Pu-erh Tea

Medically reviewed by | By

Update Date 12/05/2020 . 10 mins read

Uses

What is Pu-erh tea used for?

Pu-erh tea is made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the same plant that is used for making green, oolong, and black teas.

Pu-erh tea’s processing includes both fermentation and then prolonged storage, or “aging,” under high humidity. Pu-erh tea that is aged for a longer period of time is supposed to taste better. However, it can also smell musty or taste stale because mold and bacteria will sometimes attack the tea during the long aging process.

Pu-erh tea is used as medicine.

Pu-erh tea is used for improving mental alertness and sharp thinking. It is also used for reducing high cholesterol.

How does it work?

There are not enough studies about how Pu-erh tea works. Please discuss with your herbalist or doctor for more information. However, it is known that Pu-erh tea contains caffeine, although not as much caffeine as other teas. Pu-erh tea also contains antioxidants and other substances that might help protect the heart and blood vessels.

There is interest in using pu-erh tea for lowering cholesterol because, unlike other teas, it contains small amounts of a chemical called lovastatin. Lovastatin is a prescription medicine used for lowering cholesterol. Investigators think that bacteria that sometimes contaminate pu-erh tea may somehow make the lovastatin in the course of their normal life cycle. Animal research suggests that pu-erh tea might lower certain blood fats called triglycerides as well as total and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It might also raise “good” high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Pu-erh tea?

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist or herbalist, if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription.
  • You have allergy with any substances of Pu-erh tea or other medications or other herbs.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • You have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

The regulations for an herb are less strict than the regulations for a drug. More studies are needed to determine its safety. The benefits of taking this herb must outweigh the risks before use. Consult with your herbalist or doctor for more information.

How safe is Pu-erh tea?

Taking pu-erh tea in moderate amounts might be safe.

Special precautions & warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, pu-erh tea in small amounts is probably not harmful. However, do not drink more than two cups of pu-erh tea in a day. Too much caffeine might cause miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and harm to the baby.

If you are breast-feeding, moderation in drinking pu-erh tea is also important. Caffeine passes into breast milk, so nursing mothers should closely monitor caffeine intake to make sure it is on the low side. Caffeine in large amounts might be UNSAFE during breast-feeding. Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breast-fed infants.

Children: Pu-erh tea seems to be safe in children in amounts commonly found in foods and beverages.

Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in pu-erh tea might make these conditions worse.

Bleeding disorders: There is concern that pu-erh tea might make bleeding disorders worse because of its caffeine content. Use pu-erh tea with care if you have a bleeding disorder.

Heart conditions: The caffeine in pu-erh tea can cause irregular heartbeat in some people. Use pu-erh tea with caution if you have a heart condition.

Diabetes: Some research suggests that caffeine may affect the way the body uses sugar and might make diabetes worse. But the effect of caffeine-containing herbs and beverages such as pu-erh tea has not been studied. If you have diabetes, use pu-erh tea with caution.

Diarrhea: Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

An eye disorder called glaucoma: The caffeine in pu-erh tea increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking pu-erh tea.

High blood pressure: The caffeine in pu-erh tea might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this effect might be less in people who use caffeine regularly.

Weak bones (osteoporosis): The caffeine in pu-erh tea can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of coffee). It’s also a good idea to get extra calcium to make up for the amount that may be lost in the urine. Older women with an inherited disorder that affects the way vitamin D is used should use caffeine with caution. Vitamin D works with calcium to build bones.

Side effects

What kind of side effects may I have from Pu-erh tea?

Too much pu-erh tea, more than five cups per day, can cause side effects because of the caffeine. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about side effects, please consult your herbalist or doctor.

Interactions

What interactions may I have with Pu-erh tea?

Pu-erh tea may interact with your current medications or medical conditions. Consult with your herbalist or doctor before using.

Products that may interact with Pu-erh tea include:

  • Amphetamines

Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with pu-erh tea.

  • Cimetidine

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Cimetidine (Tagamet) can decrease how quickly your body breaks down caffeine. Taking cimetidine (Tagamet) along with pu-erh tea might increase the chance of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and others.

  • Cocaine

Stimulant drugs such as cocaine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with pu-erh tea.

  • Ephedrine

Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. Caffeine (contained in pu-erh tea) and ephedrine are both stimulant drugs. Taking caffeine along with ephedrine might cause too much stimulation and sometimes serious side effects and heart problems. Do not take caffeine-containing products and ephedrine at the same time.

