On your next trip to a Chinese restaurant, see if you’ll be served a deep, dark brownish red tea with a fascinatingly earthy yet mellow taste.  Chances are, this is the famed and highly-valued pu-erh tea that many of the finest Chinese eateries serve their clients after a hearty meal.

Pu-erh tea is widely used as an after-meal beverage due to its famed ability to break fat, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and thus contribute to smooth digestion.

Pu-erh tea is considered among the oldest and most valuable types of tea in China.   Pu-erh tea is derived from the large leaf variety of the camellia sinensis plant from where green tea, black tea and oolong tea are also obtained.  During the golden era of the ancient Chinese Empire, pu-erh tea was given as a tribute to the Emperor.  It was also used as medium of exchange for trading goods.

Pu-erh tea is quite distinctive from other tea varieties as it is usually obtained in a compressed state instead of the usual loose leaf state.  The tea leaves are pressed together during processing into different shapes but mostly ball or brick shaped.  The resultant ‘tea bricks’ are then aged for some time, and sold to customers.  When making a pot of tea, a small portion of the brick is detached and placed in newly-boiled water for steeping.

Its name "pu-erh" is derived from the Pu-erh county in the Yunnan province of southwestern China where the tea is produced.  The tea is grown in elevations of up to 2,000 meters as its cultivation is enhanced by cool and pure air and fertile lands.

Pu-erh tea, when taken on a consistent basis, is widely thought to aid in reducing bad cholesterol levels and regulating high blood pressure.  This in turn, plays a vital role in staving off heart disease and stroke.  This is because the tea is believed to be effective in breaking down the oily and fatty content of food, thus facilitating the digestive process and speeding up metabolism.  It also helps in ‘melting’ and clearing out the toxins that line the intestines and the stomach.

Pu-erh tea is likewise believed to be imbued with potently strong qi or the body’s life energy that contributes in boosting the flow of blood and overall circulation. This can help cure minor aches and pains.

So the next time you partake of a tasty and sumptuous meal that’s laden with fat and oils, remember to close the meal with a nice hot cup of flavorful pu-erh tea.  Aside from being pleasant-tasting, you will benefit from its ability to gently help digest the meal, thus leaving you feeling refreshed and healthy.

Written by Edwin Bartolome
Article source: Articlesbase.com
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