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Pu-erh (pronounced poo-air) is a uniquely fermented tea, made using an old, broad-leafed variety of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), withered and then pan-fried to remove excess moisture like the processing of green tea.  Unlike green tea, however, the heat processing part is shortened so oxidation can occur to the tea leaves.  The tea is allowed to ferment using methods meant to mimic the way it originally was discovered while tea leaves were traveling on the backs of horse or yaks on the Silk Road from Yunnan to the Tibetan Plateau for trade.  The flavor, caffeine, nutrients, & probiotic characteristics of this unique tea made it an indispensible beverage for many in China and in many indigenous communities throughout the Upper Mekong River Region of China, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and India.
Modern-day pu-erh tea is either fermented packed in clay jars, baskets, or buried in the floor of caves and allowed to oxidize and age, some for as long as 60 years. Like fine wine, certain pu-erh are considered more valuable and the flavor more desirable than others. Another method used to make pu-erh is to heap-ferment the loose tea leaves for hours to days to allow interaction with fungi, yeast, and bacteria that ferment the tea.  Some pu-erh is also intentionally inoculated with desirable microorganisms.
Pu-erh tea has many reported health benefits, including acting as an antioxidant, helping to stimulate metabolic processes (thereby increasing calories used), helping with fat digestion (therefore beneficial taken with a fatty meal), increasing mental clarity & energy, improving lipid profiles, & reducing cholesterol levels.  It is a source of polyphenols, like other teas, which are phytochemicals that can protect the body from free radical damage and degenerative processes & diseases.  Other compounds include: caffeine-producing methylxanthines (theobromine & theophylline), amino acids, & amino acid-derivatives including theanine, proanthocyanadins, gallic acid, coumaric & caffeic acids.  Theanine has been shown to help reduce mental and physical stress and improve mental function.
The fat metabolism, and general metabolism-boosting properties, have been the primary focuses of its use in the West, as well as its cholesterol-lowering effect, which has largely been explained by the discovery that pu-erh tea contains natural statins produced by the probiotic activity.  Polyphenols in the tea leaves are oxidized to create fermentation-derived compounds known as statins (a group of hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors), which have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels & prevent cardiovascular disease.
Generally speaking, you’d need to brew this tea at about 1 tsp/cup hot water for 5 minutes and drink 3 cups/day to achieve some of these desired effects.
There is a lot of interesting information out there on the internet about tea in general, and some on pu-erh.  I learned a lot about pu-erh and its ethnobotanical origins and use from an article in Herbal Gram, published by the American Botanical Council, entitled “Pu-erh Tea and the Southwest Silk Road” by Selena Ahmed, PhD and Michael Freeman.  There are also some research studies that are summarized on Pub Med, a database part of the National Institutes of Health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/).

Slim Down Tea contains: Pu-erh tea, Cinnamon bark, Cleavers, Eleuthero, and Stevia leaves.
Ah, weight loss.  It’s one of the biggest issues people face that has no easy answer.  Once you’ve put on weight, it takes awhile to get it off, and there’s no way around dietary adjustments and exercise (calories in need to be less than calories out).  However, if you are focusing on these things, and preferably getting some guidance (afterall, most people I talk to think they eat and exercise JUST FINE, thank you very much), then there are things that can help support a person in their weight-loss goals.  Namely, herbs and nutrients that can support healthy metabolism and encourage fat burning.  There’s that word – metabolism.  What does it mean anyway?
Metabolism means change or transformation, and in the way we talk about it here, is referring to the processes in our body that convert food and other substances into energy and other metabolites used by the body.  Metabolism aids in digestive function as well as absorption of nutrients.  It is most affected by nutrition, hydration and physical activity, but is also regulated by the thyroid hormones and is affected by the adrenal and reproductive hormones systems as well.  Metabolism in the sense we refer to in weight control, is the regulator of our body’s fuel, in the form of calories derived from fat & carbohydrates primarily.  Therefore, when I refer to herbs that “increase metabolism”, these are herbs that are known to help speed up the rate at which you burn calories.
I know I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but I felt it was important to explain metabolism before I talked about TEA and how it can help with speeding up your metabolism and therefore help you get that edge over more calories out than are going in, so fat can be burned.  Green tea has had its praises sung for this effect, as has oolong tea, and now I will talk about pu-erh tea – another of the tea-plant forms of tea that is in my own Slim Down Tea blend.
Look at my article/post on pu-erh tea for more information, but suffice it to say that this herb is the foundation of this particular tea blend, designed to help increase metabolism (& therefore fat reduction), improve digestion & nutrient absorption, reduce fluid retention by increasing the flow of fluid through the kidneys (due to Cleavers), support the adrenal glands & their function and generally increase energy levels (due to Eleuthero) and help balance blood sugar (Eleuthero & Cinnamon bark both help here).  An excellent “side effect” of this tea?  It could help you lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and help you better digest fats, primarily due to the fermented pu-erh tea.