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Green Tea Extract
SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze. Family: Theaceae
COMMON NAME(S): Tea, green tea
According to Chinese folklore, green tea was discovered, only by accident, nearly four thousand years ago. Green tea is often lauded for the many amazing health benefits that it touts. However, in Asia, the birthplace of tea, green tea is widely enjoyed not only for medicinal effects, but for the many dimensions of flavor that can be experienced through the different varieties.
The dried, cured leaves of C. sinensis have been used to prepare beverages for more than 4000 years. The method of curing determines the nature of the tea. Green tea is prepared from the steamed and dried leaves; by comparison, black tea leaves are withered, rolled, fermented, and then dried. Oolong tea is semi fermented and considered to be intermediate in composition between green and black teas.The Chinese regarded the drink as a cure for cancer, although the tannin component is believed to be carcinogenic.The polyphenol presence in tea may play a role in lowering heart disease and cancer risk.
C. sinensis is a large shrub with evergreen leaves native to eastern Asia. The plant has leathery, dark green leaves and fragrant, white flowers with 6 to 9 petals.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea retains many chemicals of the fresh leaf. It is thought to reduce cancer, lower lipid levels, help prevent dental caries, and possess antimicrobial, antimutagenic, and antioxidative effects.
Green Tea contains caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system, and tannins, which combat diarrhea. Taken in moderation, green tea settles the stomach and has mild stimulant effects. However when taken in excess, it can cause insomnia and digestive problems.
Side Effects of Green Tea
To date, the only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia due to the fact that it contains caffeine. However, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee: there are approximately thirty to sixty mg. of caffeine in six - eight ounces of tea, compared to over one-hundred mg. in eight ounces of coffee. The FDA advises those who are or may become pregnant to avoid caffeine. Tea may impair iron metabolism.
Although no conclusive dosage recommendations are available for green tea, most people take about 3 cups (750 ml) per day. However, some research suggests that up to 10 cups per day is needed to receive enough polyphenols to notice a marked increase in health.
To make green tea, simply combine 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves with 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 3 minutes.
The FDA has advised that women who are or may become pregnant should avoid caffeine-containing products. Drinking moderate amounts of caffeine has shown inconsistent results, with more recent studies not demonstrating adverse effects on the fetus. Caffeine-containing beverages may also alter female hormone levels, including estradiol.
There is evidence that condensed catechin tannin of tea is linked to a high rate of esophageal cancer in regions of heavy tea consumption. This effect may be overcome by adding milk, which binds the tannin, possibly preventing its detrimental effects. Catechins have also been linked to tea-induced asthma. One study reports that catechins may have antiallergic effects, inhibiting type I allergic reactions.Green tea harvesters experienced shortness of breath, stiffness, pain in neck and arms, and other occupation-related problems.
The daily consumption of an average of 250 mL of tea by infants has been shown to impair iron metabolism, resulting in a high incidence of microcytic anemia.
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