Health Benefits of Green Tea

This articles provides basic information about green tea — common names, uses and potential side effects of green tea, types of green tea products, and resources for more information.

Green Tea For Health

All types of tea (green, black, and oolong) are produced from the Camellia sinensis plant using different methods. Fresh leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant are steamed to produce green tea.

Common Names — green tea, Chinese tea, Japanese tea

Latin Names — Camellia sinensis

The Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has a long history of use, dating back to China approximately 5,000 years ago. It has been used to treat everything from headaches to depression.

Green tea and green tea extracts, such as its component EGCG, have been used to prevent and treat a variety of cancers, including breast, stomach, and skin cancers.

Green tea and green tea extracts have also been used for improving mental alertness, aiding in weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, impaired immune function and protecting skin from sun damage.

The bacteria-destroying abilities of green tea can help prevent food poisoning, and also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque.

How is it Used: Green Tea for Drinking or Green Tea Vitamins

Green tea is usually brewed and drunk as a beverage. When brewing, use about one teaspoon of green tea per 5 ounce cup is and steep for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Some people prefer to take a supplement rather than drinking pure green tea — usually because of taste preference or convenience. Green tea supplements come in capsule form. Since supplements are more concentrated. A single capsule  may contain the same amount of green tea as two to three cups of the beverage.

Types of tea are commonly graded depending on the quality and the parts of the plant used as well as how they are processed. Green tea extracts are sometimes used in skin products.

The Science of Green Tea

Laboratory studies suggest that green tea may help protect against or slow the growth of certain cancers, but studies in people have shown mixed results.

Some evidence suggests that the use of green tea preparations improves mental alertness, most likely because of its caffeine content. There are not enough reliable data to determine whether drinking green tea or taking green tea supplements can aid in weight loss, lower blood cholesterol levels, or protect the skin from sun damage.

Green tea is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized.

Green tea studies are underway to learn more about the components in green tea and their effects on conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Green Tea Side Effects and Cautions

Green tea is safe for most adults when used in moderate amounts.

There have been some case reports of liver problems in people taking concentrated green tea extracts. This problem does not seem to be connected with green tea infusions or beverages. Although these cases are very rare and the evidence is not definitive, experts suggest that concentrated green tea extracts be taken with food, and that people should discontinue use and consult a heath care practitioner if they have a liver disorder or develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice.

Green tea. supplements and green tea extracts all contain caffeine. Caffeine can cause insomnia, anxiety, irritability, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, or frequent urination in some people. (Ounce for ounce, green tea has less caffeine than coffee.)

Green tea also contains small amounts of vitamin K, which can make anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin, less effective.

Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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