Periodically a substance that has been around for years is found to have favorable effects on the body and becomes popular. That describes green tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant, a shrub native to Asia which has been used for about 3000 years, especially in China and Japan. Studies show that it appears to have certain health benefits–a report from the American Cancer Society stated that a major element in green tea is believed to block production of an enzyme required for cancer cell growth.
A study sponsored by the American Institute for Cancer Research found a substance in green tea halted a specific stage in the cancer process more effectively than some cancer drugs! White tea is also available and is supposed to have even more antioxidant activity.See my article on antioxidants-March 2017. Keep in mind that there is still no credible evidence for the claims of green tea’s merits.
Green and black tea both come from the same plant, but the processing is different; harvested leaves exposed to plenty of air during drying become black tea; making green tea requires steaming and drying the leaves at high temperatures without much oxygen present. Simply put, black tea is oxidized green tea.
Tea contains polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant properties and are responsible for its apparent benefits. Although all tea has some antioxidant properties, green tea has more of these favorable substances than black tea. Claims for green tea range from helping prevent cancer and infections, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, to regularizing bowel habits, helping prevent cavities, and even having some protective effect in Parkinson’s disease. Whether it does all these things or not, tea seems completely safe with few side effects.
Current interest in green tea in the United States has focused mainly on its anti-cancer properties rather than its flavor. The taste seems strange at first, but with time becomes pleasant, though acquired. Some varieties may be slightly bitter, but adding a little honey will enhance the flavor. I drink the type that contains lemon, and really enjoy it (no strange taste). To brew green tea, boil the water, then let it cool a minute or two, so the water is below boiling
There are some effects of green tea that aren’t beneficial, but you would have to drink a lot to have problems. The main drug in tea is caffeine. Large amounts of green tea are not recommended for pregnant women or those attempting to conceive, as caffeine in high doses has been linked to infertility and birth defects. Additionally, large amounts of green tea may put a strain on kidneys with pre-existing problems, and people with ulcers, heart rhythm problems, and anxiety disorders should minimize their intake of caffeine. Moreover, some antibiotics can increase the stimulant effects of caffeine. People taking medications containing theophylline (some asthma drugs) could get too much caffeine. Having said that, moderate drinkers of green tea have nothing to fear.
You can purchase the decaffeinated type, but the naturally decaffeinated is supposed to be preferable. If you want to remove a lot of the caffeine yourself, make the first cup of tea with the leaves or the bags and discard. Then make the second cup, which will have a lot less caffeine, as most of the caffeine is released in the first brew.
An average cup of green tea contains about 30mg. (milligrams) of caffeine, whereas a cup of black tea has about 40mg and a cup of coffee, about 100 to 180mg.The best green tea I have found is Bigelow tea bags decaffeinated, with lemon. It does not even need sugar as the taste is so pleasant.
Green tea is a soothing drink, and may add to the protection obtained from eating a diet high in plant foods and low in fat and salt.
I am a registered pharmacist who has always been highly interested in good health, and who utilizes current knowledge and experience to achieve that objective. I believe this includes exercise, sensible eating, social interaction, and striving to keep your mental capacity. I’m not a specialist in any of these fields, but in my pharmacy career I have learned a lot. I worked in my family-owned drugstore for many years, and interacted with a variety of people and many different maladies, picking up invaluable hints and easy treatments of everyday medical issues. I want to share some of these with you, to perhaps make a difference in solving and preventing health problems. If I learned anything along the way, it’s that I can advise you when and if you should seek medical help. I also plan to share some recipes of mine that contribute to healthy eating. I am convinced that the old adage “you are what you eat” still reigns true. I’ve enjoyed my work all these years, especially counseling patients and hope that you derive some knowledge and comfort from what I have learned.
Have questions? email Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org