What is Green Tea and how is it made ?
The tea is a product of a plant known as C. sinensis, a native of Southeast Asia. The tea brewed from the dried leaves of this plant has been drunk in China since perhaps the 28th century BC. It was first brought to Europe by the Dutch in the early 17th century AD.
Leaf buds and young leaves are used in making tea, the age of the leaves determining the taste and name of the particular commercial variety. After picking, the leaves either are dried immediately and completely to produce green teas, or are partially dried and then allowed to ferment to produce various kinds of black teas. After being sorted, all grades of tea are packed in foil-lined chests to prevent the absorption of unpleasant odors or the loss of aroma during shipment. In China, tea is sometimes allowed to absorb the scent from various flowers particularly Jasmine.
Tea is an aromatic stimulant, containing various polyphenols, essential oils, and caffeine. The concentration of caffeine in tea ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 percent, in contrast to an average concentration of about 1.5 percent in coffee.
Green Tea, is abundantly grown in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. This belt grows the best teas in the world.
Scientists from Japan Cancer Institute have been successful in identifying a substance in Green Tea called Catechins or Polyphenols, which act as strong antioxidants. They are in a position to clinically establish the old adage that “tea is a miraculous medicine for the mantainance of health”. Catechins remain unchanged in Green Tea as leaves are merely steamed, rolled and dried as opposed to black tea which is fermented.
A study of over 3,400 adults in Saudi Arabia–a country of tea-lovers–found that those who drank more than 6 cups per day of the brown beverage had a more than 50% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to tea abstainers, even after adjusting for other factors such as smoking, diet and obesity.
Green Tea and Cancer
A new study by a team of Swedish researchers adds support to the growing body of evidence that green tea contains
compounds that fight cancer. Green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps inhibit blood vessel growth. This could be useful in preventing tumors from forming new blood vessels, which they need to survive. In a study on mice, the researchers also found animals fed on green tea showed a 55-percent to 70-percent reduction in blood vessel development in the cornea of the eye, a finding that could prove helpful to diabetics suffering from retinopathy.
Other studies have shown EGCG blocked an enzyme needed for cancer cell growth and kept cells from becoming cancerous without harming surrounding healthy cells. The researchers point out heavy consumption of green tea may not be beneficial for women who are pregnant or for people recovering from wounds, conditions that both require blood vessel development.
Green Tea Battles Arthritis
Antioxidants found in green tea may reduce the severity and even prevent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a new study suggests. The antioxidants, called polyphenols, appear to possess more antioxidant potency than some vitamins. Researchers also point out there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that people living in India, China and Japan —where green tea consumption is high — have lower rates of rheumatoid arthritis.
Green tea polyphenols applied to human skin prevent ultraviolet light-induced damage, according to a study.