Assistant Professor and HOD, Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy, India
Submission: April 14, 2018;; Published: July 02, 2018
*Corresponding author:Harshal A Pawar, Assistant Professor and HOD (Quality Assurance), Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy, Ulhasnagar - 421003, Maharashtra, India, Tel: +91-8097148638; Email: email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
How to cite this article: Harshal A Pawar. White Tea a Day Keeps Disease Away: A Review. Curr Trends Biomedical Eng & Biosci. 2018; 15(5): 555925.
White tea is a rare tea that is obtained from the same plant (Camellia sinensis) as green, oolong and black tea. It is derived from silvery buds and young leaves of the plant. The leaves are hand-picked, steamed and dried without further processing. It is the least processed tea among all the teas available in the market. Minimum processing result in the preservation of high amounts of phytochemicals that confers many health benefits. This present review provides a general overview of the origin, processing, phytochemistry and the potential health promoting benefits of white tea.
Keywords: White tea; Antioxidants; Catechin; Polyphenols
Nutraceuticals have received considerable interest because of their presumed safety and potential nutritional and therapeutic effects. Pharmaceutical and nutritional companies are aware of the monetary success taking advantage of the more health-seeking consumers and the changing trends resulting in a proliferation of such value-added products aimed at heart health to cancer.
Tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. Tea has been used as medicine for centuries [1,2]. Now modern science is discovering what people in China and throughout the world have long known that the tea is good for us. White tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels . Originating from and predominantly produced in southern China, it was virtually unknown to the western world until the late 1800s.
The plant Camellia sinensis (Family: Theaceae) yields white, green and black tea . White tea is an unfermented tea made from young shoots of Camellia sinensis protected from sunlight to avoid polyphenol degradation. Being the least processed tea, white tea has the high total polyphenol content. Its supreme power is in preventing disease and disorder. White tea protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, the leading causes of death in
the industrial world, as well as numerous other conditions. There are four main varieties of white tea which includes Silver Needle, White Peony, Long Life Eyebrow, and Tribute Eyebrow [5,6]. The present review provides a general overview of the origin, processing, phytochemistry and the potential health promoting benefits of white tea.
White tea is made from the buds of the tea plant. Unlike black or green tea, white tea is not rolled, and only slightly oxidized, making it the least processed tea. White tea belongs to the group of tea that does not require panning, rolling or shaking. Plucking of young tea leaves with much fine hair can produce good-quality white tea. The leaves and buds are allowed to wither in natural sunlight before they are lightly processed to prevent oxidation or further tea processing. It is steam dried quickly after the leaves are picked- there is no oxidation at all. Because there is no oxidation, it contains the most anti-oxidants and catechins, the least caffeine, and has a pale colour with a delicate, sweet taste. This tea is pale yellow or green in color [7,8]. The simplified steps of processing of white tea are summarised in Figure 1.
The dried leaves and buds used for preparation of white tea
and the tea preparation prepared thereof is depicted in Figure 2
The main constituents of tea include proteins, polysaccharides,
polyphenols, minerals and trace elements, amino and organic
acids, lignin’s, and methylxanthines (caffeine, theophylline, and
theobromine). White tea contains about 3.35-5.74 % of caffeine,
16.23-25.95% of Polyphenol’s, 0.06-1.44 % of flavonol glycosides,
and 7.94-16.56 % of catechins. The major phenolic compounds
present in tea leaves are catechins (also known as flavan-3-ols)
and their derivatives, which constitute up to 30% of their dry
weight. The chemical structure of Catechin is depicted in Figure 4.
The main catechins present in White tea are: (-)-epicatechin
(EC), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), collectively known as
flavanol monomers, (-)-epicatechin 3-gallate (ECG), and
(-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG) (Figure 2), which are
flavanol gallates [9-13].
The health benefits of white tea are summarized as below:
1. Tea catechins effectively reduce cholesterol absorption
from the intestine, lowering the solubility of cholesterol and
enhancing the faecal excretion of cholesterol and total lipids.
It lowers bad cholesterol Low density lipoprotein (LDL) while
enhances the levels of High density lipoprotein (HDL). Thus, it
reduces hypertension, thereby prevents arteriosclerosis and
improves heart and cardiovascular health [14,15].
