Camellia sinensis var. sinensis is the latin name for the Chinese Tea Plant.
It is well documented that Chinese teas contain a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants that support our optimal functioning and that the levels of these positive nutrients are found to be higher in whole-leaf teas, as they are such exceptional quality.
The main difference between Chinese teas and those from almost any other country is that in China they still handpick their teas and this is the ONLY way to create a ‘whole’ leaf tea. Most countries in the world machine-harvest and this chops up the leaves.
What are the benefits of whole leaf? Beyond the increase in beneficial nutrients, using a whole leaf greatly affects the brew time, the leaves brew more slowly due to the small surface area, allowing much more of the goodness to pass into the cup. The whole leaves hold their flavour, so are perfect to be re-used throughout the day (preventing consumption of any further caffeine) which enables these teas to hydrate you. The quality and benefits of that hydration are enhanced by the additional contents of the tea leaves.
Also the Chinese use clever processing methods to create 5 different categories of tea- white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh, whereas most other countries focus on just one.
Most interesting is that the whole-leaf Chinese teas contain high quantities of a unique amino acid called L-Theanine. It is a key ingredient in tea’s anti-stress effects. It removes cortisol (the stress hormone) from the blood and helps us return us to our calm ‘rest, relax, digest’ state, the opposite of our stress response. This is why most people notice improvements in their digestion, sleep & their energy levels when they begin to drink these teas regularly.
Research has shown this unique amino acid can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, neurotransmitters that positively affect our mood and motivation. It also increases alpha brain wave activity, engaging our parasympathetic nervous system response, where we heal, regenerate and thrive.