Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bitter Black Leaf Tea--Chinese Herbal Medicine

Here is the latest update on my "2012 Year of Teas" quest to find out what's good for diabetes in other parts of the world.  When I went to China this summer, I had to ask "What's a good tea for diabetes?" I asked this question at a few different locations, but overwhelmingly the response was "Bitter Black Leaf Tea." Even when someone didn't mention it, I'd bring up the name and they would say, "Oh yeah that one is better."

I'm finding a trend with teas that are good for diabetes...Bitter is better! When it comes to diabetes herbal teas this one is by far the most bitter one that I've drank yet. I wonder if that means it gets down to the cellular level of the pancreas faster or more efficiently?

The first tea I blogged about was the Bitter Melon tea.  I had it in its dry form--making it just right for tea, but when it is fresh you can cook it, stir-fried it, or boiled it. I wouldn't advise eating it raw, I tasted it raw and OMG!! it was almost as bitter as aloe). I gave the tea a score of 4 out of 5 for the bitter taste.

However, now after taking the Bitter Black Leaf tea, I am going to have to change it (Bitter Melon 3/5 for bitterness and Bitter Black Leaf tea 5/5). I cannot think of ANYTHING more bitter than this tea. After drinking the Bitter Black Leaf tea, I realized that I didn't know what the taste of bitterness was until now.

In my last post, there was a picture of me drinking the other tea. This tea, however, caused my face to contour into facial expressions I didn't know that I had (this was also the case with my mom and grandma who agreed to try the tea with me, even though they are not diabetic).  After having a cup of Bitter Black Leaf tea, I went back and drank the bitter melon tea for old times sake and it practically tasted like Kool-Aid.  LOL  It wasn't that sweet, but I realized that it wasn't as bitter as I thought compared to this tea.

I have two bags of the tea. I purchased 500g for about $15.00 USD

 This is before I put the tea in the water.

 The tea is brewing in the hot water.

When the tea was done, it unraveled (which I thought was very neat). So, while I thought the tea was just a dried piece of stick, it was actually a real bitter black leaf. In the picture above, you can see how the leave unfolded as it was brewing.

Overall Opinion:

Taste: EXTREMELY bitter.  This leaf has earned its name. 5 out of 5 for bitterness factor

Cool Factor: This tea gets a 5 out of 5 for cool factor. This is a rating I'm creating just for this tea because of how neat it is to watch the leaf unfold while it's brewing.  This is the number one reason why I'll taste the tea again.

Health Claim: Because I was in China and the translations were not always the best, I am not exactly sure HOW this tea helps diabetics and what part of the body it targets.  I'll keep trying to find an answer. So, for now there is no score.

Ability to Purchase: I have to give this tea a score of 1 out of 5 because I have not seen this tea in America.  You can get Bitter Melon tea online, but I'll have to check with the nearest Chinatown to see how accessible this tea is for us in America. I'm glad that I have about a 3 year supply of it. I was told that I could use each leaf three times.

My quest continues...
up next, a tea (or root) that I bought in the Caribbean.  I haven't gotten the courage to try it yet because it takes "organic" to a whole different place.  But I will try it in the coming months. I looked at it 2 weeks ago and it's growing out the bag.  See picture below.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about a thing growing without water for several months, but I'll try it anyone in due time.   :-)


  1. Hi Dr. P! I'm a huge fan of your blog and always fascinated of your posts. Not that I'm diabetic but my parents are. I'm looking forward to finding this bitter black left from where I live. There's a small Chinese herb store 2 blocks away from me, we'll going to check that out. Might want try it myself too as I've heard a lot of good benefits of tea drinking. Thanks!

    By the way, have you heard about actos lawsuit. My parents are looking for this possibility.

  2. Thanks Ada,

    I greatly appreciate your comment. Please let to know if you find the tea. I have enough to share if you can't find it so that your parents can at least taste it.

    I haven't heard much about the lawsuit, the link was very helpful. I wasn't on actos, but someone told me about a month ago to check on the meds that I was on to see if they have been recalled.

  3. It’s hard to find knowledgeable bloggers on this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks. for more info

  4. Hi there,

    I saw your post and I think I know what tea you are talking about "Bitter Black Tea" is actually not a black tea- this tea is non-caffeinated and is actually a herb. The name it goes by is Ku Ding and/or One Leaf tea. It is known as the Ginseng of teas and has many health benefits.
    To name a few:
    Ease inflammation and pain, lower blood pressure, detoxify, weight loss, diabetes, anti-cancer, skin tonic...list goes on

    This tea is actually the herbs ligustrum or ilex which are commonly used in traditional chinese medicine.

    If you are looking for this tea you can order it here at Treasure Green (they ship world wide)- I just bought a bag myself. They might not have it online and you will have to email and request it. It is not too expensive either. I trust their sources because there are others online but you might not know what you're getting. While you are at it, check out their "Wild Jade Bittermint Tea"."- amazing health benefits and can't find it anywhere else.


    Good Health and Happiness!

  5. Thank you very much for this information Miann. I appreciate the website too.