The Japanese custom of drinking green tea began about 800Ad, when Buddhist monks returned from China, bringing the herb with them for medicinal purposes. Thus green tea has, from early times, been valued for its medicinal purposes and life extending properties. More recently, scientific research has developed confirmation of many beneficial effects of green tea, particularly in relation to cancer.
The Many Healthful Properties of Green Tea
The main components of green tea and their general effects are:
Catechins - these lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels, work as antioxidants, kill viruses and bacteria, prevent halitosis, may reduce the risk of tumours
Vitamin C - reduces stress, boosts the immune system
Vitamin B complex - aids absorption of carbohydrates
Vitamin E - acts as an antioxidant and prevents ageing
Flavonoids - strengthen blood vessels and prevent halitosis
Polysaccharides - lowers blood sugar
Fluoride - prevents cavities
Theanine - an amino acid, which gives green tea its distinctive flavour
Refreshing The Body
As the caffeine in green tea mixes with catechins in the brewing water, it is said to be milder than caffeine in coffee. In moderate amounts green tea can be refreshing and stimulating, particularly if you are feeling tired and sluggish. For people who are sensitive to caffeine, a weaker tea can be equally refreshing without aggravating the nervous system. An increasing number of studies are finding that green tea also has a potent ability to prevent, and even fight cancer.Studies of Japanese tea drinkers show that those who consume four to six cups of green tea a day have lower levels of breast, oesophegal, liver, lung, and skin cancers, than those who consume less green tea or none at all.
Green Tea and Lung Cancer
The compounds in green tea act through a number of different pathways throughout the body, as yet, not all of these have been isolated. One study, conducted at Britain's Rochester University, revealed that two chemicals in green tea shut down one of the main molecules that tobacco uses to cause cancer. This could mean that drinking green tea may significantly lower your risk of developing lung cancer, even if you smoke.
Green Tea and Breast Cancer
A study undertaken by Anna H. Wu, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, recorded diet and other facets of lifestyle in 501 women with breast cancer, and 594 cancer-free women from the same Los Angeles neighbourhoods. The study revealed, drinking an average of up to 85 millilitres of green tea per day-that's about 6 tablespoons-appeared to cut a woman's breast cancer risk by almost 30 percent, compared with women drinking no green tea.
Green Tea and Skin Cancer
Researchers lead by Santosh K. Katiyar, of Case Western reserve University in Cleveland, have been reviewing information on the positive effects of green tea both as a beverage, and for its use as a topical application. The team thinks that green tea shows promise in the prevention and treatment of various skin conditions. At this point, researchers know little about the protective or restorative effect of green tea that is already sold in many skincare products. More clinical studies are needed on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are interesting researchers. Several researchers are examining the effects of applying green tea components directly to human skin. It is believed that components of green tea called polyphenols, (the antioxidants found in plants), may be able to assist the skin's natural antioxidant capacity both to treat it for, and protect it from over exposure to the sun's UV rays. In the future green tea may be a valuable treatment for skin cancer.