Green tea – an intro
Green tea continues to be the most popular beverage in oriental countries, that is, in Japan and China.
Green tea is produced when fresh leaves from a particular plant named Carmellia sinensis are steamed. Green tea, black tea and oolong tea are the three types of tea produced from the same carmellia sinensis plant using various methods. Green tea is also called Chinese tea, Japanese tea. Its latin name is Carmellia Sinensis.
Uses of Green tea
Green tea beverage can be prepared either by brewing green tea or using tea bags with the dehydrated leaf extracts. To brew green tea, 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of green tea leaves are put in a cup of boiling water and allowed to steep for 3 minutes. Green tea is also available in capsules, tablets, powders, pill form containing standardized extracts of EGCG. It is used at times in skin care products.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is the most powerful among the four major therapeutic catechin components (flavonoid compounds) present in green tea. EGCG is present in most abundant amount in green tea. It makes up approximately 30% of the dry weight of green tea leaves. Green tea catechins have antioxidant health promoting properties and used to manage various health problems.
- Green tea is cardioprotective due to its anti-atherogenic properties. Its antioxidant properties may lower cholesterol levels and treat heart disease.
- Scientific researches have supported the role of green tea in preventing or slowing down the growth of cancer, specifically breast cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancers. Human studies have shown mixed results.
- Green tea and its extracts play a role in skin protection from sun damage.
- Green tea boosts metabolism and aids in weight loss.
- The antioxidants present in green tea are very helpful in boosting the immunity of the body. These immunity boosting properties help in prevention of allergies. This helps in prevention of flu, cold, coughs, headaches and such allergies.
- Catechin, a compound present in green tea has stress-reducing properties and avoids sleepiness. Theanine, an amino acid present in green tea, helps in the stimulation of dopamine, a chemical that induces a feeling of happiness. Theanine and dopamine are known to improve one’s mood. Regular consumption of green tea is helpful in fighting against free radicals in the body. It also improves mental alertness levels.
- Studies sponsored by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) are being conducted to evaluate the effects of green tea components on cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Side Effects of Green Tea
- Green tea is safe for use in moderate quantities by most adults, although exact dose specification of green tea to promote good health benefits is not known.
- Concentrated green tea extracts have caused liver problems in some people in rare indefinite cases, though green tea infusions and bags do not seem to cause any problems. Discontinue use in case of a liver disorder or symptoms associated with liver trouble such as abdominal pain, dark urine or jaundice, and seek professional advice from a qualified health practitioner.
- Green tea and tea extracts could cause anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea or frequent urination in some people as it contains caffeine.
- Green tea contains vitamin K which could reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant drugs like warfarin.
- If you seek medical help for any health problem, always make it a point to inform your doctor that you are using herbal therapy or alternative therapy healing methods. This will ensure safe and coordinated health care.