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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.
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.