2. Numerous studies have demonstrated that tea
catechins and polyphenols are effective scavengers of
physiologically relevant reactive oxygen nitrogen species
(RONS) in vitro, including superoxide, peroxyl radicals, singlet
oxygen, peroxynitrite and hypochlorous acid. It is good for
cardiovascular and circulatory systems [16,17]. It prevents
heart strokes mainly due to the elimination free radicals due
to its antioxidant property [18,19].
3. Cancer is generally considered as uncontrolled cell
division that results in the aggregation of cells to form
tumours. It is one of the major causes of death in the modern
world and has shown to be a largely preventable disease,
highly susceptible to modulation by dietary factor’s .
Flavonoids, another group of antioxidants found in white tea,
are known to block the formation of carcinogenic cells and
as such it prevents the cancerous growth in prostate, colon,
intestine and stomach. Polyphenols present in tea may play
an important role in prevention of cancer by decreasing
DNA damage in the cell and reducing the activation of cancer
that leads to malignancy . Catechins also protect cell membranes against oxidation, keep RONS in confined zones
and probably block cell membrane receptors required for
cancer cell growth. The initiation of carcinogenesis can be
overcome by the repression of some catalytic activities and of
other specific enzymes involved in cancer initiation [22,23].
4. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is an increasingly common,
potentially devastating, expensive, treatable but incurable
lifelong disease. White tea is more likely to lower stress
and glucose levels in the blood and helpful for increasing
metabolism. Published reports show that numerous extracts
obtained from plants are effective in reducing glycemia,
causing fewer side effects and with lower cost than the usual
antidiabetic agents. Recently, White tea was reported to have
strong lipolytic and antiadipogenic activity in vitro. Hence,
white tea may demonstrate antidiabetic effect by reducing
oxygen species (OS) and hyperlipidaemia followed by insulin
resistance. Since diabetes mellitus is increasing worldwide
as is associated with several complications, there is a large
interest in finding an effective therapy and white tea seems to
be a good alternative. Furthermore, in-depth investigation is
needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action of white
tea against this disease [24,25].
5. Tea also exhibits some antimicrobial properties, which
are attributed mainly to its polyphenols. The degree of this
activity depends on the bacterial species and the polyphenol
structure. The antimicrobial activity of nonfermented tea
is higher than that of semi-fermented or fermented tea.
Moreover, the highest antimicrobial activity occurs in
samples with the highest total polyphenol concentration and
antioxidant activity [26-29]. The presence of tiny amounts of
fluoride improves the health of gums and teeth by destroying
6. White teas have been reported to possess higher
antielastase, anti-collagenase, and antioxidative activity than
certain green tea, suggesting its ability to promote strong
and elastic skin and alleviate inflammation and rheumatoid
arthritis . It enhances the density of bones and prevents
joint pains, softening of bones, and arthritis.
7. Although there are many proposed genetic and
environmental factors that predispose individuals to weight
gain, the fundamental cause of obesity is an imbalance
between dietary intake and energy expenditure. The
mechanisms of action of tea in obesity are: stimulation of
hepatic lipid metabolism; inhibition of lipases; stimulation of
thermogenesis; modulation of appetite; and synergism with
caffeine. Simple tea drinking may have easier acceptance by
the patients than prescription drugs, exercise and bariatric
surgery. The main attractions of tea as an anti-obesity agent
are that it is a more natural and safer alternative, there is no
need for professional supervision and it is readily accessible
and affordable [32-37].
8. White tea strengthens immune system as the
antioxidants act against viruses and bacteria [38-40]. As
it flushes out free radicals, it also improves skin health and
slows down aging process.
Dietary components influence prevalence of morbidity and
mortality due to chronic disease. To prevent this, more amounts
of antioxidants should be consumed in daily diet, which is readily
available in a simple cup of white tea. Studies have shown that
two to four cups of white tea per day yield great health benefits.
Although a great deal of information has been accumulated on the
effect of tea on cancer, a clear understanding of the mechanism
by which tea components may affect the genesis, growth, and
progression of specific cancers is essential. The bioavailability
of tea polyphenols following tea consumption by the human
population, studies on the absorption, distribution, and
metabolism of green and black tea polyphenols in animals and
humans are of utmost importance. It will be beneficial to carry
out more research and long-term clinical trials in this promising
area as tea is a common drink for many in many countries on a