Camellia sinensis is a remarkable plant which provides amazing benefits to both skin and overall health.
In this article:
- What Is Camellia Sinensis?
- When and Where Did Tea Originate?
- How Are Teas Derived from Camellia Sinensis Different?
- What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Purple Tea and Camellia Sinensis?
- What Are the Camellia Sinensis Benefits to the Skin?
- What Are the Other Health Benefits of Camellia Sinensis?
Camellia Sinensis: 7 Amazing Health Benefits of the Tea Plant to the Skin
What Is Camellia Sinensis?
Camellia sinensis is a plant species from which popular types of tea like green tea, purple tea, white tea, black tea, and oolong tea are derived.
This tea plant is a shrub native to Southeast Asia. Today, the Camellia sinensis plant is grown and cultivated across the world for its health benefits.
This plant should be pruned frequently to encourage a luxuriant growth. Pruning is a horticultural process involving the snipping and trimming of unwanted parts of the plant like branches and buds.
Pruning Camellia sinensis is an important step in cultivation because it allows both light and air to flow through the plant’s whole system.
There are two principal varieties known for Camellia sinensis plant. They are Camellia sinensis sinensis, also known as the Chinese tea plant and a small-leaved variety, and Camellia sinensis assamica, also known as the Indian tea plant and is known for its larger leaves.
When and Where Did Tea Originate?
You may probably wonder, whenever you are drinking your favorite tea, how tea was discovered. Its region of origin extends from Myanmar to the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
According to the Chinese legend, the history of the Camellia sinensis tea plant began around 5000 years ago. The emperor back then, Shen Nung, discovered it when some leaves of a wild tree were blown into his pot of boiling water.
The delightful aroma of the resulting brew instantly fascinated Emperor Shen Nung. The legend said that the emperor described a warm and calming feeling as he drank the concoction.
According to history, Camellia sinensis was first used as a medicine in the Chinese province of Yunnan. The tea popularity continued to grow rapidly in China from 4th to 6th century.
Today, Camellia sinensis tea is no longer solely used for its medicinal effects but became recognized all over the world for pleasure and refreshments. Most people nowadays are adding tea to their hearty diets and some are including them to their skin regimens.
How Are Teas Derived from Camellia Sinensis Different?
Green tea, white tea, black tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from Camellia sinensis plant but are all processed differently. This concept is the same for wines, which are made from grapes of different varieties.
The idea is, the more oxidized the tea is, the darker the color of the brew will be. Here are the most popular types of tea derived from Camellia sinensis.
- Green tea
Green tea leaves are processed before any oxidation course occurs and so, they tend to be non-oxidized.
They are made from more mature tea leaves and is steamed or pan-fried and then rolled. This is how the antioxidants, polyphenols or catechins, in green tea remain intact.
- White tea
White tea is an unprocessed tea. Like green tea, white tea leaves are also non-oxidized.
This is made from the newest growth of the tea plant and is immediately withered by air drying right after plucking. It contains the same types of antioxidants as green tea but retains a much higher quantity.
- Black tea
Black tea leaves are produced from full oxidation. Because of this process, it retains reduced amounts of polyphenols.
It, however, contains the most amount of theophylline than the other teas in comparison.
Theophylline is related to caffeine and belongs to organic compounds known as xanthines. It relaxes smooth muscles and is essential in controlling asthma.
- Purple Tea
This is a new crossbred version of Camellia sinensis. Grown only in the rich volcanic soil found in Kenya, purple tea has very high levels of antioxidants, which helps with delaying the signs of skin aging.
What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Purple Tea and Camellia Sinensis?
Purple tea came from the same plant as green, white, black and oolong tea, which is the Camellia sinensis plant. The disparity is that purple tea has a natural genetic mutation producing more amounts of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, as compared to the other tea plants; this yields its purple discoloration.
It grows in a cool environment at an elevation no lower than 4,500 feet above the ground. Growing Camellia sinensis in this kind of environment permits the plant to sustain more sun rays which allow the plant to produce more antioxidants.
What Are the Camellia Sinensis Benefits to the Skin?
Each of the components in Camellia sinensis works in a different manner in the body. Here are some known health benefits of the tea plant to the skin:
1. Helps lower the risk of skin cancer
Flavonoids found in tea plants inhibit oxidative modifications caused by free radicals and carcinogens in the DNA. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the major and most photoprotective component of Camellia sinensis which promotes protection from UV carcinogenesis.
2. Boosts immune function
Disease-fighting antioxidant properties of polyphenols and flavonoids are responsible for protecting the skin against free radicals. In addition, one of the valuable compositions found in green tea has potent abilities which increase the number of regulatory T cells, the major modulator of immunity.
3. Improves skin texture and appearance
The purple tea plant, a variant of Camellia sinensis, has powerful components which block wrinkle formation, improve skin texture, and boost protection against harmful UV rays.
4. Boosts the skin’s collagen production
Of the many benefits of Vitamins C, B2, and E, collagen synthesis is by far the most important one in making the skin look younger. This effect smooths out fine lines, maintains elasticity, and makes the skin look more plump and supple.
What Are the Other Health Benefits of Camellia Sinensis?
- Helps decrease lipid oxidation – This, then, may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Helps maintain a healthy weight – A study shows that catechin and caffeine-rich types of tea like green tea, white tea, and oolong tea have been proposed to increase fat burning due to their thermogenic effects.
- Lessens stress levels – Polyphenols in tea have been known to decrease levels of stress hormones known as cortisol in the body after a stressful situation.
Even with the many health benefits associated with Camellia sinensis and other herbal plants, still, use them with caution and proper education. Do a skin test first before complete application when using them topically.
Have you tried using purple tea in your skincare regimen? Let’s talk beauty in the comments below!