First Year Is Tea. Third Year Is Medicine. Tenth Year Is Treasure.

The Effects of Tea

This ancient proverb captures the reverence the Chinese people hold for tea. Over the millennia, tea has been hailed for its medicinal quality and positive healing energy for the body and the mind.

Lu Yu, tea sage from the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) and author of “Cha Jing”, published in 780 A.D., described tea’s effect:

“The effect of tea is cooling and as a beverage it is most suitable. It is especially fitting for persons of self-restraint and inner worth.”
featured image chinese tea rituals harmony in a cup Gong Fu Cha oolong tea with a cup

Tea’s Health Benefits

Tea not only is a beverage that quenches the thirst, but it also stimulates the mind, and yet calms the nerves. According to the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong, the content of tea includes:

  • Polyphenols (chemical compounds that act as antioxidants)
  • Proteins
  • Amino acids
  • Alkaloids
  • Xanthine
  • Minerals
  • Plant pigments and various vitamins

“Wonder what type of tea helps with weight loss? Which teas are known for their quality to help with digestion, lower blood pressure, or reduce cholesterol for example?

According to Chinese herbal medicine, tea drinking comes with many health benefits. However, tea’s medicinal qualities vary by the type of tea being consumed, due to the various processing technique.

First-year is tea. Third-year tea becomes medicine. In the tenth year, tea is a treasure.

For all the tea enthusiasts in the world, we all say we love tea! Tea is art, culture, and above it all, tea is healthy! The amazing Camellia Sinensis plant comes with medicinal properties that the ancient Zen Buddhist monks and Chinese people had long revered tea for its healing qualities. This blog identifies some amazing health benefits of tea types. So enjoy your cup of tea, morning, noon, and night!


In 1440, Ming dynasty author Zhu Quan (1378-1448) described the effects of tea in his book “Chapu” or “The Manual of Tea” as follows:

“Tea is beneficial to the large intestine; it helps remove internal heat, eliminates phlegm, and clears the breathing passage. Furthermore, tea relieves hangovers and benefits the digestive system. Tea drinking helps soothe feelings of discomfort, eliminates grease, and refreshes one’s mind.”

“Tea quenches our thirst, stimulates the mind, and yet calms our nerves.”

According to Chinese herbal medicine, different types of tea offer various health benefits due to processing methods.

Fun Facts

The Chinese have an ancient saying about tea’s healing qualities:

First Year Is Tea. The third Year Is Medicine. The tenth Year Is Treasure.

一年茶 三年药 十年寶

Before we dive into each type of tea’s specific healing qualities, let’s first understand the six major tea types. Learn more about the six types of tea here.

Six Major Tea Types

featured image blog Six Types of Tea with loose leaf tea and tea in tea cups

White Tea

Some excellent White tea examples include Bai Hao Yin Zhen, Bai Mu Dan, Bai Mei, or White Eyebrow.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is also called Scented tea and is made with Green, Black, or Oolong tea mixed with flowers. Wonderful Yellow tea or Scented tea examples include Jasmine Green, Rose Black, and Osmanthus Oolong.

Green Tea

Good examples include Bi Lo Chun, Gunpowder, Lung Ching, Matcha, and Sencha.

Oolong tea

Significant cultivars of Oolong tea include Wuyi Rock tea (also known as Wuyi Oolong tea), Da Hong Pao, Dong Ding Oolong, Ti Guan Yin, or Iron Goddess of Mercy, etc.

Black Tea

The most famous Black teas include Lapsang Souchong, Darjeeling Black, Assam Black, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, etc.

Puer tea (or Pu Erh, Pu-erh, aka “Hei Cha” Dark tea in Chinese)

Also spelled Pu Erh, or Pu’er or Puerh, this ultra-dark tea is indigenous of the Yunnan province in China.

According to Chinese herbal medicine, each tea type comes with certain health benefits. Awesome, right? This is excellent news for all tea drinkers!

Health Benefits By Tea Type:

White Tea

White tea is known for its ability to:

  • Decrease the blood fat level
  • Reduce blood sugar level
  • Increase antioxidant level
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve skin complexion
  • Relieve summer heat 

Yellow tea or Scented or Mixed tea

Depending on the type of tea mixed with the flowers, these specific tea brings specific health benefits, such as the following :

Jasmine Green tea – excellent for:

  • Reduce stress
  • Nourish the intestines and stomach
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Detoxify the liver
  • Improve vision

Rose Black tea – wonderful qualities include:

  • Improve blood deficiency
  • Strengthen the endocrine system
  • Reduce stress. (Great for everyone!)

Osmanthus Oolong tea – a natural method to:

  • Improve digestive system
  • De-stress
  • Detox
  • Promote good oral hygiene – eliminate bad breath, for example.

Green tea – known for its healing properties:

  • Reduce the blood fat level
  • Lower blood sugar level
  • Boost antioxidant level
  • Strengthen blood capillaries
  • Support the immune system
  • Promote dental health
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Guard against damage due to radiation exposure
  • Detoxification
  • Improve skin complexion

Oolong tea – is my personal “weight-watcher” tea:

  • Reduce the blood fat level
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol level
  • Increase antioxidant level
  • Relieve atherosclerosis
  • Boost immune system
  • Promote dental health
  • Protect against damage due to radiation exposure
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Detox the body of alcohol
  • Stimulate fat-burning
  • Help eliminate oil/grease after meals.

Black tea – is known for the following medicinal qualities:

  • Reduce the blood fat level
  • Lower blood sugar level
  • Increase antioxidant level
  • Strengthen blood capillaries
  • Relieve atherosclerosis
  • Improve digestive system
  • Aid digestion

Pu erh or Dark Tea – cherished by Chinese tea drinkers for the following benefits: 

  • Reduce the blood fat level
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol level
  • Relieve atherosclerosis
  • Warm stomach and digestive system
  • Promote digestion
  • Help lose weight

And there you have it! All tea is healthy, so enjoy every cup of tea. Here’s to your good health!

Learn more about how tea is processed here.

Source: Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong.