Pu-erh tea, also known as pu’er tea, has been used to provide health benefits for hundreds of years. This unique fermented tea not only tastes delicious, but it also is full of healthy probiotics and other beneficial components that can directly benefit your overall health.

That being said, what can pu-erh tea be used for and what are its benefits and side effects?

What Is Pu-erh Tea?

Derived from the Yunnan Province of China, pu-erh tea is made from the leaves of the “wild old tree,” which grows within the region. For the tea to be classified as pu-erh, it must be made from the leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant

Once harvested, pu-erh tea leaves undergo fermentation and then experience prolonged aging. Pu-erh tea is the most oxidized form of tea and improves with age like fine wine. This unique tea differs from other types because the leaves themselves are fermented rather than the brewed tea.

Pu-erh tea also contains antioxidants and other substances that cause it to have several benefits with its consumption. 


Pu-erh tea can be consumed orally or applied directly to the skin. Both methods can have extremely positive health outcomes if used properly. The benefits of pu-erh tea range from improving cholesterol levels to boosting liver health.

Pu-erh is a naturally probiotic tea.

What does pu-erh tea do for your body? Some of the most common benefits of pu-erh tea include:

Benefits when taken orally:

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Enhances eyesight
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Soothes hangovers

Benefits when applied topically:

  • Helps treat mild bacteria-driven conditions like acne
  • Treat inflamed skin
  • Contains anti-aging properties

Side Effects

Although pu-erh tea is generally believed to be safe for human consumption, drinking large amounts of pu-erh tea might cause side effects due to its caffeine content. Potential side effects of pu-erh tea range from ringing in the ears, headache, sleep problems, and dizziness. 

Some other possible side effects include:

  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Tremor
  • Heartburn
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion

Although these side effects are rare, it’s important to be on the lookout for any signs of adverse reactions when you use pu-erh tea orally or topically. 

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, drinking pu-erh tea is possibly safe in amounts of 3 cups per day or less. But, it’s important to speak to a doctor before drinking pu-erh tea to be safe, as high intake of caffeine by nursing mothers can cause several side effects.

How to Use Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea is easy to brew and even easier to enjoy. In order to brew pu-erh tea, you will need:

  • A single cake of 3-4 grams of loose leaf pu-erh tea
  • Boiling water
  • A teapot with a strainer
  • Teacups or mugs
  • Cream, milk, or sweetener or your choice

In order to brew a cup of pu-erh tea properly, follow these steps:

  1. Add either the pu-erh tea cake or loose leaves into your teapot, pouring just enough boiling water over it to cover the leaves. Then, discard the water and repeat this step once more. 
  2. Once the teapot is filled with boiling water, allow the pu-erh tea to steep for 2 minutes.
  3. After 2 minutes, pour the tea into a teacup or mug and add any extras as desired. Enjoy.

Besides its delicious tea form, pu-erh tea can be used in other ways, including:

  • Used as a toner
  • Applied topically to treat inflamed skin
  • Used as a facial oil


For best practice, it’s recommended to drink up to 3 cups (710 mL) of pu-erh tea per day. If you’ve consumed large quantities of other caffeinated beverages, though, it’s recommended to avoid drinking pu-erh tea, as it contains caffeine. 

All in all, the appropriate dose of pu-erh tea depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions, which is why it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor to find the best dosage for you specifically before using.

Final Thoughts

If you already enjoy tea, incorporating pu-erh tea into your life makes for an easy, delicious, and beneficial outcome. With all of the benefits that come with pu-erh tea consumption, there’s no harm in drinking pu-erh tea daily as long as you tolerate it well.

If you are thinking about using pu-erh tea, you should consult with your doctor first. They will be able to provide more information on whether or not this tea would be beneficial for you. 

Further, when purchasing pu-erh tea products, look to the packaging labels for more information. You may want to look out for the following.

  • What, if any, government labels the package has to determine the level of regulation and testing the product underwent
  • Other ingredients in the product that you could be sensitive to

Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.

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