Pu-erh Tea: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, and More

Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
Pu-erh Tea: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, and More
Pu-erh tea offers a wide range of health benefits when consumed regularly

Pu-erh tea is a type of fermented tea that originates in the Yunnan Province of China. It is made from fermented leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make green, oolong, and black tea.

Pu-erh tea offers a wide range of health benefits when consumed regularly.

5 health benefits of pu-erh tea

1. May promote weight loss

Pu-erh tea may promote weight loss in the following ways:

  • Boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite
  • Helps increase passive fat-burning, according to animal and test-tube studies
  • Introduces healthy bacteria to the gut, controlling blood sugar levels
  • Low in lovastatin, which is a prescription medicine used to lower cholesterol

These conclusions were made from studies in which concentrated extracts of pu-erh tea in very high doses. These studies do not provide a strong conclusion about pu-erh tea promoting weight loss.

However, there is no harm in drinking pu-erh tea for weight loss because it has other health benefits too.

2. Improves mental alertness

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine, which improves mental clarity and alertness. According to one study, caffeine may improve the following:

  • Alertness
  • Response times
  • Information processing

When taken in moderation, caffeine can also positively impact mood.

3. Boosts immune system function

Pu-erh may help boost the immune system because it is rich in antioxidants, which help combat free radicals, cell mutation, and oxidative stress.

Because the tea is fermented, it also acts as a probiotic which is good for both gut health and immune system health.

4. Inhibits cancer growth

Test-tube studies have suggested that highly concentrated extracts of pu-erh tea may help kill breast, oral, and colon cancer cells.

However, more studies are needed to determine how pu-erh tea can affect cancer cells. Pu-erh tea should not be used to replace standard cancer treatment.

5. May boost liver health

Because pu-erh tea can help prevent or reduce fat accumulation, it may lower the  risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

So far, however, this conclusion is based on animal studies. Hence, human studies are needed before any strong claims can be made regarding the effect of pu-erh tea on liver function.

What are different types of pu-erh tea?

Pu-erh tea processing involves fermentation and prolonged aging under high humidity. 

There are two types of pu-erh tea available:

  • Raw pu-erh tea: Sun-dried and compressed
  • Ripe pu-erh tea: Rapidly aged and undergoes a 45-day fermentation process

The tea tastes bitter initially but improves as it ages.

What is the recommended dosage of pu-erh tea?

Pu-erh tea is safe in most individuals when taken in moderate amounts (about 1-2 cups a day). Consuming more than 3-4 cups of tea a day can lead to caffeine dependence and other side effects.

Since there is no scientific evidence regarding safe doses of pu-erh tea, follow the instructions on the product labels.

What are side effects of excessive caffeine consumption?

Side effects of excessive caffeine intake may include:

What precautions to take when consuming pu-erh tea

Caffeine consumption should be limited in pregnant women (no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day). Consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine can lead to miscarriage and other problems.

While breastfeeding, it is usually recommended to limit caffeine consumption because small amounts of caffeine can pass into breast milk. This can lead to sleep disturbances, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breastfed infants.

Avoid drinking pu-erh tea if you have any of the following conditions:


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Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
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Pu-Erh Tea - Uses, Side Effects, and More. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1169/pu-erh-tea

Pu-Erh Tea. https://www.rxlist.com/pu-erh_tea/supplements.htm

Improvements of mean body mass index and body weight in preobese and overweight Japanese adults with black Chinese tea (Pu-Erh) water extract. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21745623/

Effects of Pu-erh Tea on Oxidative Damage and Nitric Oxide Scavenging. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0490551