Researchers from Kingston University in London have teamed up with Neal’s Yard Remedies to test the medicinal properties of 21 different herbs and plant extracts. They found that all 21 had some benefit but were surprised to find that white tea outshone them all.
China white, or Fujian white tea was found to have high levels of anti-oxidants that could potentially prevent heart attacks and cancer.
It could also assist with wound healing and could even be used as an anti-aging product!
Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, said
“We’ve carried out tests to identify plant extracts that protected the structural proteins of the skin, specifically elastin and collagen. Elastin supports the body’s natural elasticity which helps lungs, arteries, ligaments and skin to function. It also helps body tissue to repair when you suffer wounds and stops skin from sagging. Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues in the body and is important for skin, strength and elasticity.”
The tea stopped the activity of enzymes which break down collagen and elastin and lead the person to develop lines and wrinkles and thereby reduced the signs of aging.
Having too many of these natural enzymes can lead to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and some types of cancer so suppressing their action is in the interest of the patient.
Very high levels of antioxidants were found in the tea during five tests that were performed, which surprised the researchers.
“We were testing very small amounts far less than you would find in a drink,” Professor Naughton added. “The early indicators are that white tea reduces the risk of inflammation which is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis and some cancers as well as wrinkles.”
Professor Naughton is one of the UK’s leading specialists on inflammation and arthritis.
Dr Pauline Hili, Technical Director for Neal’s Yard Remedies, said: “We are really excited by this research as it helps us to remain innovative and at the cutting edge of natural skin care.