The words “orange pekoe” has been bandied around by tea drinkers worldwide. It is said to contain numerous health benefits that place it a notch above other teas. But what exactly is orange pekoe tea?
The term orange pekoe tea has been used intermittently as a substitute for any “special” or “expensive” kind of black tea. Orange pekoe is actually a grading system that in itself is relatively unused in Mandarin or Chinese speaking localities. Orange pekoe grading system is part of the vocabulary of the tea communities of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam and Korea. However, in the United States, the term orange pekoe is often used to refer to black teas in general, or to a specific brand of black tea.
The confusion further increases, since the common misconception is that orange pekoe teas are special, high grade teas. Another myth is that it contains citrus or orange extracts. Orange pekoe is a grading system simply based on black tea (Camilla sinensis) leaf size, content and entirety. They can primarily be initially divided into whole leaf and broken leaf grades. They only contain black tea leaves. They are then further subdivided in a very ambiguous system based on particle size, the part of the leaf which contains the majority concentration, and leaf morphometry (physical characteristics).
Thus, for all intents and purposes, orange pekoe tea health benefits are actually similar to that of black tea. Since it contains no other component, no oranges, lemons or what not, black tea leaves are the only substance in “orange pekoe tea” which can convey health benefits to those who drink the tea.
It may be a disappointment to some to learn that “orange pekoe tea” as a tea brand with purported healing powers is just basically black tea. This however does not diminish any health benefits one may obtain from drinking “orange pekoe tea”. Camilla sinensis leaves convey a multitude of health benefits. From this plant comes oolong, green, white and black teas. Black teas are simply super oxidized Camilla sinensis leaves, thus rendering them their characteristic color.
Stomach ailments have long been treated using black tea. The antioxidants and other compounds act as detoxifiers, able to soothe the stomach while removing toxins. Toothaches and tooth decay can be prevented by regularly drinking black tea. Sores and other viral infections can in the mouth and digestive tract can be prevented and alleviated by regularly drinking black tea. It can also reduce halitosis or bad breath.
Orange pekoe tea contains antioxidants. One compound TF-2 can actually alleviate cases of inflammation in the body. This compound can also reduce cancer rates, inducing cancer cells to die.
Cardiovascular performance can also be enhanced by regularly drinking black tea. It helps ease arterial blockages and improves the ability of vessels to let blood flow.
Other less substantiated claims are that drinking black tea can actually reduce fat and mildly boost metabolism. Regardless, when imbibing “Orange Pekoe tea” or black tea, one takes a positive step towards wellness. The health benefits of “Orange Pekoe tea” or black tea augments the distinct pleasure one derives from drinking a cup of it.
- Bhagwat, T. et al., Flavonoid composition of tea: Comparison of black and green teas, USDA Agricultural Research Service
- Campbell, Ronald Harlers (1973). Tea Production, 18 (15 ed.), Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.