My Love Affair with Purple Tea

Jordan Bruce is a registered holistic nutritionist, DNA practitioner and live blood analyst in Vancouver, BC. She loves to advocate for a more sustainable lifestyle by supporting local, eating plant-based and drinking JusTea. On days off you’ll find her hiking in the forest with her pup Zoey or eating dark chocolate in the bath.

I love tea so much, especially during Vancouver’s cold, wet, Fall season. There’s a process when making loose leaf tea that evokes emotion, I feel relaxed, happy and stress-free. It’s become a daily ritual for me in the afternoon and evening hours. I savour each sip knowing that so much work has gone into making this delicious and healthy beverage. I also invite people over or meet at cafes for tea. It brings people together, there’s a social aspect. For years, I drank coffee, but it took a toll on my body. As a previous shift worker living a high-stress life, coffee was putting me into fight or flight mode, negatively impacting my blood sugar levels and energy. Now, as a registered holistic nutritionist, I know that for my body to thrive, let alone function properly, I need to be in rest or digest. This is how my love affair with tea began.

One of my favourite local tea companies, JusTea, has over 15 teas and tisanes (herbal tea) in their line. Today, I’m thrilled to discuss purple tea, which has very little caffeine. As I mentioned previously, I did shift work for 10 years and relied on coffee to stay awake at night. My body was stressed and constantly in fight or flight, which led to adrenal fatigue (often referred to as hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction). This experience made me very conscious of my caffeine intake to help keep my energy up and blood sugar levels stable.

What is Purple Tea

What is Purple Tea

Did you know all tea comes from camellia sinensis? It’s true; black, green and oolong tea are all from the same plant. Purple tea comes from a unique cultivar of the Camellia Sinensis that is grown on Mount Kenya at high elevations picked by the local farmers. It has been found that purple tea has special properties as it’s highly resistant to pests, disease, frost, draught which makes it high yielding. Being a farmer is challenging because you rely on the environment for your crop. You depend on your crop financially to survive and because of climate change, the weather is unpredictable. The unique properties of purple tea make it an exciting prospect for small-scale farmers that rely on their environment.

I’m sure you’re curious what the benefits of drinking purple tea are? Sure, the tea may be trendy because of its vibrant colour, but there’s more to it. Purple tea has half the caffeine as green tea and more antioxidant activity! It has that rare, beautiful, vibrant colour due to anthocyanins, a water-soluble pigment found in leaves, flowers, fruit and vegetables that are blue, purple or red. The same compounds that are in blueberries, raspberries and purple cabbage! The colour expressed varies depending on the plant’s pH level. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid (sub-category of polyphenols), which are basically phytonutrients with antioxidant effects. This type of polyphenol is advantageous over others due to how easily absorbed it is in the body. We can thank the positive charge they carry for that! (Bagchi,Roy, Patel, & He, 2006). The 6 major types of anthocyanins are Cyanidin, Peonidin, Petunidin, Pelargonidin, Delphinidin and Malvidin. Malvidin is the highest anthocyanin in purple tea. Malvidin antioxidants have multiple benefits on the body such as lowering inflammation, increasing white blood cells, preventing cancer and aiding weight loss.

What is Purple Tea

High in Antioxidants and Lowers Inflammation

 Why do we want to consume liquids and food high in antioxidants? For the body to work physiologically we need a balance between antioxidants and free radicals. In case you aren’t sure what a free radical is, it’s basically a molecular species with an unpaired electron, often unstable and highly reactive. The body creates free radical stress on its own when we exercise and during daily metabolic functions so if we aren’t consuming an external source, such as berries or purple leaf tea, high in antioxidants to combat our endogenous systems (internally), we aren’t going to thrive. Externally, we are also exposed to cigarette smoke, environmental pollution, radiation, drugs, pesticides, industrial solvents and the ozone. If antioxidants and free radicals aren’t balanced this leads to oxidative stress that negatively impacts lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and even our DNA. This may lead to several different types of illnesses. This is so powerful because research shows that food is medicine, just like Hippocrates suggested.

What is Purple Tea

Studies confirm oxidative stress contributes to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, lupus, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. If we have oxidative stress then there will be a decrease in our body’s antioxidant, glutathione. Tea anthocyanins increase glutathione, an antioxidant the body makes, which provides protection to cell against harmful agents (referred to as a cytoprotective effect). Tea catechins, a type of compound abundant in tea, and anthocyanins also improve the integrity of cell membranes, organelle and DNA.

Increases White Blood Cells and Prevent Cancer

Research suggests that consuming purple tea stimulates the immune system by creating more lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell (WBC). Having an adequate WBC count is beneficial because they protect you from foreign invaders by destroying infectious agents and cancer cells.

“Anthocyanins played a significant role in conventional treatments such as preventive agents against different forms of cancers, cardiovascular disorders and anti-inflammatory diseases. Anthocyanins have been shown to suppress or block cancer progression by a variety of mechanisms by acting as anti-proliferative agents and as antioxidants” (Lee et al. 2009).

