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Oolong Tea and Weight Loss

What is Oolong Tea (Wulong Tea)

The Oolong Tea (烏龍 - Wulong) has long been one of the traditional and very popular Chinese teas. A direct translation of the Chinese name means "black dragon". Oolong tea is also know as Qing Cha, is a semi fermented tea, and it is named after the person who discovered this tea.  The two most famous cities that produce Wulong tea are Fujian and Guangdong.

Oolong is one of the several main teas produced in China. According to Fujian tea folklore, Oolong tea was discovered by a tea farmer who lived during the Qing Dynasty, in the Anxi County of Fujian Province. His name was "Su Long". Because he had a dark complexion, the local farmers all called him "Wu Long", and that is where the name Wulong Tea came from. In the west, the name Oolong is more commonly used.

You may be surprised to learn that different tea with different flavor and aroma basically come from the same plant. The only major difference is the basic production method. Green tea is unfermented, Oolong tea is a semi fermented tea, and black tea is made by fully fermenting the tea leaves.

Types of Wulong Tea

Oolong tea is the representative tea of China; however, the name Wulong is the general name of this type of tea - within the Oolong family, there are many different types of Oolong tea. Some of which include Sui Xian, Bai Du Dan, Wuyi Yancha, Fenghuang Dancong, Tie Guanying, and so on. The more expensive and rare Oolong tea include: Wuyi Yancha, Da Hong Pao (big red robe), Shui Jin Gui (golden water turtle), Tie Luo Han, Feng Huang Shui Xian (phoenix water sprite), Tie Guan Yin.

What are the Benefits of Oolong Tea?

Oolong tea has gained immense popularity for its many health benefits, and as well as its weight loss benefits. There are hundreds of studies done on the various benefits of Oolong tea. Some of the benefits of Oolong tea include:

  • Promote weight loss
  • Helps prevent various forms of cancer
  • Has anti-aging benefits, especially for combating cognitive impairment and decline that comes with age
  • Reduce hypertension and helps lower blood pressure
  • Is a strong antioxidant

Wulong tea and cancer - Oolong tea has long been consumed in Chinese society for centuries, and has been consumed for its many health benefits. Many recent studies have shown that Oolong tea helps reduce the risk of cancer, and in some cases it inhibits the growth of cancer cells [1]. In one study, researchers found that Oolong tea polyphenol extract (OTPE) induced apoptosis in human stomach cancer cells, meaning that the OTPE induced programmed cell death of the human stomach cancer cells [1]. Another study found that Oolong tea contains chafuroside, which is a new flavone derivative, and is found to be a strong anti-inflammatory compound - the study performed found that chafuroside from Oolong tea maybe a good chemopreventive agent against colon cancer [2].

Oolong tea and anti aging - Various types of tea, including Oolong tea, is one of the most consumed beverages of Chinese people, for a good reason - Oolong tea has anti aging benefits. There are numerous studies that demonstrate the anti aging benefits of Wulong tea. One study performed on older Chinese adults found that regular consumption of tea is associated with lowered risk of cognitive impairment and decline that comes with old age. The study involved 2501 subjects over 55 years old. They found that total tea intake was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment [3].

Oolong tea reduces blood pressure - Wulong tea has also been shown in studies to reduce the risk of hypertension. Many of these studies come from Chinese research done on various segments of the Chinese tea drinking population. One study measured the risk of newly diagnosed hypertension in 1507 subjects aged 20 years and older. They found that the risk of developing hypertension was reduced by 46% for subjects who drank 120 to 599ml of tea per day. For Subjects who drank more than 600ml of tea, the risk of hypertension was reduced by 65% [4].

Wulong tea also contains antioxidants that are beneficial for your health [5] [8] .

Wulong Tea and weight loss - With all the listed health benefits of Oolong tea, no wonder it's gained such popularity. But of course, I think the major attraction and selling point that's made Oolong tea so popular in the west is its weight loss benefits. There are many studies that have demonstrated the weight loss benefits of drinking Oolong tea regularly. But I can safely say that drinking almost any tea will convey similar weight loss benefits, not just Oolong tea. Regardless, it is noteworthy to mention some studies showing the weight loss benefits of Wulong tea.

In a study performed on female Japanese subjects, the effect of Oolong tea on energy expenditure was tested. The subjects consumed water, Oolong tea, and green tea, where their energy expenditures were measured afterwards. The study found that after 2 hours, the energy expenditure increased 10% for oolong tea, and 4% for green tea compared to control group [6].

Another study tested Oolong tea's effect on the increase in metabolic rate and fat oxidation in men. This study involved 12 men consuming 4 beverages: water, full strength tea, half strength tea, and water containing caffeine. The study found that energy expenditure increased by 3.4% for the full strength tea and fat oxidation increased by 12% [7].

That's certainly a long list of Oolong tea health benefits. Not only does it have weight loss enhancing properties, Oolong tea also reduces risk of cancer, reduces risk of hypertension, has anti aging benefits, and is also a strong antioxidant.




1. Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6B):4403-6.
Oolong tea polyphenol extract induces apoptosis in human stomach cancer cells.
Hibasami H, Jin ZX, Hasegawa M, Urakawa K, Nakagawa M, Ishii Y, Yoshioka K.

2. Cancer Sci. 2006 Apr;97(4):248-51.
Inhibition of intestinal carcinogenesis by a new flavone derivative, chafuroside, in oolong tea.
Niho N, Mutoh M, Sakano K, Takahashi M, Hirano S, Nukaya H, Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K.

3. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jul;88(1):224-31.
Tea consumption and cognitive impairment and decline in older Chinese adults.
Ng TP, Feng L, Niti M, Kua EH, Yap KB.

4. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jul 26;164(14):1534-40.
The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension.
Yang YC, Lu FH, Wu JS, Wu CH, Chang CJ.

5. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Nov 6;50(23):6929-34.
Antioxidative activities of oolong tea.
Zhu QY, Hackman RM, Ensunsa JL, Holt RR, Keen CL.

6. J Med Invest. 2003 Aug;50(3-4):170-5.
Oolong tea increases energy metabolism in Japanese females.
Komatsu T, Nakamori M, Komatsu K, Hosoda K, Okamura M, Toyama K, Ishikura Y, Sakai T,

7. J Nutr. 2001 Nov;131(11):2848-52.
Oolong tea increases metabolic rate and fat oxidation in men.
Rumpler W, Seale J, Clevidence B, Judd J, Wiley E, Yamamoto S, Komatsu T, Sawaki T,

8. Consumption of black tea elicits an increase in plasma antioxidant potential in humans.
Langley-Evans SC. Division of Health and Life Sciences, University College Northampton, UK.


Oct 2008