“Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
~ (Ancient Chinese Proverb)
A cup of green tea.
One of life’s basic pleasures. People have been enjoying the taste and health benefits of tea for thousands of years. Tea was first cultivated by India and China but is now consumed around the world and is second only to water. It is grown around the world in tropical and sub tropical locations but is native to Southeast Asia. Camellia sinensis – green tea’s scientific plant name – comes from a type of evergreen shrub or laurel tree. The leaf buds and leaves are the parts used to make the tea. Plants have always been used in traditional Chinese medicine and now the Western medical community is taking notice. Can the claim be made that green tea heals?
A cup of green tea.
There is an entire science surrounding this basic and simple beverage. Tea has been touted as being the magic cure-all for everything, especially the green variety. It is said to hold curative properties for human illnesses and preventive health. There is proven truth to many of the claims and the jury is still out on many others. There are still studies to be done and analyzed but the ones that are completed paint a fairly impressive picture of the powerful benefits of this powerful tea.
Many of these medical headlines do have merit. The majority of the therapeutic health benefits attributed to the tea are due to the polyphenols, the potent anti-oxidant compounds found in it. Polyphenols contained in teas are classified as catechins. There are six primary catechin compounds found in the green version of the tea: catechin, gallaogatechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and apigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG). EGCG is the most studied polyphenol component in green tea and also the most active. Catechins are present in nearly all teas made from Camellia sinensis including white tea, green tea, black tea and Oolong tea.
The National Cancer Institute has ongoing clinical trials on the health impact that this tea can offer in the fight against skin cancer. Two current studies are testing to see the effects of a green tea pill on sun-induced skin damage and another is making a determination whether a topical application shrinks pre-cancerous skin changes. These scientific studies suggest that EGCG and green tea polyphenols have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent the onset and growth of skin tumors. The catechins have a strong antibiotic effect and play a role is disrupting the replication of the DNA in bacteria. In in-vitro experiments the EGCG was able to reverse methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This could prove to be a treatment for such resistant bacteria.
There is another clinical study through the National Institute of Health to determine the effect of the tea as an extract in preventing cervical cancer in patients with Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Dental caries, dental plaque formation and bad breath – which are bacterial infections – have been treated successfully with green tea. Aside from being a powerful antioxidant, green tea promotes healthy cholesterol, healthy blood pressure, good blood sugar and a healthy metabolism, cardiovascular health, younger looking skin, digestive health, and energy.
One of the more recent claims that has much interest is that green tea promotes weight loss and acts as a diuretic. As powerful as this tea appears to be, it is best to take a precautionary approach. With any herbal or plant based supplement there could be interactions with medications being taken so it is always advised to consult with your physician before implementing any dietary changes that include green tea beverages or its supplement and extract forms. People with heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders (particularly anxiety) should not take green tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid this tea.
A cup of green tea.
Who knew? Can the claim be made that green tea heals? It may be the new powerhouse miracle that could prove to change lives and improve health just as penicillin or the invention of aspirin. Something so simple yet so promising.
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