Many people think that drinking Pu-er tea is good for your health. It is said to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, act as antioxidants, better skin quality,enhance weight loss and so on.
But do we actually know that consumption of moldy pu’er tea may lead to mycotoxin poisoning in some individuals.
Now why did these pu’er tea got moldy in the first place? The answer is where do you store your pu’er tea in?
Dry storage means we can store in dry conditions and allow the natural aging process to take place
However if the environment is too dry, it will slow down the aging process. Therefore a certain amount of humidity is required.Too dry of an environment will slow down the aging process. Pu’er that is dry stored will have a mild taste. It is the preferred method for storing tea.
Other types of teas are safe if consume moderately, because they haven’t undergone the post-fermentation process that pu’er has. So don’t worry about those.
Note: Pu-erh tea is made with Aspergillus Niger as the primary agent in the fermentation process.
Storing your pu’er tea in humid environment is consider a wet storage, this environment will speed up the aging process faster. High humidity storage will lead to the formation of mold, although wet stored pu’er does have stronger flavour compare to dry stored.
Mold formations on the pu’er contain elements like “mycotoxins” which is harmful to human body.
Therefore, you should always check for sign of molds on your pu’er tea every 3 months or so.
The danger of Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins can also cause immune dysfunction and are even carcogenic. If you’re experiencing any of these or a lot of them, Please visit your doctor as you could be poisoned by mycotoxin.
Let us look at Molds found in pu’er, and the mycotoxins they can produce:
- Aspergillus niger
- Oxalic acid
- Aspergillus clavatus
- Cytochalasin E
- Aspergillus glaucus
- Rhizopus chinensis, Rhizopus sp.
- Penicillium chrysogenum
- Trichoderma sp.
- Satratoxins, F,G,H
Severe abdominal pain (often sudden onset), extreme muscle aches and chronic pain, tightness, pain in chest wall, very dry eyes, multiple chemical sensitivities, hoarseness,loss of concentration, short term memory loss, low (or high) blood pressure, low body temperature, nosebleeds, mouth sores, out of norm headaches, hair loss, hearing loss,restless Leg (spasms of feet, toes as well), chronic fatigue, vertigo, red or bloodshot eyes,nail infections, sudden weight gain or loss, painless tiny blood-like blisters on skin,tooth decay near the gum area, blurred or distorted vision, tingling or burning sensation in hands or feet, sleeping for long periods, seizure-like episodes, pinhole size pupils and edema.respiratory infections, shortness of breath, sinus infections, excessive mucous production,
However the most dangerous of these mycotoxins to human health are ochratoxin and patulin.
Ochratoxin is a nephrotoxin. Patulin is cause hemorrhaging in the brain and lungs. Other mycotoxins are carcinogens.