Tea bag life jacket
Photo: Mauricio Alejo
It can warm your soul or cool you off on a sweaty summer day—but did you know that tea can also prevent the formation of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease? And that's not all: A potful of research is showing how various brews can ward off pathogens, hypertension, even cancer. Check out these four healing cups; we'll wait while you put the kettle on.

Darjeeling


The Brew
This delicate infusion—considered by many to be the best tea in the world—is made from plants grown in the Himalayan foothills of India's Darjeeling region.

The Benefits
More than half the global population harbors a pathogen called H. pylori; 15 to 20 percent of those people develop ailments including ulcers, gastritis, and gastric cancer. But in a recent study, scientists found that various teas inhibit H. pylori—and that Darjeeling steeped for five minutes has the greatest effect. Just hold the milk; it can block the activity of compounds in the tea.

Oolong


The Brew
The leaves of this elegant Chinese tea are semi-fermented—allowed to wither briefly, then bruised to spur oxidation, and dried before the enzymatic process is complete. Oolong's varieties range from light and sweet to thick and woody.

The Benefits
According to a study of more than 1,500 subjects, a half cup to two and a half cups daily of oolong tea or the more famous health star green tea can lower a person's risk of hypertension by 46 percent. Oolong and green tea are rich in antioxidants that help control an enzyme that raises blood pressure.

Next: The teas that could help ward off Alzheimer's and cancer

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