Buckwheat Tea Health Benefits
Great Health Benefits of Buckwheat:
It's gluten free, which makes it good for people on restricted diets.
- It has a low glycemic index, which may help in weight control
- It is rich in many vitamins and minerals
- It may help improve circulation and promote general health.
- It may help in weightloss.
This article is about the benefits of drinking buckwheat tea.
What is Buckwheat Tea?
Buckwheat is a plant of a type known as a pseudocereal, which means that it has many of the chracteristics of a cereal plant (for example wheat) but is actually not part of the same species. Because of its similarity to actual grains such as cereal, buckwheat is often used to make products such as pasta and bread. In addition the leaves and the seeds of the plant are used to make buckwheat tea, which is said to have many health benefits.
Buckwheat tea has a light taste and is often drunk simply for enjoyment. However many studies as well as anecdotal evidence suggest that buckwheat tea may have many health benefits including aiding in weightloss, reducing cholesterol in the blood, and improving the health of blood vessels. Its main benefit seems to be related to improving circulation and helping the function of vital organs. But of course, the scientific evidence is still very sparse and studies are in the early stages only.
How to Make Buckwheat Tea
Making buckwheat tea using store-bought tea bags is easy and is done the same way as you would prepare regular tea:
- Bring water to boil. You should have enough water to fill one cup per tea bag.
- Place a buckwheat tea bag in a suitable cup.
- Pour the boiling water onto the tea bag in the cup.
- Wait for 2-3 minutes. Then remove the tea bag.
- Wait for the tea to cool sufficiently and then enjoy.
Buckwheat tea can be obtained online and also from many Chinese food stores since drinking buckwheat tea is common in China.
Health Benefits of Buckwheat Tea
Emerging research suggests that some of the chemicals and nutrients in buckwheat tea may have beneficial effects on human health. For this reason, many health food stores and nutritionists are promoting buckwheat tea as a nutritional supplement. While likely not a miracle cure of any sort, the preliminary research is promising.
Below are summaries and links to some of the published articles on the benefits of buckwheat tea. I have avoided linking to sites that sell the product or which have a vested interest in making extravagant claims and have instead linked to published articles, mainly in peer reviewed journals, which deal with the research findings.
- A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology using human test subjects who suffered from Chronic Venous Insufficiency resulting in ankle edema (swelling). For once, this study used human subjects in a controlled double blind study in which one group received buckwheat herb tea and the other received another placebo tea. The researchers found that there was an improvement and noted that "The difference between the groups was significant." It concluded that "The treatment with buckwheat herb tea is safe and could have a favourable influence on patients with CVI such that further edema development is prevented."
- In another published study buckwheat extract was found to reduce blood cholesterol in rats. But it is far too early to tell if buckwheat will have the same health benefits on humans.
- A paper published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that buckwheat concentrate reduced the blood glucose level of diabetic rats. I am unaware of how the buckwheat concentrate was made and it is possible that tea would not have the same properties.
- A study on rats with intentionally inflicted (by the researchers) kidney damage showed an improvement in renal function and slowing of the progression of kidney disease when they received buckwheat concentrate. Again it is not clear if buckwheat tea would have the same effect or whether this would work in humans.
- Ingredients found in buckwheat tea were determined to be of benefit against diabetes in mice. The researchers concluded that their research suggested that rutin, fund in buckwheat could be used as part of "novel strategies for the prevention of type 2 diabetes."
- A human study published in the very prestigious New England Journal of Medicine concluded that a substance called D-chiro-Inositol, which is found in abundant quantities in buckwheat, found that it "increases the action of insulin in patients with the polycystic ovary syndrome, thereby improving ovulatory function and decreasing serum androgen concentrations, blood pressure, and plasma triglyceride concentrations."
Some Additional Health Claims About Buckwheat Tea
On the internet, a number of websites claim that buckwheat tea can aid in weightloss and improve digestion. Other online sources state that buckwheat tea can reduce blood sugar levels and also lower cholesterol. I have not been able to find any articles published in peer reviewed medical or scientific journals that establish buckwheat tea's effectiveness as a weightloss aid. As for the claims that it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the only scientific studies have been on mice and this may not be the case with humans whose diets and metabolisms are very different. So far the only published research that I have come across suggests that buckwheat tea may be of help for people suffering from certain specific conditions as outlined above.
What Does Buckwheat Tea Taste Like?
The good news is that buckwheat tea has almost no taste. In fact it is very bland, though it does have a bit of a tart taste which may become more noticeable if you use a lot of it or if you let it steep for a long time. If you don't like the taste you can easily max it by adding lemon or by mixing the buckwheat with more flavorful teas such as green tea.
How Do You Make Buckwheat Tea
Making buckwheat tea does not require any special recipes or steps. You make it just like you would any other tea. If you buy it in packets, simply steep the envelope in a cup of hot water. If you buy the leaves in bulk, you can put them in a small metal tea ball or in a strainer and then run the hot water through them.
As with any tea, you have to make sure that you let it cool off enough so you can drink it without burning your tongue or mouth.