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Nuts & Bolts

April 2, 2013

Tea grows a reputation for healthfulness

(Continued)

Martino, of Capital Teas, said customers at her shops often ask about health benefits, especially after pronouncements by celebrity physicians such as Mehmet Oz. Whenever Oz mentions a certain tea, Martino said, "people come flooding in looking for that tea."

Erika Sanchez, a manager at the Teaism shop in Washington, said customers do much the same at her shop — and then discover how many different types of teas are out there: "If you're new to the tea world, it can be surprising."

America's rising interest in tea has been attracting international attention.

Sundeep Mukherjee, principal adviser to the Darjeeling Tea Association, said three-quarters of the tea from that region of India is exported, with up to 10 percent going to the United States, a portion that's been rising over the last decade as health benefits become more widely known.

"The tea industry is doing well," Mukherjee said. "This is a product everyone drinks."

Ungar is the medical writer at the Courier-Journal in Louisville.

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