Is green tea a wonder drug? No! Enthusiastic advocates of the beverage do it no favors when they talk about green tea by saying, “It’s a miracle!” Miracles defy explanation in everyday terms of how the world works, whereas green tea’s healthfulness can be explained in terms almost anyone understands.
So enough of this “wonder drug” talk. Green drinking tea’s positive impact on health comes from its chemical composition. It’s called science. If science isn’t miraculous enough for you, you might consider séance—perhaps one with Shennong, the long-gone inventor of Chinese medicine, who was a fan of tea as a healthy drink. However, most serious seekers of information about green tea prefer the scientific approach.
Chinese green tea is one category of a beverage made from the camellia sinensis plant. The other categories are black, white, and oolong. The plant first sprang up in China and adjacent areas, and harvesting, processing, and brewing the plant’s tender leaves produce what is called “tea.” Please note: While boiling the leaves, roots or stems of other plants also can result in a pleasant nectar, it is not tea. This is an important distinction. Only camellia sinensis leaves contain the ingredients for real tea—which is to say, a beverage with an amazing range of real healthful attributes.
Among green tea health benefits is its resistance to the scourge called cancer
Among green tea health benefits is its resistance to the scourge called cancer. Green tea has an especially high count of something called catechin, which is an antioxidant. The most pervasive catechin is identified by the initials EGCG— you probably aren’t interested in having the scientific term spelled out. The bottom line is, EGCG eliminates a waste compound that is a precursor to cancer.
Research has confirmed that green tea helps prevent bladder, stomach, pancreatic, and rectal cancers. Eight years ago, for example, the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California-Los Angeles reported that green tea slowed the progress of prostate cancer. Four years later, the cancer center at the University of Arizona reported on studies showing tea can alter the genetics of cancer.
Another area of health concern is arthritis. In 2012, Arthritis Today Magazine reported on a study that showed green drinking tea may block inflammation of autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Science also has shown that green tea’s antioxidants mitigate artery clogging and reduce the risk of high cholesterol. An amino acid in the tea is a relaxant that calm’s jitters. Neurological episodes among green tea drinkers seem to be fewer, which means Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases are less of a threat. Of less impact but not insignificant is that Chinese green tea tends to speed metabolism, meaning that weight loss is made somewhat easier.
Because organic green tea comes from a plant, it contains inorganic nutrients associated with the soil, such as minerals. The tea’s fluoride, for example, helps prevent tooth cavity formation. Its zinc component is a boon to healthy skin and bones and a body’s immune system. The tea contains magnesium for the heart and liver and potassium for nervous system maintenance. How about vitamins? Try B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, and K, which together nourish the body from head to foot.