What is Purple Tea

Specific to colon cancer, anti-proliferation and the ability to make tumour cells more sensitive to radiation therapy has been documented. The study examined the antioxidant activity using purple tea shoots! Purple tea has more antioxidant activity when compared to green tea because of the anthocyanins and other chemical properties, such as the number of hydroxyl groups. If you love chemistry, feel free to explore that further.

Supports Weight Loss and Muscle Mass Connection

 Weight loss is not a focus of my practice because I believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle and mind, eating as many whole foods as possible while supporting any imbalances that are present. However, most of the time weight loss happens when we are moving and eating lots of whole foods.  Body positivity, a healthy relationship with food and decreased stress levels are key to being happy. I’m sure we’ve all heard that saying “You are what you think.” I do acknowledge, however, that some people may be interested in losing weight if it’s impacting their health negatively. Studies have shown that by consuming purple tea over a 4 week time period that body mass index, body weight, body fat mass, abdominal fat, body fat radio, and upper arm fat were reduced prior to ingestion. More importantly, this led to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, often measured by doctors to access health. For the athletes out there, purple tea positively impacts your muscle ratio, which could lead to improved overall performance.

What is Purple Tea

Specific to colon cancer, anti-proliferation and the ability to make tumour cells more sensitive to radiation therapy has been documented. The study examined the antioxidant activity using purple tea shoots! Purple tea has more antioxidant activity when compared to green tea because of the anthocyanins and other chemical properties, such as the number of hydroxyl groups. If you love chemistry, feel free to explore that further.

Why JusTea?

 Personally, I love that they work directly with the farmers in Kenya. There’s a picture of one of the farmers they work with on each tin you buy, adding to that a sense of community which shows their strong relationships with their small-scale, fair trade farmers. Each tin also comes with a handmade Kenyan spoon that supports their local community. JusTea is an expert with respect to quality and taste, which I saw first hand at a tea tasting event they hosted in September. My favourites are the Mint Purple Tea and the Purple Chocolate tea made from cacao shells courtesy of East Van Roasters.

Tip: optimal brewing time for purple tea is 3 minutes. Well, I’m off to drink antioxidant rich purple tea, I predict this will be the food trend of 2019!

Connect with me on BrucesRoots.com, Facebook and  Instagram.

—Jordan Bruce, RHN

What is Purple Tea

Your Questions Answered

We recently ran a survey and received so many great questions and comments from you, so we thought we would publish our responses. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey, we love getting your feedback and our team is keeping all of your comments in mind as we move into the new year.

Can Canadians buy from Amazon.ca?

Absolutely! We launched our Amazon.ca store in May of this year and most of the products we offer on the site are also available there.

Could the free shipping minimum on JusTea.com be lower?

We wish! It is expensive to ship parcels so that is why the free shipping is $50 in the USA and Canada. This is one of the reasons why we also offer some of our products on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca; so that Prime members get free 2-day shipping. Alternatively, if you live in Vancouver, select Local Pick-up during check-out on Justea.com and come by JusTea’s office to pick up your order and pay $0 shipping charges 🙂

Will you ever make a vanilla rooibos tea?

We love that idea! We will add it to our experimental blend list. All of our teas contain 100% Kenyan ingredients or as many ingredients as we can source from Kenya. Rooibos only grows in South Africa so we would have to test out a Vanilla Rooibos with Lemongrass or another herb that grows in Kenya to make this work for JusTea.

Can I purchase tea at your office in Vancouver?

Yes! As mentioned above, you can purchase tea online and then select Local Pick-up in the checkout options (no shipping charges!). You will receive an email when your order is ready to pick-up. We prefer if you place your order online with this method ahead of time so that we can ensure we have the product in stock for you when you arrive.

Why aren’t your refill pouches recyclable?

We are working on this and expect to launch full biodegradable refill pouches in 2019. The reason we haven’t yet is that our teas need a ‘barrier’ to hold in the flavour and freshness (especially our Kenyan Earl Grey’s organic bergamot oil), so up until now that meant a foil-lined bag. We believe we have found a solution and we will notify you when we launch! Sign up to the mailing list in the footer of the site if you’d like to be kept in the loop about this and other updates.

We want great videos about the staff!

You’re in luck! We already run a weekly live video series every Sunday called #LiveFromKenya with our JusTea farmers. You can tune in live at 8:30 pm PST if you’d like to chat with any of our farmers. This series can be found on our Facebook feed and our website blog.

We also recently made this video where our Vancouver-based Tea Captain, Paul, talks about our Fair Trade purple tea and our mission to bring it to North America.

We love chatting with you! If you have any unanswered questions for us please leave a comment below or email us at info@justea.com.

#LiveFromLosAngeles with Paul and Sally

#LiveFromKenya turns into #LiveFromLosAngeles this week with Tea Captain Paul Bain and Sally while they’re visiting for the #LATeaFestival! Paul takes us through our Purple Tea collection and answers all of your questions. 💜