do magical wonders to the skin and prevent these skin aging problems from happening.

The polyphenols present in oolong tea acts as high-level antioxidants that destroy the free radicals and provide relief from a spectrum of skin problems. Oolong tea diminishes wrinkles and improves skin tone and elasticity. With these antioxidants present in oolong tea you can now have a healthier and younger looking skin.

Moreover, oolong tea can prevent acne breakouts or clear acne to achieve glowing skin. This is because of the anti-allergic element of the polyphenols in oolong tea. (21)

Key takeaway: To have a healthier and younger looking make oolong tea your regimen.

14. Oolong Tea Can Be Beneficial to Healthier Hair

Drinking oolong tea promotes healthy and soft hair growth because of the high-level antioxidants it contains. However, oolong tea it’s not only beneficial to the body in the form of drinking, but it can also be applied to the hair for more fantastic benefits.

The antioxidants present in oolong tea can prevent rapid hair loss by ensuring proper metabolism of the hormone called DHT. An interruption in the metabolic activity of DHT in the body results in hair loss. So, make it a habit of rinsing your hair with oolong tea to prevent excessive shedding of hair. (22)

Key takeaway: Aside from drinking oolong tea, a tea rinse can also make your shiny and healthy.

15. Oolong Tea Can Reduce Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory activity of oolong tea is because of its antioxidants content in the form of catechins, theaflavins and theasinensins. Oolong tea targets specific inflammation-causing genes and prompts them to diminish inflammation.

A study was conducted wherein an edema caused by injecting carrageenan in rat’s paws was effectively shrank after soaking them in hot oolong tea extract. Oolong tea showed higher anti-inflammatory effects than those of green and black tea extracts.

An oral administration of oolong tea was also done but the result is lower than when the edema was soaked into hot oolong tea but still gave a positive effect in reducing inflammations. (23)

Key takeaway: Oolong tea greatly decreases general inflammation levels in the body.

5 Scrumptious Recipes With Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has a distinctive taste and somewhat different from its sisters the green and the black tea. Oolong tea is the most delicate among other kinds and it does not only have invigorating and powerful taste but also aromatic and clear.

Oolong tea is a very healthy beverage that contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, C, E and K, folic acid, niacin, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium, potassium, carotene and other detoxifying agents. In addition, other polyphenolic compounds of oolong tea also sum up to its health benefits.

Oolong tea contains a smaller amount of caffeine compared to the other varieties of tea. That is why it is acceptable to people who has high sensitivity to caffeine. So don’t you bother trying out these 5 scrumptious yet easy recipes which contain oolong tea and indulge with its health benefits that go along with it.

1. Smoked Oolong Tea Chicken

Ever wish you could get that restaurant-style barbecued chicken for dinner? Well, with minimal preparations and about 90-minutes cooking time now you can!

Ingredients:

For Poaching Liquid

1/3 cup of dry sherry

3 cups of clean drinking water

3 tablespoons of liquid soy sauce

2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

1 tablespoon of organic sugar

2 teaspoons ginger, minced

Smoking Mixture

1/2 cups of rice (long-grain)

1 teaspoon five spice powder

2/3 cups oolong tea leaves

Half a cup of brown sugar, packed

Basting Sauce

4 chicken legs

1 tablespoon soy sauce (dark)

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Method:

  1. For the poaching liquid, blend together all the ingredients. Transfer to a skillet, bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

  2. Next, combine with chicken legs. Mix well for 15 minutes and reduce heat.

  3. Take chicken legs out from the skillet in 15 minutes. Set aside on paper towels.

  4. Place chicken in a wok lined with foil.

  5. Next, in a small bowl mix together all smoking mixture ingredients. Transfer to the wok. On top of the smoking mixture, place the round cake rack followed by the chicken.

  6. For the basting sauce, combine dark soy and sesame in a bowl. Make sure to mix well.

  7. Place uncovered wok into a high heat fire. Wait for a few minutes. Once smoke begins to form, cover the wok with lid; smoke for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Set aside for 3 minutes.

  8. Combine chicken and the basting sauce. Serve hot.

2. Oolong Tea Dipped King Prawns

Are you a prawn lover? If you are, then this recipe best suits you.

Ingredients:

For prawns

1 beaten egg white

2 teaspoon cornflour

1 tablespoon dry sherry

A pinch of salt and white pepper

400 grams king prawns, deveined

For tea sauce

125 milliliters of stock chicken

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 tablespoon oolong tea leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

A pinch of salt and black pepper

To serve

200 grams cooked plain rice

4 handfuls boiled green peas

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

Method:

  1. Combine together egg, sherry, and salt and white pepper in a small bowl.

  2. Add the king prawns, stir properly to marinade evenly and then set aside for 25-30 minutes.

  3. Suspend a basket on top of the pan of simmering water. Transfer the prawns and steam for 7 minutes.

  4. For the tea sauce, combine sauce ingredients in the pan and cook on medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper Let it boil again for a minute before removing from heat and setting aside.

