Pu’er Tea Benefits, Side Effects and Uses

Pu'er tea

There are many rumors around Pu’er tea. Magical properties are attributed to it. This drink is considered almost a cure for all diseases and a means to improve mood. Here in this article, we’ll share some info to understand the properties of Pu-erh from a scientific point of view. So what are the Pu’er tea benefits?

What is a Pu-er Tea?

Pu-erh tea — or Pu’er tea (Chinese 普洱茶, pinyin pǔ’ěrchá, pall. Puercha, literally: “tea from Pu-erh”) is a post-fermented drink. It differs in specific production technology: the harvested leaves, processed to the level of green tea, undergo a microbial fermentation procedure – natural or artificial (accelerated) aging. Fermentation occurs under the influence of Aspergillus acidus, molds of the genus Aspergillus.

The most important thing to understand is that the effect of drinking tea depends very much on the quality of this tea. Therefore, having bought the cheapest Pu-erh, you should not expect something outstanding from it. As you should not judge all smartphones, walking around only with the simplest, weakest, and with a bad camera.

Although in teas, the price does not directly correlate with the quality. And pu-erh for the average price can be better than the expensive one. So, if the topic is interesting, take another hour to study information about where to get it, which one to take, how to brew, and other related questions. Or at least check with a seller in a good tea shop.

Main Pu’er Tea Benefits

Cholesterol and Pu-erh

Pu-erh has a lot of evidence to improve lipid profile. Yes, this is the very cholesterol! More precisely, high and low-density lipoproteins. If it is not clear for you, but it is interesting, then remember: low density is better to reduce, high – to increase. And your favorite pu-erh will help with this.

It is also mentioned that Pu-erh contains lovastatin. These statins are currently the most effective drugs for controlling cholesterol, low and high-density lipoprotein levels. But in a standard cup of Pu-erh, lovastatin is ten times less than a low dosage of statins as drugs. So pu-erh will actually improve your cholesterol levels, but not because of lovastatin (12).

pu-erh tea benefits
Effects of consuming Pu-erh on cholesterol levels

In one study in people with high cholesterol levels of 4.32 nmol / L (LDL), the pu’er group lowered the LDL to 3.81 nmol, in contrast to the control group. A decrease in body weight has also been noted, and this is often the reason for the improvement in health. But if you remember that Pu-erh contains both caffeine and many other substances, then a slight decrease in cholesterol and weight is quite real (3).

Fat and Pu-erh

Pu-erh helps to reduce visceral fat. This is fat that accumulates on the organs, not the belly. What is the evidence? The fact is that this tea contains gallic acid, and it reduces visceral fat deposits. In a study in Japan, taking pu-erh tea significantly reduced this fat in 12 weeks (4). Another test confirmed this effect (5). Moreover, both visceral and normal fat was burnt quite naturally.

visceral fat
Taking Pu’er significantly reduces visceral fat

So you can advise pu-erh to older relatives or acquaintances with obesity, as a rule in such cases, cholesterol is usually also in a sad state. Just do not brand pu-erh as a super fat burner – that will no longer be true.

Effects of Pu-erh on fat mass

A certain antibacterial effect can be singled out separately (67). Not an antibiotic, but not just tea. So for the flu, it works more than a placebo (8).

So does Pu-erh invigorate or not?

If you don’t care about cholesterol and visceral fat, then yes – pu-erh invigorates! But no, not as much as you might think.

There are two of these teas: one contains 100 mg of caffeine per cup, the other – 70. After all, there is no absolutely identical set of substances in even the same tea. And there are two people. One gushes cans of energy drinks. The other rarely drink something. And in this case, Pu-erh will work more powerfully on the 2nd person, even if they only get 70 mg of caffeine.

GABA Pu’er Tea Benefits

Oddly enough, pu-erh is not only invigorating! There is evidence that it interacts with the GABA neurotransmitter, inhibits the nervous system, and also contains the substance GABA itself, which then becomes this neurotransmitter (9).

Especially for current or future tea drinkers, we found a study comparing the concentration of GABA in different varieties and types of Chinese tea. And we noticed that there is quite a bit of GABA in pu-erh. But in white tea, GABA is the most. Therefore, if you are interested in the topic of teas not from the point of view of an invigorating effect, but for peace of mind, then you should drink white tea (10).

See also: Green Tea Extract: 5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits.

Caffeine and Theanine content in different teas

Theanine and Caffeine in Pu’er

Many teas have another popular ingredient – theanine, which is also more relaxing. Theanine works well with caffeine to increase focus. So, in the finished aged Pu-erh, it is almost absent!

Theanine content (from highest to lowest):

  1. Green, 
  2. White, 
  3. Oolong, 
  4. Black.

Caffeine content (from highest to lowest):

  1. Oolong, 
  2. Black, 
  3. White, 
  4. Green. (11)

Naturally, the effect of tea is not limited only to these substances, but the overall invigorating effect is more pronounced in Pu-erh than others. The total calming effect is greater in classic green and white teas.

pu-erh tea
Caffeine and Theanine content in different teas

Pu-erh Side Effects

In terms of safety, there is no evidence that anyone was poisoned with pu-erh or developed any disease. Of course, you can hardly say that it contains caffeine. Thus if you are a grandmother with high blood pressure willing to drink a liter of high-quality pu-erh in one gulp, then you will definitely need an ambulance. Overall, reasonable dosages are safe.

Summing Up The Pu’er Tea Benefits

  • Among teas, Pu-erh is one of the most invigorating.
  • Much depends on its quality and ability to brew properly.
  • It is impossible to identify the exact reason why such an effect occurs, but low levels of GABA and Theanine play an important role.
  • Among other useful properties: it corrects cholesterol, helps to lose weight, and has an antibacterial effect.

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