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Green Tea

Botanical Name: Camellia sinensis

Parts Used & Where Grown
All teas (green, black, and oolong) are derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference is in how the plucked leaves are prepared. Green tea, unlike black and oolong tea, is not fermented, so the active constituents remain unaltered in the herb. The leaves of the tea plant are used both as a social and a medicinal beverage.

How It Works
Green tea contains volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, and caffeine, but the primary constituents of interest are the polyphenols, particularly the catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The polyphenols are believed to be responsible for most of green tea’s roles in promoting good health.

Green tea has been shown to mildly lower total cholesterol levels and improve the cholesterol profile (decreasing LDL “bad” cholesterol and increasing HDL “good” cholesterol) in most, but not all, studies. Green tea may also promote cardiovascular health by making platelets in the blood less sticky. Green tea has been shown to protect against the oxidation of cholesterol to a more toxic molecule (oxidized cholesterol). Consumption of green tea increases antioxidant activity in the blood.

  • Abnormal Pap Smear - Twice weekly, apply a cream with 15% polyphenols to the cervix and/or take a 200 mg EGCG supplement daily
    A preliminary study found that cervical dysplasia improved following treatment with epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a green tea flavonoid, for 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Colon Cancer - Drink a few cups per day
    The polyphenols in green tea leaves may help protect against colon cancer.
  • High Cholesterol - 3 cups daily
    Green tea has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and improve people’s cholesterol profile.
  • Leukoplakia - 3 grams daily of a combination of whole green tea, green tea polyphenols, and green tea pigments, along with painting the mixture on the lesions three times per day
    A combination of whole green tea, green tea polyphenols, and green tea pigments painted on lesions may improve healing.
  • Obesity - An extract supplying 270 mg of EGCG and 150 mg of caffeine per day
    Green tea extract rich in polyphenols may support a weight-loss program by increasing energy expenditure or by inhibiting fat digestion.
  • Prostate Cancer - Several cups per day (enough to provide 600 mg of catechins daily)
    Drinking green tea or taking green tea catechins may help prevent prostate cancer in men at high risk of developing the disease.
  • Sunburn - Apply a formula containing 10% green tea polyphenols before sun exposure
    Green tea contains polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, and studies have suggested that these polyphenols can protect skin against ultraviolet rays.

Side Effects
Green tea is generally free of side effects. The most common adverse effects reported from consuming large amounts (several cups per day) of green tea are insomnia, anxiety, and other symptoms caused by the caffeine content in the herb.

An extract of green tea taken by healthy women with a meal inhibited the absorption of non-heme iron (for example, the form of iron in plant foods) by 26%. Frequent use of green tea could, in theory, promote the development of iron deficiency in susceptible individuals.

There are several case reports of people developing liver damage while consuming weight-loss products that contained concentrated extracts of green tea. A cause–effect relationship was not proven, and most of the products contained other ingredients in addition to green tea extract. Nevertheless, researchers have cautioned against the use of large amounts, or concentrated extracts, of green tea.

Certain medicines may interact with green tea.

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