February 10, 2009

Green Tea

Although harvested from the same tea species, Camellia sinensis, green tea differs from its cousin, black tea, in the way of the processing. Green tea undergoes minimal oxidation or fermentation process, much less than black tea. Since it only expose to a short oxidation, green tea is considered to be healthier than the black one. Nevertheless, the negative side of minimal oxidation is that green tea can only retain its flavor in a short period of time usually within one year. After one year, the taste will slowly decrease compared to the black, which can retain its flavor for several years.

The name green is derived from its color after being brew with hot water, the beverage somewhat looks green. The green color also reflects the high concentration of powerful antioxidants called catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It is also effective in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The formation of abnormal blood clots, called thrombosis, is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals, and laboratory experiments. These studies suggest that green tea may be useful for the following health conditions: atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, cancer, Inflamatory Bowel Disease (IBD), diabetes, liver disease and weight loss.
However, green tea, like other herbs, contains active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements or medications. That’s why people should take herbs with care. Supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine is needed. For those who have problems such as heart problems, kidney disorders, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders (particularly anxiety) should not take green tea. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid green tea.
Nowadays, green tea is available everywhere whereas China is known as the best producer and also the biggest consumer, followed by Japan. This fact is not surprising since green tea had been use as a medication as early as 4,000 years ago, during the Song dynasty in China. The best producer of green tea in China, are: Zhejiang province, Jiangsu province, Hubei province, Henan province, Jiangxi province and Anhui province. Each province produces its own unique tea.
Enjoy your tea! A tea toss shall we :)

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