White tea is a class of tea which in recent years has become recognized by many as not only enjoyable but also healthy. It has been well know in Asia for centuries, but only recently has the rest of the world become much more aware of it.
Unlike black tea, white tea leaves are not fermented or even allowed to fully mature. Rather, they are picked early in development, before the buds have opened. They are then withered with hot air and quickly steamed or pan-fried. When this is complete the tea is white in appearance, due to the silvery-white fuzz which still covers the immature buds.
White Tea is a fairly strong antioxidant due to its polyphenol content. Antioxidants are believed to help prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system, slow or stop the oxidation of LDL (cholesterol), and more. Green tea has often been promoted for these reasons, but white tea contains them in higher concentrations.
For better or for worse, white tea also contains more fluoride that most other teas. This is presumed to help reduce dental cavities, but probably also increases the risk of memory loss and a number of other medical conditions, including bone loss, premature births, cancer, and other problems associated with hormone disruption.