Green Tea from Ancient Art to Modern Science
For over 4 Millennia, the wisdom of Chinese herb doctors wound its way from generation to generation. They discovered wide ranging evidence demonstrating the benefits of all kinds of medicinal herbs. Among them was green tea, and they found many things it could help with. Different problems from bad headaches to chronic inflammatory diseases are just a couple of examples of its uses.
The properties Green tea is lucky enough to have, are studied extensively and volumes of contemporary research reports are appearing every year. Most benefits result from its caffeine content. But many other benefits arise from the ability of the compounds in this beverage to reduce free radicals. Although a complicated thing to convey, simply put free radicals mess up metabolic processes.
The polyphenols discovered to occur by default in green tea were a happy accident, tea just happened to be healthy. Thanks to its popularity, this beverage has certainly helped many people stay healthy throughout history and around the world.
Everyone knows that Green Tea is good for our metabolism, but it are less likely to be aware that it’s also an antioxidant and anticarcinogenic making it great for skin. The main polyphenol in green tea, which causes the most interest in the science community, is called EGCG. Much research is ongoing regarding this substance and the mechanisms through which it wards off cancer and other illnesses.
Considering these interesting properties it’s good to understand a small amount about the plant. For something to be a real tea it must originate from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, and it’s this very plant which delivers such a lucky mixture of substances that are healthy. How tea is processed strongly results how many beneficial compounds are retained in the beverage. Black tea well known as being poor quality and heavily processed has never been great for us, yet conversely green and white tea that have been through such a small amount of manufacturing are healthy for us.
All tea, whether black, green or white is subjected to a varied range and intensity of processing. The higher the quality of the type of tea then the less refined it will be, and all of the best ones subject to special processes that make them unique. Any dross retained after manufacturing fine quality tea is not wasted, but reused cleverly by being mixed in with more powerfully flavoured ingredients which mask what it is and allow it to be sold. Tea that comes as leaves is usually high quality. Because it stays fairly intact, regardless of how it is processed, it retains all the healthy compounds inside.
Any water is dissipated by leaving green tea or white tea out for 8 hours to a day before it is put through the final stages of production. Pan frying the tea leaves or more commonly steaming them. This action is carried out to stop the processes that might activate and contribute to oxidization occurring. This process is a variety of processes depending on the brand and how they have traditionally gone about it.
Those people with the budget to pay for premier green tea brands get the fine young shoots, gathered right at the beginning of the coming harvest and picked out first. They keep more of those beneficial ingredients.
Those with less means are still able to enjoy green tea, but shop at the other end of the scale. The powdery leftovers of green tea, called fanning, is often used in cheaper tea varieties. This stuff works well for tea bag use, and is frequently distributed as such.
It’s clear that green tea has a long and interesting history, and a tradition of being ideal for the health of those drinking it. Science will lead to new breakthroughs, and in the meantime there are many more discoveries waiting to be uncovered, but there are lots of good reasons to drink tea, from the taste to how enjoyable this drink is.