  • Adenosine

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might block the affects of adenosine (Adenocard). Adenosine (Adenocard) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming pu-erh tea or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

  • Antibiotics

The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Some antibiotics might decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking these antibiotics along with pu-erh tea can increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heart rate, and other side effects.

Some antibiotics that decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

  • Clozapine

The body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril) to get rid of it. The caffeine in pu-erh tea seems to decrease how quickly the body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril). Taking pu-erh tea along with clozapine (Clozaril) can increase the effects and side effects of clozapine (Clozaril).

  • Dipyridamole

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might block the affects of dipyridamole (Persantine). Dipyridamole (Persantine) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming pu-erh tea or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

  • Disulfiram

The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Disulfiram (Antabuse) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea (which contains caffeine) along with disulfiram (Antabuse) might increase the effects and side effects of caffeine including jitteriness, hyperactivity, irritability, and others.

  • Estrogens

The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Estrogens can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with estrogens can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects. If you take estrogens limit your caffeine intake.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

  • Fluvoxamine

The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might cause too much caffeine in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of caffeine.

  • Lithium

Your body naturally gets rid of lithium. The caffeine in pu-erh tea can increase how quickly your body gets rid of lithium. If you take products that contain caffeine and you take lithium, stop taking caffeine products slowly. Stopping pu-erh tea too quickly can increase the side effects of lithium.

  • Medications for asthma (Beta-adrenergic agonists)

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the heart. Some medications for asthma can also stimulate the heart. Taking caffeine with some medications for asthma might cause too much stimulation and cause heart problems.

Some medications for asthma include albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin, Volmax), metaproterenol (Alupent), terbutaline (Bricanyl, Brethine), and isoproterenol (Isuprel).

  • Medications for depression (MAOIs)

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking pu-erh tea with these medications used for depression might cause serious side effects including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, nervousness, and others.

Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

  • Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine might slow blood clotting. Taking pu-erh tea along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Nicotine

Stimulant drugs such as nicotine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in pu-erh tea might also speed up the nervous system. Taking pu-erh tea along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with caffeine.

  • Pentobarbital

The stimulant effects of the caffeine in pu-erh tea can block the sleep-producing effects of pentobarbital (Nembutal).

  • Phenylpropanolamine

The caffeine in pu-erh tea can stimulate the body. Phenylpropanolamine can also stimulate the body. Taking pu-erh tea along with phenylpropanolamine might cause too much stimulation and increase heartbeat, blood pressure, and cause nervousness.

  • Riluzole

The body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) to get rid of it. Taking pu-erh tea can decrease how fast the body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) and increase the effects and side effects of riluzole.

  • Theophylline

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. Caffeine works similarly to theophylline. Caffeine can also decrease how quickly the body gets rid of theophylline. Taking pu-erh tea along with theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.

  • Verapamil

The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can increase the risk of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.

  • Alcohol

The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Alcohol can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with alcohol might cause too much caffeine in the bloodstream and caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and fast heartbeat.

  • Birth control pills

The body breaks down the caffeine in pu-erh tea to get rid of it. Birth control pills can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with birth control pills can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects.

Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

  • Fluconazole

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Fluconazole (Diflucan) might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking pu-erh tea along with fluconazole (Diflucan) might increase the risk of caffeine side effects such as nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

  • Antidiabetes drugs

Pu-erh tea might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, pu-erh tea might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Mexiletine

Pu-erh tea contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Mexiletine (Mexitil) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking mexiletine (Mexitil) along with pu-erh tea might increase the caffeine effects and side effects of pu-erh tea.

  • Terbinafine

The body breaks down caffeine (contained in pu-erh tea) to get rid of it. Terbinafine (Lamisil) can decrease how fast the body gets rid of caffeine and increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heartbeat, and other effects.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your herbalist or doctor before using this medication.

What is the usual dose for Pu-erh tea?

The dose for Pu-erh tea  may be different for every patient. The dose that you take depends on your age, health, and several other conditions. Herb are not always safe. Please discuss with your herbalist or doctor for your appropriate dosage.

What form does Pu-erh tea come in?

Pu-erh tea may be available in the following forms:

  • Pu-erh teabags
  • Pu-Erh red teacapsules
  • Instant Pu-erh tea powder

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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