Biodynamically farmed at the Makaibari estate in India’s Darjeeling district. Established in 1859, Markaibari is the oldest estate in Darjeeling, where a strong commitment to sustainable farming prevails. A rich and complex organic Darjeeling white tea.
White Tea: Prevent Cancer, Arthritis, and Fight Aging
(From sciencedaily.com)Researchers from Kingston University teamed up with Neal’s Yard Remedies to test the health properties of 21 plant and herb extracts. They discovered all of the plants tested had some potential benefits, but were intrigued to find white tea considerably outperformed all of them.
Professor Declan Naughton, from the School of Life Sciences at Kingston University in South West London, said the research showed white tea had anti-ageing potential and high levels of anti-oxidants which could prevent cancer and heart disease. “We’ve carried out tests to identify plant extracts that protected the structural proteins of the skin, specifically elastin and collagen,” he explained. “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, he added.
Results showed white tea prevented the activities of the enzymes which breakdown elastin and collagen which can lead to wrinkles that accompany ageing. These enzymes, along with oxidants, are associated with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
Professor Naughton said: “These enzymes and oxidants are key components of normal body processes. However, in inflammatory conditions, suppressing the activities of these excess components has been the subject of decades of research. We were surprised to find such high activity for the white tea extracts in all five tests that were conducted.”
The researchers were blown away by exactly how well the white tea had performed. “We were testing very small amounts far less than you would find in a drink,” Professor Naughton, one of the country’s leading specialists on inflammation, said. “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.”
Eight of the other plants and herbs analysed also helped protect against the breakdown of both elastin and collagen. After white tea, bladderwrack performed well followed by extracts of cleavers, rose, green tea, angelica, anise and pomegranate.
What Does Biodynamic Mean?
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. One of the first modern ecological farming systems, it emphasizes a sustainable approach to agriculture.
Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include an emphasis on integrating farm animals, the cultivation of crops, and the care of the land, the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays, an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems using local breeds and varieties and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.
History of Darjeeling Tea
During the British Raj, Darjeeling’s temperate climate led to its development as a hill station for British residents seeking to escape the summer heat of the plains. The development of Darjeeling as a sanatorium and health resort proceeded briskly. Arthur Campbell, a surgeon with the Company, and Lieutenant Robert Napier were responsible for establishing a hill station there. Campbell’s efforts to develop the station, attract immigrants to cultivate the slopes and stimulate trade resulted in a hundredfold increase in the population of Darjeeling between 1835 and 1849. The first road connecting the town with the plains was constructed between 1839 and 1842. In 1848, a military depot was set up for British soldiers, and the town became a municipality in 1850. Commercial cultivation of tea in the district began in 1856, and induced a number of British planters to settle there.
Unlike most Indian teas, Darjeeling is normally made from the small-leaved Chinese variety of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, rather than the large-leaved Assam plant (C. sinensis var. assamica). Traditionally, Darjeeling tea is made as black tea; however, Darjeeling oolong and green teas are becoming more commonly produced and easier to find, and a growing number of estates are also producing white teas.