Today's story is about how making small changes can make a big difference in your life. Yes... the title of this article is about Oolong tea and it's not a lie; this article IS about Oolong tea and how making a small change, like adding it to my diet, made a big difference in my life, and how you can reap the same benefits.
Nausea sucks, but it really sucks when it's caused by a migraine. Worse still, is nausea from a migraine, from a sinus infection. If you suffer from my favorite trio of pain, you can understand the horror it is to have recurring sinus infections.
For the last five years, I had sinus infections about once a month, which, to the inexperienced means I was sick for 3-5 days, recuperating for 3-5 days, well for a week or two, and then slowly getting ill again to complete the cycle. Needless to say, (or write) it was no fun.
Then again, as someone with an impaired immune system, I seem to be a magnet for all bacteria everywhere. A papercut can turn into a staph infection (seriously, that's happened), an ob/gyn visit can turn into a UTI, and don't even get me started on skin fungus, bacterial infections, or the inability to leave the house without catching something. To put it simply, I've come to an understanding that I'm prone to get sick.
But the sinus infections were driving me mad, and as I was studying for The Allergy Series, I read a lot about a Chinese tea named Oolong. I learned that it helped with congestion, sinus problems, allergies, and even helped people lose weight.
Oolong comes from the same plant that green tea and black tea come from, but each is processed differently creating three distinctly unique teas. Being the guinea pig that I am, I ordered 100 bags and began drinking it daily.
Oolong is the middle tea between the (light) green tea and (dark) black tea. Everywhere I read, it was described as having a fruity flavor, but as a connoisseur of fruit tea, I can promise you that it most certainly does not taste like fruit.
Since I'm your friend, and we're here together in this space, I'll tell you it tastes like nothing; like a hot cup of weak, flavorless black tea. It's about as memorable as a Steven Seagull movie. It's nearly as rich and flavorful as a bowl of buttered noodles. It's about as exciting as listening to NPR. The point being, oolong tea is forgettable and boring, so why am I telling you about it?
Because it cured my sinus infections.
Oolong is semi-fermented and loaded with flavanoids and phytochemicals. It has an anti-allergic effect, promotes weight loss, and has antioxidants like Polyphenol that help lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.
Oolong has 49.5 mg of catechins and 52 mg of total flavonoids, but it also has Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and L-theanine. And because it's made from the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green and black tea, oolong also has between 30-60 mg of caffeine (about half as much as a cup of coffee).
Based on the studies I read from Japan and China, I choose to drink four cups a day in small doses. Usually, I had a hot cup on my desk next to me when writing, taking small sips between sentences. It's known that flavonoids work best when consumed in small batches, so I spaced my four cups out throughout the day- and I did this for 2 months.
Even though Oolong tea has been used for over 3,000 years, only 2% of tea drinkers consume it. It's used primarily in China and Taiwan, but more and more people are seeing oolong's health benefits, including this girl right here. But let's read what the experts have to say first:
"In a clinical trial done in Japan, people with allergic eczema that had not improved with medication were given oolong tea to drink for six months. While drinking the oolong tea, the majority of the people in the study experienced a moderate to marked improvement in eczema within one month, with benefits being first noticeable after one to two weeks." writes Dr. Leo Galland in his book "The Allergy Solution."
After about three days of drinking oolong tea, I noticed I woke up in the mornings without the usual congestion and stuffiness. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but with each waking morning, I felt better and better. Two weeks later I chose to stop drinking it and test if my symptoms would come back, and if so, how long it would take.
Just as it had taken three days to start feeling better, it took about three days for me to start feeling snotty again. I repeated this set-up over and over for a total of 3 months and came to the same conclusion each time: oolong tea was making a big difference in my sinus health, and just by making the small change of adding a few cups of it to my diet.
I had no nausea, no migraine (due to sinuses), and no sinus infection when I had 2-4 cups of oolong tea a day along with my regular healthy diet. But it wasn't just my nose that felt better, my jeans did too. Somehow, in God's mercy, I also lost some belly fat and fit better into my jeans. It could have been that I had more energy from the caffeine and that's what caused the weight loss, but I don't think it was. Oolong tea is known for helping to burn more fat even if you change nothing else in your diet.
Plus, based on a Chinese study, just 10oz a week of oolong tea lowers total cholesterol, and based on Japanese research, men who drank one or more cups of oolong a day had a lower risk of heart disease. Being that heart disease is a major cause of death here in the U.S., oolong is undoubtedly worth a try for cardiovascular health.
It's also been studied on cancer patients, but the National Cancer Institute doesn't recognize oolong as preventing or decreasing the risk of cancer. But studies say otherwise: Women in China who drank oolong had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. What is proven is that oolong tea boosts the immune system by preventing cellular damage.
In my own story, I can say oolong tea has made a difference. After five years of taking Claritin and Excedrin, I haven't had to touch either thanks to oolong tea. Whether that will be forever I'm not sure, but I made a small change that made a big difference in my life.
Oolong tea isn't just beneficial for allergies or sinus problems, but for weight loss, heart health, and lowering blood sugar levels.... even if it tastes like a hot cup of nothing... it sure does something amazing.