The first batch of tea set to hit stores across the UK is expected to contain the highest concentrations of tea tree oil in history, according to scientists.
A team of scientists from the University of Cambridge, the University College London, and the University at Buffalo, who analysed the tea leaves of eight different tea plants in the US, China, Australia, and India, said the tea set was likely to contain “the highest concentrations ever found in tea”.
“Tea is one of the most important plants for human health, and its tea set could have a huge impact on people’s health,” said the team, who reported the results of their study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
“Our findings suggest that tea set has a potential health benefit for people who are already sensitive to tea.”
Dr Rakesh Raghavan, a professor at the University’s School of Life Sciences and the study’s lead author, said he and his colleagues were “delighted” with the tea’s health benefits.
“Tea set is a rich source of antioxidants, flavonoids and anti-inflammatory compounds,” Dr Raghavaan said.
“Its high tea content means it can be used as an anti-oxidant to treat many types of inflammation.”
Dr Chris Gifford, a bioethicist at the Medical Research Council, said that while tea is not the most popular beverage for detoxification, it had a huge influence on health.
“Research has shown that tea sets a host of health benefits for humans, including anti-cancer and immune boosting properties,” Dr Giffard said.
The tea set will be available to the public in March next year and has been in production since the mid-1980s.
Dr Raghavas study also revealed that tea leaves were highly nutritious.
“They are rich in protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and a number of minerals that have been found to have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties,” he said.
Dr Giffords group is working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new class of tea called “Tea-Binding Capsules”, which contain the tea components in the tea, in an attempt to reduce the health risks associated with tea consumption.
“This will give the tea sets increased potency, which will be of great benefit to patients and their families,” Dr Jaitlal Kaul, the co-founder of the Tea and Health Foundation, said.