The camellia sinesis plant is a flowering plant that is better known for its leaves than its blossoms. The leaves of the camellia plant are used to make the most popular teas in the world. Green tea is made from the young leaves of the plant. Oolong and black tea are made from its fermented leaves (black tea leaves are fermented longer than oolong tea leaves). The camellia plant has many properties that are purported to improve health.
Polyphenols are found in the leaves of the camellia plant. Polyphenols help protect cells from the normal cell breakdown, which is called "oxidative stress." The compounds in polyphenols have been implicated to slow cell damage that leads to certain cancers and heart disease. They may also lower blood cholesterol levels.
Camellia plant leaves also have fluoride. Fluoride strengthens teeth, and helps prevent dental cavities. The leaves also contain agents that inhibit the ability of bacteria to stick to teeth and gums.
Tea tannins are called catechins. Catechins detoxify the body's circulatory and lymph systems. These catechins detoxify the body by attaching themselves to other molecules, protecting them from oxidation and deterioration.
A scientist named du Toit conducted a study on the properties of camellia tea. His findings showed that all forms of tea from the camellia plant--green, oolong, and black--contain vitamin C. In fact, the teas contain more vitamin C than orange juice: one to two cups of tea per day contain the same amount of vitamin C in three glasses of orange juice.
Tea made from camellia leaves will reduce the ability to absorb iron, due to the antioxidant action. For this reason, tea consumption should be limited or avoided in patients who are prone to anemia.