Ceylon Tea Benefits and Side Effects

Woman Picking Tea Above Waterfall, Talawakele, Sri Lanka
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Ceylon tea is from Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. The tea is produced using either black tea leaves, green tea leaves, or white tea leaves and may be consumed hot or cold. According to fans of the drink, Ceylon tea benefits may include a boost in metabolism or decreased risk of disease. But not all of these benefits have been proven in clinical studies.

What Is Ceylon Tea?

Unlike most teas which have names based on the leaves from which they are made, Ceylon tea is named after the place where the tea leaves are grown. Ceylon was once a British colony that was the world's largest producer of coffee. But when the coffee industry was wiped out due to a plant disease (coffee-rust) tea farmers took over the infrastructure and began a new thriving industry.

Now there are seven distinct Ceylon tea districts and each district, with its own climate and terrain, produces tea with a slightly different taste and character.

  • The Kandy district is the oldest district located in the central province of Sri Lanka. Tea from this area is said to be intense and full-bodied.
  • The Nuwara Eliya is rugged, mountainous, and has the highest elevation. Tea from this district has a golden hue, is delicate, and fragrant.
  • The Uda Pussellawa district is wet and misty. Tea from this region is typically dark and pinkish and may have a hint of rose aroma. The tea is usually described as having a medium body with a subtle character, although heavy rainfall may produce a darker tea with stronger flavor.
  • The Uva district experiences dry winds and sometimes monsoon systems. The climate produces aromatic tea with a mellow smooth taste. Thomas Lipton produced tea in this region that he used to bring tea tasting culture to America.
  • The Dimbula district is wet and misty for most of the year. The tea is described as refreshing and mellow with a golden-orange hue.
  • The Sabaragamuwa district has rich valleys that produce tea that is said to have a hint of sweet caramel.
  • The Ruhuna district is located in the southern province of Sri Lanka and produces "low-grown" teas described as full-flavored and unique.

Genuine Ceylon tea displays a unique lion logo on the package. The logo is owned by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and is trademarked around the world. In order to display the lion logo, growers must produce and manufacture their tea entirely in Sri Lanka and submit their tea to the Sri Lanka Tea Board Tea Tasting Unit for approval.

Does Ceylon Tea Have Caffeine?

Ceylon tea does contain caffeine, but the amount of caffeine in your cup will depend on the leaves used to produce the tea and on your preparation method. For example, tea bags usually provide more caffeine than whole tea leaves. Also, steeping the tea longer will give you a more caffeinated beverage.

Ceylon tea may be produced with green tea leaves, black tea leaves, or white tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant.

  • If the Ceylon tea is made with green tea, it will have a modest amount of caffeine. Traditional green tea has about 35 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
  • If the Ceylon tea is made with black tea leaves it will have more caffeine. Traditional black tea contains approximately 50-90 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
  • If the Ceylon tea is made with white tea leaves it may have as little as six milligrams of caffeine per cup (some tea drinkers assume that white tea is decaffeinated) but can have more depending on the kind that you buy.

Health Benefits

Benefits of drinking Ceylon tea are the same benefits you'll gain from drinking tea from other regions such as China or India. Researchers have been studying green tea, black tea, and other types of tea for decades and have associated tea drinking with positive outcomes. For example, tea often provides a boost in mental alertness. The drink may also increase your energy levels which may help you to boost your metabolism.

Additionally, both black and green tea contain polyphenols including catechins, flavonoids, and tannins. Polyphenols are plant-based chemicals that may provide health benefits. Researchers have linked consumption of flavonoids to important health outcomes, including a decreased risk for cancer.

Studies have associated tea consumption with a decreased risk for heart disease, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol. However, the National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Integrative Health still reports that the evidence is limited and it does not recommend for or against the use of tea to help prevent cancer.

Side Effects

In terms of side effects, Ceylon tea is no different from tea that is manufactured in other parts of the world. When you drink any caffeinated beverage, you may experience some side effects, especially if you consume the beverage in large quantities. You may experience headaches, jitters, shakiness, or problems sleeping after drinking too much tea. To reduce these side effect, drink less tea or drink tea that is not strong.

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