  5. Combine rice, peas, and prawns in serving bowls. Coat cooked prawns with the oolong tea sauce and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

3. Vegan Burger With Oolong Tea

For a more healthy option, here is a vegan burger for you.

Ingredients:

For the burger patty

2 whole cups of hot water

4 full oolong tea bags

3 tablespoons of neutral oil

1 chopped onion

1 teaspoon of minced garlic

7-ounce of firm tofu

1/2 cups wheat gluten

1 teaspoon of salt

1 minced jalapeño chilies

4 pieces plums (sliced)

1 tablespoon sugar (brown)

4-inch rolls (toasted)

Jalapeño chilies

Radishes

Cilantro to taste

For the jalapeño and radishes

8 radishes (sliced)

2 carrots

1/4 small onion (sliced)

1/2 cups oolong tea

1/4 cups of rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon sugar (natural)

3/4 teaspoons salt

Method:

  1. In hot water, submerge oolong tea for 10 whole minutes. Set aside.

  2. Cook oil with onions on medium-high heat. Stir until onions are caramelized. Combine garlic. Set aside.

  3. In another large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Cook with tofu. Cook until tofu is golden brown for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup tea infusion and cook for a minute. Remove from heat and let tofu cool.

  4. Add tofu, onion, salt, jalapeno, gluten, and 6 tbsp tea infusion in a bowl. Knead for 4 minutes. Convert mixture into 6 patties.

  5. On an oiled baking sheet, place each burger, use 1/4 cup water for the burgers and place an aluminum foil over. Baking for 30 minutes in a 300 degrees baking oven. Bake the other side for another 20-30 minutes.

  6. In a grill pan, cook plums with 1 tsp of oil on medium-high heat. Cook for 6 minutes on each side. In a large bowl add plums with brown sugar. Marinade mixture for 10 minutes. Blend remaining plums in a food processor. Garnish with salt.

  7. Cook oil with the burgers on medium-high heat. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Drizzle 2 tbsp of sauce to the burgers. Let cook for a minute. Turn to the other side and add a tbsp of sauce. Cook for a few more minutes.

  8. Make sandwiches by combine each burger to roll with plum slice and pickled veggies. Garnish with fresh cilantro to taste.

  9. Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. This will kick-start the pickling process.

4. Grapefruit Smoothie With Oolong Tea

After indulging yourself with delicious meals, why not try this exciting smoothie with the use of oolong tea? This going to be really refreshing once partnered with grapefruit.

Ingredients:

1 whole piece of pink or red grapefruit

1/2 cups oolong tea, brewed and chilled

1 drop orange bitters (optional)

1 cup ice cubes

natural sweetener (if desired)

Method:

  1. Peel, section, discard seeds and juice grapefruit.

  2. Add grapefruit sections and juice, oolong tea, orange bitters and ice cubes to the blender. Cover and blend until smooth and slushy.

  3. Taste and add sweetener, if desired.

5. Oolong Tea Cupcakes With Longan

Of course, there will always be a room for dessert. Unleashed your baking skills with this delightful longan-oolong tea cupcakes.

Ingredients:

50 grams dried longan, cut to small pieces

150 milliliters hot water

4 teaspoons oolong tea leaves

170 grams butter, softened

200 grams caster sugar

2 eggs

280 grams all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

Method:

  1. Steep oolong tea bags into hot water for 20 minutes. Warm up oolong tea in the microwave at high heat for 1 minute. Add dried longan into oolong tea mixture and then soak for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius

  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

  4. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Then, add eggs one at a time. Mix them together at low-speed mixer.

  5. Incorporate dried longan and tea to the mixture of flour. Fold well using a rubber spatula.

  6. Grease cupcake molder and line with cupcake liner. Spoon mixture into the cupcake molder.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  8. Cool completely before eating.

Wrapping It Up

If you find drinking water a little too plain for you, oolong tea is known as another healthy drink option that you can try from now on. Made from the leaves, buds and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, oolong tea is slightly fermented and semi-oxidized, giving it a distinctive taste and aroma. Drink oolong tea and experience all the health wonders it contains.

Granted that it bears many health benefits, always remember that oolong tea is rich in caffeine too, so this should come with a few precautions. As much as oolong tea is an astonishing and one powerful drink, there is too much of any good thing. You can obtain all of the above positive health effects if you drink one cup oolong tea in the morning and another one cup in the afternoon.

So make it a habit to have your tea time every day with oolong tea and reap every oolong tea health benefits.

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