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Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Flowering Tea?

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 22, 2020

Flowering tea is a treat for the eyes, nose, and palate. Consisting of tea leaves woven around a dried blossom, flowering tea is brewed in a glass teapot so everyone can enjoy watching the tea "bloom." Skilled artisans create the tea bundles, weaving and tying them into a ball. Other names for flowering tea include blooming tea, blossoming tea, display tea, and tea balls.

All true teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Growers create different teas, such as green, black, and oolong, by varying the drying and processing methods. Herbal teas are tisanes (herbs, spices, and other plant material), not true teas. Flowering tea is a mixture of tea and tisanes. 

In ancient times, people used tea as a herbal medicine long before drinking it for pleasure. They added flowers to boost the medicinal value and sensory delights of the tea. Some blossoms commonly used in flowering tea are jasmine, calendula, globe amaranth, marigold, and lily. 

Nutrition Information

Most teas contain no calories unless you add milk, cream, honey, or sugar. Most flowering teas are made of green tea. One cup of green tea contains:

  • Calories: 0
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

The benefits of drinking tea come mainly from its antioxidant content, not from vitamins and minerals. Green tea contains some of these nutrients, mostly in trace amounts:

Different types of tea contain varying levels of caffeine. Herbal tea contains no caffeine. An eight ounce cup of black tea contains 47 milligrams and the same amount of green tea contains 28 milligrams. 

Potential Health Benefits of Flowering Tea

Flowers have been used in traditional and non-traditional medicines. For example, the calendula can treat more than a dozen different ailments. However, the normal concentration of flower elements in tea is too weak to make an effective medicine. Most of the health benefits of flowering tea come from the tea leaves.

Drinking flowering tea has been shown to have these possible health benefits:

Psychological Benefit

Making and drinking flowering tea is a ritual that can have psychological benefits. Rituals can calm emotions, improve performance, and create social connections. In one study, holding a hot drink influenced the way people regarded others. Those holding a hot drink perceived other people as warmer-natured than those holding an iced drink did.  

Heart Disease Risk

Tea leaves are rich in antioxidants, especially catechins. One catechin, called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, may reduce the risk of heart disease. It also has positive effects on metabolic health and may help prevent type 2 diabetes, which often accompanies heart disease.

Lower Risk of Cancer

Scientists believe that the antioxidants in tea may prevent cell damage that sometimes becomes cancer. These antioxidants could also kill abnormal cells. But most of the studies on tea and cancer have focused on animals or cells in the lab. Scientists say that human studies are harder to manage and have given inconsistent results.

Anti-Cancer Effects

One form of cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), has responded to treatment with green tea extract. In the lab, after treating cancer cells with the extract, researchers did a human study with positive results. They hope the extract will allow those with CLL to delay chemotherapy. Since researchers used extract, and not brewed tea, it's uncertain what the benefit of brewed tea would be.

Oral Health

The catechins, mild acids, and other plant-based substances found in green tea can positively affect oral health, especially for older adults. Green tea can decrease cavities, reduce chances of periodontitis, and even combat bad breath. 

Potential Risks of Flowering Tea

While flowering teas are safe for most people, they do have a few possible health risks:

Anemia

Studies show that tea can interfere with the absorption of iron from foods. If you are at risk of iron deficiency, you should avoid drinking tea with meals and, if possible, increase your intake of iron from animal sources.

Insomnia

The caffeine in tea can cause insomnia or jitters. To avoid these symptoms, consume tea early in the day or look for caffeine-free varieties. Although tea has less caffeine than coffee, multiple cups can still cause problems. Green tea has less caffeine than black. If you are okay with caffeine but don't want too much, try green tea varieties.

Kidney Stones

Tea leaves are rich in oxalates, which are plant compounds that bind with calcium to form the most common type of kidney stone. If you are trying to reduce your risk of kidney stones, you should avoid oxalates.

Liver Damage

Supplements made of green tea, such as weight-loss products, may damage the liver, researchers have found. But there is no evidence that drinking flowering tea or other green tea products will affect the liver. Still, if you have liver damage, you should talk to your doctor before having green tea in any form.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Consumer Report: "Liver Damage From Supplements Is on the Rise."

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: "Effect of tea and other dietary factors on iron absorption."

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: "Tea, green, brewed, Celestial Seasonings."

Geriatrics and Gerontology: "Green tea: A novel functional food for the oral health of older adults."

Journal of the American College of Nutrition: "Effects of green tea and EGCG on cardiovascular and metabolic health."

Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More."

Mayo Clinic: "Green Tea Extract Appears to Keep Cancer in Check in Majority of CLL Patients."

National Cancer Institute: "Tea and Cancer Prevention."

National Kidney Foundation: "Kidney Stone Diet Plan and Prevention."

Personality and Social Psychology Review: "The Psychology of Rituals: An Integrative Review and Process-Based Framework."

Science: "Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth."

UC Davis: "Global Tea Initiative."

USDA FoodData Central: "Tea, hot, leaf, green."

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