Benefits & Side Effects of Pu-erh Tea

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Pu-erh tea is a unique type of fermented tea produced in certain parts of China and provides a range of health benefits for those who regularly consume it.

What is Pu-erh Tea?

This specialized type of tea is unique as it is fermented after being dried and rolled. Pu’er tea was first cultivated and distributed in the Yunnan Province of China, where it has been an important cultural staple for more than 2,000 years. There are varying ways to prepare pu-erh tea, including different durations of fermentation, from as little as a month to as long as years and decades. This process not only creates a unique flavor in the tea but also imbues it with surprising health benefits. Pu-erh tea undergoes something called post-fermentation; while black tea is also fermented, this specialized tea is then aged for an extended period. [1]

A cup of Puerh tea kept on a wooden surface

Drink a cup of Puerh tea to maintain a healthy body and mind. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

There are a number of types of pu-erh tea, including both raw and ripe varieties. The raw type is typically sun-dried and compressed and is the traditional form of this tea. Ripe pu-erh tea, on the other hand, is rapidly aged tea, and undergoes a 45-day fermentation process in which the tea is kept perpetually damp in a “wet pile”. In terms of taste, it can be bitter, but the more it is aged, the richer the flavor becomes. There is a great deal of complexity in this tea, along with 60-70 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup. [2]

Pu-erh Tea Benefits

Due to the unique fermenting process and existing nutrient levels in this tea, it offers many benefits, including aiding in weight loss, strengthening the immune system, and reducing cholesterol, among others.

Weight Loss

This caffeine-rich drink is known to boost the metabolism and suppress the appetite, both of which can increase your passive fat-burning and also prevent overeating or snacking, helping you remain on track with your diet. [3]

Boosts Immune System

There is a wide range of antioxidants found in this tea, which can support the immune system and reduce strain on it, by eliminating free radicals and preventing them from causing cellular mutation and oxidative stress throughout the body. [4]

Protects Heart Health

Studies have found that this ancient tea is able to boost HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol, while also preventing the oxidation of cholesterol in the cardiovascular system, thus preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [5]

Aids in Digestion

Stimulating the gastrointestinal system is something pu-erh tea does very well by helping to speed the digestive process and clear up symptoms of indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and other stomach issues. [6]

Boosts Energy Levels

With a good amount of caffeine, this energy-boosting drink has been consumed around the world as a natural source of healthy energy. [7]

How to Make Pu-erh Tea?

You can purchase pu-erh tea leaves in a solid cake or as traditional loose-leaf tea. From there, the preparation process is quite similar for both. Take a look at the recipe below.

A cup of Puerh tea kept on a wooden surface

Puerh Tea Recipe

Sip and enjoy a leisurely pot of this hot soothing tea!
4.5 from 2 votes
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Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: pu-erh tea
Appliance: Stove, Tea infuser
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Ishani Bose


  • 200 ml of water (filtered)
  • 3-4 grams of puerh tea
  • 1 tsp of honey


  • To make Pu-erh tea, use 3-4 grams of this tea per 200 ml of water.
  • Break off a small piece of the pu-erh cake or add the loose leaves to a tea infuser.
  • Add a small amount of water and swirl it around.
  •  Discard this water, along with any impurities it may have eliminated from the leaves.
  • Add hot water to the leaves and allow them to steep for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the infuser and add honey or sweetener, if desired, to counter the bitter taste.

Pu-erh Tea Side Effects

There are some serious side effects that have been associated with this tea, particularly by those who consume it in excess. These side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Exacerbation of bleeding disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart irregularity
  • Gastrointestinal distress

These side effects are largely due to the caffeine content in this tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid using this tea. As with any healthy beverage, moderation is key to prevent unwanted side effects. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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