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Does Oolong Tea Really Help Digestion?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Oolong or Wu Long tea is a type of Chinese tea which has been consumed for centuries. Some Chinese tout its health benefits, claiming that it promotes a healthy digestion, among many other things, and a cup of Oolong tea is often offered around meal times in Chinese households. Studies on the tea have suggested that it does, in fact, help with digestion, as well as promoting overall general health. In addition to being flavorful, it would seem that Oolong is also a healthy addition to the tea cabinet.

To make Oolong tea, tea leaves are harvested and partially oxidized before fermenting and roasting. The oxidation is carried out by leaving the tea leaves out in large trays to be exposed to the sun and wind. After roasting, the tea falls between black tea, which is fully oxidized, and green tea, which is not oxidized at all. Oolong tea retains the benefits of both teas with a mild, creamy flavor which is somewhere in between.

Consumption of Oolong tea is beneficial to the digestion in a number of ways. First, the tea alkalizes the digestive tract, which can be helpful for people with problems like acid reflux and ulcers. Oolong tea also stimulates the metabolism, and it helps the body to break food down more quickly, which is why some people promote it as a weight loss aid. Oolong is especially good at breaking down fat, making it easier for the body to process. In addition, Ooolong tea has mild antiseptic properties, and it can help clear bad bacteria out of your digestive system.

Oolong is also a very mild, smooth tea. It doesn't tend towards bitter and tannic like black tea does because it hasn't been fully oxidized, and it's not as harsh as green tea. The mild flavor of Oolong can help to settle and soothe the stomach, especially after a rich meal with a lot of spicy or greasy food. The tea also acts as a diuretic, and it helps to flush toxins from the body. Japanese studies have shown that Oolong tea may work as an expectorant as well, when it is consumed hot, because the vapors in the tea can loosen mucus in the lungs, making coughing more productive.

While Oolong is certainly not a panacea, it can be a healthy addition to the diet when consumed in moderation. Many markets stock Oolong, and it is always readily available from Chinese grocers; try to purchase it looseleaf, if possible, since looseleaf tea tends to be of a much higher quality.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon932058 — On Feb 10, 2014

Apart from oolong tea, there are other tea types which are known to help in digestion of food.

By pleonasm — On May 24, 2012
@Iluviaporos - You might be thinking more of red tea, also known as bush tea, which is actually made with a different plant.

Oolong tea is still made with the same tea plant that black and green teas are, it just isn't fermented as much as black tea. So, it doesn't contain as much caffeine as black tea, but it does contain some.

Red tea, on the other hand, doesn't contain any caffeine. It has different benefits as well, while oolong tea just contains the same sorts of benefits you can get from green and black tea. Not as much as either of them, but it includes the benefits of both, so it's definitely worth trying.

By lluviaporos — On May 24, 2012

I love the taste of oolong tea more than other kinds of tea. It doesn't have that sort of bitter taste that you often get with black and green teas. It almost has a kind of rich flavor, closer to almost a hot chocolate rather than a tea.

I also love the fact that it doesn't have caffeine in it, so I can drink it right before bed without worrying about it keeping me up all night.

I really like drinking a hot drink before bed, but usually you have to worry about keeping yourself up. This way you can just relax and let the heat lull you to sleep.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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