Researchers discovered a new wild variety of tea plant that has no caffeine content but retains the benefits of regular tea.
Decaffeinated products are widely popular though it lacks most of the nutrients, which is lost during decaffeination process. However, the availability of natural decaffeinated tea would stimulate the same taste while cutting down the harmful substances from the products. Researchers identified the chemical structure of Hongyacha (HYC) in laboratory test, as locals claimed the therapeutic benefits of HYC. The findings were published in the journal ACS’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The consumption of decaffeinated products has remarkably increased in the past few years. For instance, according to the Tea Association of the USA, four billion gallons of tea was consumed in the U.S. in 2017, out of which 18 percent decaffeinated tea was consumed. The processing of decaffeinated tea is done using supercritical carbon dioxide or hot water treatments, which affects the flavor and destroys beneficial nutrients of the beverage.
The researchers analyzed Hongyacha’s buds and leaves that were collected during the growing season using high performance chromatography. They observed that the plant had a low caffeine concentration due to the presence of mutation gene that encoded the enzyme tea caffeine synthase. The enzyme caffeine synthase is responsible for caffeine production in tea plants. The researchers also believe that the plant might possess health-promoting compounds that are not found in the regular tea. Moreover, HYC could become a popular and trendy drink due to its health benefits in the near future.