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Green Tea

( Camellia sinensis )

 

Family

Theaceae

 

Synonyms

Tea

 

Character

Antioxidant

 

Description

The tea family includes some thirty genera and 500 species indigenous to warm tropical regions throughout the world. This particular variety is considered the most significant commercial species of tea and is widely used in China.

 

Phytochemistry

Catechins ( epogallocatechin ), gallate, polyphenols, tannins, triterpene saponins, acids, sterols, beta-amyrin, ethereal oils

 

Traditional rain forest use

Several relatives of green tea are used by cultures native to tropical regions of South America. Used for millennia, green tea is rich in bioflavonoids and has a high content of polyphenols. The Taiwanos boil the flowers of the Bonnetia variety for chest pains and to reduce leg swelling. The Kubeos have used Neotatea varieties of tea to render them with ritualistic powers and they often pulverize the plant flowers to use as snuff.

 

Modern medicinal applications

Green tea is typically used today as an antioxidant, for digestive upsets, and to relieve respiratory infections.

 

Authentication

Recent studies of green tea extract have found that one of its primary compounds can inhibit the influenza virus and can also block the action of various carcinogenic substances such as ultraviolet light. It has also been found to protect the cardiovascular system from high cholesterol intake and to lower blood pressure in laboratory animals. Pathogenic bacteria which causes food poisoning has also been inhibited by green tea, a fact which may explain its traditional use for digestive ailments. Green tea also has the unique ability to increase the production of friendly bacteria in the bowel and to block the action of mouth bacteria linked to the development of cavities. It is also thought to reduce the development of stomach cancer.

 

Safety

No adverse effects have been found to date and green tea is considered nontoxic. However, anyone who has an irregular heartbeat, is pregnant or nursing or suffers from gastric ulcers should avoid this herb.

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