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Naturally low-caffeine tea plant discovered in China

IANS  |  Beijing 

Researchers have discovered a wild plant in that contains little or no and, unlike many industrially decaffeinated products, could potentially provide many of the health benefits of regular brewed teas.

Hongyacha (HYC) is found in the mountains of

In the study, a team including from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, used high-performance liquid chromatography to analyse HYC buds and leaves collected during the growing season.

In addition to finding several potentially health-promoting compounds not found in regular tea, they determined that HYC contains virtually no

This was because of a mutation in the gene encoding the enzyme synthase, which promotes caffeine production in most plants, Chen said, in a paper appearing in

To decaffeinate tea, manufacturers often use supercritical carbon dioxide or hot water treatments.

However, these methods can affect the brew's flavour and destroy compounds in the tea associated with lowered cholesterol, reduced risk of or stroke, and other health benefits.

Naturally low-caffeine HYC could possibly become a popular drink because of its distinct composition and unique health benefits, Chen noted.

The tea plant was also found to cure colds, soothe and relieve a host of other ailments, the researchers said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 09 2018. 16:48 IST