It turns out that green tea, enjoyed by millions worldwide every day, is more than just a pleasant warm drink. Researchers uncover new benefits practically every week.
And they’re finding that it isn’t even necessary to drink the tea to gain these advantages. Taking green tea extract can be just as effective.
A quick review of research illustrates the numerous health-giving properties of green tea. These include:
- Slowing the aging process
- Improving memory & learning
- Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease
- Reducing anxiety
- Supporting heart health
- Preventing oxidative damage to cells
- Reducing inflammation
- Preventing kidney stones & gall stones
- Stopping the formation of cataracts
- Treating or even preventing some forms of cancer
- Killing bacteria
- Treating chronic fatigue
- Protecting the liver from cirrhosis & fatty liver congestion
- Preventing insulin resistance (Syndrome X)
- Helping weight loss
- Lowering elevated cholesterol
- Increasing the health of gums and teeth
And those are just the highlights.
The components of green tea that contribute to this amazing list of advantages (and more) include 18 different polyphenols, including the well-studied ECGC (Epigallocatechin-3-gallate).
It also contains a relatively uncommon amino acid, L-Theanine. This unusual substance has the quality of both increasing alertness and calming the mind. It is so effective at balancing the mind this way that one company, Pure Encapsulations, sells this single amino acid as a supplement under the name, “Zen in a Bottle.”
Like black tea and oolong tea, green tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, unlike these other forms, green tea is not oxidized while being processed. This may explain why it has six times more therapeutic activity than the more highly processed black tea.
The Most Recent Research
Just this month two new studies have been released on green tea.
In one, researchers at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China published their results showing that green tea extract caused a dramatic transformation in the shape of calcium oxalate kidney stones. These stones are usually sharp, razor-like masses that rip through the urinary tract causing intense, stabbing pain.
However, when exposed to green tea extract, they never took on the razor-edged crystalline structure and never grew to a large size. They also became much less stable, meaning they broke apart more easily.
In another study, published in the print edition of the journal, Cancer Prevention Research, green tea slowed the growth of oral cancer in human subjects.
How To Take It
Obviously, the most common way people get the green tea advantage is by enjoying a few cups during the day. But this isn’t always convenient if you have a busy life.
If that’s the case for you, then you’ll be happy to know that extracts of green tea are available in pill or capsule form.
These extracts have several advantages. In addition to being as convenient as taking any vitamin or supplement, they usually have a standardized amount of EGCG, L-Theanine and other active components. That means you don’t have to wonder if the tea you’re brewing is potent enough to give you maximum benefit.
The most common dosage of extract is 500 mg, taken once a day, usually in the morning. This will provide enough of the useful properties for normal use. For more specific uses, such as when addressing cancer, etc., larger doses are used. If you’re using it this way please consult with a knowledgeable herbalist or alternative medicine practitioner for guidance.
The main caution about drinking green tea or taking the extract is that it contains small amounts of caffeine. So if you are sensitive to caffeine, you should avoid it or at least monitor how it affects you to be sure your experience is a good one. Fortunately, most people don’t seem to have this issue.
Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.