Wu-yi is an area in Fu-Jian province in China famous for it rock mountains and rich water resources. It has a long history of tea production and most teas produced there belong to the "Oolong" tea group (also called Wu-yi Rock tea. Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) and Rou Gui being among the most well known ones.
All Oolong (or "Wulong" if you use US/Tiawanese pronounciation) teas are semi-fermented teas.
There have been some recent claims that there are ‘special’ (‘rare’ ‘secret’ ‘super’ etc) fat burning ‘Wulong’ teas from the Wu-Yi area. The facts are:
1/ Wulong or Oolong tea is not a new tea. (note : “Oolong” is the only official term used in the region of its birth place ie see Fu-Jian local government site: http://www.oolongtea.org/e/index.html ).
2/ They are many types of Oolong teas (hundreds at least). The variation between them relates to appearance and taste, due to different tea making skills, not in their ‘fat burning capacity’. Chinese medicine has long recorded tea drinking’s dual natures as both a beverage and medicine. However it has never claimed that there is a special type called Wu-Yi tea’s with a ‘super powerful fat burning effect’. Neither has modern medical research, even whilst supporting the many health benefits of tea drinking after studies involving human and animals.
Q: So, where are these claims from?
A: A statement made by Oprah Winfrey on her show (which I never saw, and therefore could not comment on it) turned it into a commercial frenzy. There are ‘snake oil merchants’ selling 100 tea bags for $140 AUD. After having a close look, these are not more than ordinary Oolong tea bags (which rank lowest during Chinese teas’ sorting process), with a true market value of around $10 AUD.
Q: So to the question "does it work?". ie Can Wulong tea reduce weight as some claimed – ’20 lbs. in 20 days’?
A: The only place(s) that claims this are the sellers. They all have many testimonies and photos, that could be produced by anyone anywhere.
- Most of the researchs conducted indicates green tea is a functional food for weight management.
- There has been very limited and weak evidence that Oolong tea is slightly more effective than green tea in the area of weight reduction as a result of it is higher level of poly-phenols.
- The common opinion of public health and food nutritionists is: the evidence of differences in tea types is far too weak to draw any conclusion; there is far more overlap than differences in various areas of health benefits with regard to green teas vs Oolong teas.
In short conclusion: Wu-yi tea should have much the same benefit in regards weight control as any other type of Oolong or green tea.