Biwa tea is a traditional Japanese herbal tea made from the leaves of the evergreen loquat tree – also known as Japanese Plum. The loquat tree commonly grows to a height of about 5 meters. It is a flowering tree that produces juicy tangerine-color fruits and has long glossy, leaves (15-25 cm) with tiny hairs on their undersides.This tea is made from the Boshu variety of Biwa tree native to the Minamiboso area of the Chiba Prefecture in Japan. The Boshu Biwa fruits were presented to the Japanese Imperial Family every year since 1909.
The leaves are picked green, washed, and their underside is scraped thoroughly. They are then dried and cut so they can be brewed. The freshly picked leaves are prepared by being cut into strips in the traditional tanzaku-giri (短冊きり) style for optimal brewing. Biwa tea is a pleasant beverage with earthy notes, a hint of sweetness, and light reddish-brown color.
Biwa tea has been consumed in Japan for at least 1500 years as a mild and pleasant everyday beverage with numerous medicinal benefits, including healing skin conditions such as eczema.
Japanese use biwa tea as a traditional cure for preventing and treating respiratory ailments including congestion, coughing, allergic reaction and lung irritation. Recent scientific research has gone some way to confirming that this historical use had merit.
Ursolic acid is a type of triterpene acids present in biwa leaf that has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which is effective to regulate the macrophages functioning present in alveolar tissues in the bronchi to treat chronic bronchitis. Scientists identified twelve triterpene acids present in biwa leaf and these phytochemicals mainly exert anti-inflammatory.
The anti-inflammatory effect in alveolar tissues present in the bronchi helps to treat chronic bronchitis. Management of mast cell activation can help to prevent exaggeration of an allergic reaction including allergic asthma attacks. The potent antioxidant activity in alveolar tissue also effective in relieving respiratory symptoms. Scientific research has proven that the antifibrosis effect of biwa leaf is effective to treat pulmonary fibrosis due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Another study published in the same year found that biwa leaves helped reduce redness and inflammation by disrupting the communication of the swelling response after cells have detected an allergen.
Biwa leaves also contain compounds demonstrated to lower blood’s lipid and sugar levels and
Biwa leaves are listed for their health benefits in Japanese Pharmacopoeia (Nippon Yakkyoku-hō), the official record of approved medicinal herbs, published by the Government of Japan since 1886.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BIWA HERBAL TEA
- Prevents and treats respiratory conditions
- Alleviates skin inflammation
- Boosts immune system
- Reduces skin irritations, redness and swelling
- Decreases blood sugar
- Combats diabetes
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improves heart health