Ceylon Tea as Aphrodisiac (screen capture from site)

Ceylon Tea as Aphrodisiac (screen capture from site)

I’ve heard my share of extravagant claims for tea over the course of the years. Most of the time I just move on (nothing to see here). Once in a while I pause to engage in a bit of contemplative inner ridicule for a few moments, but every now and then I have to stop and comment on one.

The shrewd reader of headlines will have already surmised that I’m going to talk about Ceylon tea‘s alleged powers as an aphrodisiac. Which is a new one on me, by the way and one that popped up recently in a few news outlets, including this article that appeared in the New York Daily News.

One of the marketers who makes such a claim is the head of HVA Foods, which is said to offer a 60-gram jar of premium Ceylon tea for $350. Going by the standard measure for a cup of tea, that works out to somewhere in the general neighborhood of thirteen dollars for a cup of this supposed elixir. It’s not completely clear how one would lay their hands on this fine product and even the company’s web site doesn’t offer much more in the way of information.

The article goes on to discuss an allegedly similar product – a virgin white Ceylon tea – sold at a Paris tea shop for a mere $88 per 20 grams, which is a relative bargain at just under ten dollars a cup. What seems to be lacking in both cases is any hard and fast evidence that the claims for these pricey teas are true. The article doesn’t cite any studies, but a little bit of digging around on my part revealed that there was actually such a study done on Ceylon tea in 2008.

The test subjects were male rats who were given various amounts of Ceylon black tea, referred to in the study as black tea brew or BTB. Researchers concluded that “BTB can function as a quick acting, safe, oral aphrodisiac which may also be useful in certain forms of sexual inadequacies.”

Which, if I were a betting man, was not an outcome I’d have put any money on. And while it might be interesting to see what the end result was if the research had been carried out by someone other than university researchers in Colombo, Sri Lanka (the country once known as Ceylon), that’s enough said about that.

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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