Category: green tea
The Chinese have known about Green tea as a powerful medication for at least 4000 years. According to legend, tea was discovered by a Chinese emperor called Shen Nung. Some tea leaves accidentally fell into boiling water, and he tried it and found it invigorating. Green tea became part of the Chinese diet and many important health benefits were attributed to it. Now recent medical studies in both asia and the west are providing a scientific basis for the claim that drinking green tea has very significant health benefits.
Green tea, like black tea is made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. The difference between the three main types of tea is the way that they are produced. Green tea is unfermented tea meaning that the leaves used for green tea are steamed soon after been plucked in order to prevent the oxidation of the leaves. In this way the leaves remain green and the active substances within the leaves retain their qualities. Black teas on the other hand are made from fermented leaves and as a result have less nutritional and enzyme content as the green tea. Thus green and black teas have different chemical properties.
Modern science has in recent times been able to demonstrate that green tea is beneficial to one’s health and this is mainly due to the fact that tea contains high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols or flavonoids. The antioxidant activity of tea has been compared to that of fruit and vegetables in a number of studies. One study concluded that consuming three cups of tea a day produced a similar amount of antioxidants as eating six apples. Antioxidants help your body fight against free radicals which cause damage to cells and tisuues in your body.
While all tea is healthy to drink, it is green tea that contains the highest level of flavonoids. Recent medical studies suggest green tea to be beneficial in many areas including the following:
–Digestive and respiratory health.
–Lowers cholesterol levels
–Boosts your immune system
-Reduces high blood pressure
–Arthritis – anti-inflammatory effect.
-Oral hygiene – due to antibacterial properties.
-Skin conditions such as acne
-Lowers blood sugar
Weight loss is another area that is attracting huge attention. Recently published research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that an extract from green tea may speed up fat oxidation. A study was conducted of ten healthy men over a period of 6 weeks. It was discovered that those men who were given green tea extract burned more calories per day than those who were not given the extract. Much more research needs to be conducted in this area but the signs are certainly very encouraging.
Ask the average American to define herbs and he or she will tell you that herbs are green leaves that have some medicinal properties. Some may even add that herbs like Thyme and Sage are used for cooking. This is how most people define herbs; which is quite good knowledge considering that most folks are ambivalent about the actual use of herbs in their own lives.
A herb (the word rhymes with ‘curb’) is a plant that is grown for medicinal or culinary value.
Typically, the green leafy part of the herb is used, occasionally roots also are put to use. A culinary herb is non-woody and soft. Used for their aromatic flavor and texture, culinary herbs include bay leaf, basil, chervil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.
The world of medicinal herbs is even more diverse and surprising. Even the most innocuous looking leaf blade may possess a treasure trove of medicinal properties. A medicinal herb is generally a shrub or other woody plant used for therapeutic purposes. Herbalism or Phytotherapy is the practice of folk or traditional medicine that aims to cure “dis-eases” in the body using plants and the active constituents found within them.
This resurgence of interest in herbs was brought about by various systems of holistic healing. Now, more than ever before, people are beginning to realize that good health does not refer to an absence of disease. Rather, it is a balance of physical, mental, emotional and social wellness. Herbal health care is becoming increasingly popular because herbs provide natural stimulants that activate the body’s own defense mechanisms.
When orthodox medicine took over the reins of mainstream health care, herbs and their medicinal values got relegated to the background. One reason could be the problem of availability. Another more important reason is that unlike a pill or a tonic, herbs usually take more time to bring about an effect.
Due to our sedentary lifestyle, processed foods and industrial advances, we have managed to discover a large number of chronic illnesses that were virtually unknown in the past. Medicines used to treat these diseases have side effects. In time, these medicines also become ineffective as the human body develops a resistance to the medicine. After battling it out for many years, practitioners of conventional medicine are finally willing to admit that herbal extracts are an effective source of healing.
Herbal medicines provide a healing system that is in tune with nature. The medicines are characterized by simplicity, depth and effectiveness. They are cost effective too. Absence of side effects also greatly enhances their allure.
Some interesting uses of herbs are:
– Chamomile tea sipped slowly throughout the day helps decrease acidity and soothes the digestive system
– Alfalfa is a highly nutritious herb as it is a natural source of vitamins and minerals.
– Valerian root can be used to treat insomnia.
– Two fresh garlic cloves taken at night increases ones resistance to flu and colds.
– Feverfew is a herb that if taken consistently, effectively reduces the frequency of migraines.
Herbs, like any drug, bring about a physiological change in the body. If taken continuously for prolonged periods, they may affect the body’s natural ability to heal. The aim of herbs is to bring the body back into ‘balance’ so that there is no longer any need for medicine. Herbal medicines may not be the best, pure or only form of medicine. Indeed, it should be used as a complementary medicine that helps doctors achieve the most important goal of all – that of total cure in the easiest, most effective and shortest route.
The western world may recently have awakened to the benefits of green tea, but it has been around for centuries in China and Japan as the beverage of choice for the classes and the masses alike. The Chinese and Japanese have always believed that a regular intake of[ green tea means a longer, healthier life. In the early 1990s, scientists proved this belief to be true when a survey of 3,000 Japanese women showed that those who drank green tea lived longer than those who did not.
Now I come to the ‘healthier’ part. Continued research has also proved that green tea actually offers protection against cardiac ailments, liver disorders, and acts as an antibacterial agent for the immune system. The reason for this is the presence of strong antioxidants in green tea. Essentially, green tea contains a group of chemicals called catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). That’s a mouthful, but EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant that hinders the growth of carcinogenic cells and even, according to some researches, kills cancerous cells without damaging healthy tissue. EGCC also lowers LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of thrombosis, the leading cause of cardiac attacks and strokes.
Doesn’t that seem an awful lot for one antioxidant to do? But I haven’t finished. also contains caffeine, vitamins like E and C and several minerals. Caffeine, as the world knows, is a mild anti-depressant that stimulates the skeletal muscles and assists muscular contraction, while the vitamins and minerals hinder the ageing process.
And I haven’t even told you about the weight loss benefits of green tea yet. In plain terms, green tea burns fat, lots of it. In fact, it has what are scientifically called thermogenic properties, which means it actively promotes fat oxidation.
In fact, a Japanese study conducted on two separate groups of men of similar size (based upon body mass index and waist circumference) has shown that if all other conditions like diet and calorie intake remain equal, people who ingest a greater amount of polyphenols present in green tea will lose more weight than those who ingested a lower volume of polyphenols.