Any natural ingredient that has a 4,000 year history of treating a wide variety of ailments is worth knowing more about. Green tea falls right into that category. In fact, Chinese people have been touting the benefits of green tea since the first Dynasty and earlier.
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Although green tea has been a "folklore medicine" for all of that time, recent scientific research into the curing properties of green tea indicates that there is something there after all.
As early as 1994 an article published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that a regular diet that included green tea could reduce the risks of esophageal cancer by as much as 60%. The study found that certain compounds found in green tea tended to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. As a side benefit, green tea was also shown to reduce total cholesterol levels and increase the ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The Chinese already knew that and they also believe that green tea is an effective remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and certain immune deficiencies.
So, what's in green tea that's so good?
Apparently it's the fact that green tea is high in an anti-oxidant known as "epigallocatechin gallate" , or EGCG for short.
Clinical tests show that EGCG not only inhibits the growth of new cancer cells, but it kills some existing cancer cells without harming normal cells. EGCG also reportedly inhibits the unnatural formation of blood clots which have been known to cause thrombosis, one of the leading causes of heart attacks and stroke.
Green tea and black tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant yet only green tea has been found to have these medicinal properties. Researchers believe this is because green tea is manufactured using a process where the tea-producing plant's leaves are steamed instead of being fermented like the other varieties. This steaming process leaves the EGCG compounds undamaged. The fermenting process, on the other hand, converts the EGCG into an inert substance which loses its medicinal properties.
Well, the good news is that there isn't any bad news other than the fact that green tea contains caffeine which may or may not be something that you want in your body. The caffeine count is substantially lower than coffee and other teas, however, and the benefits of drinking green tea seem to greatly outweigh the side effects of caffeine; at least for most people.
How much green tea is right for you?
That depends upon who you listen to. Some Chinese homeopathic health practitioners call for 10 cups a day, while some health researchers say that 2 to 3 cups will do the trick. When you look at all of the varying research, and take the average, 4 to 5 eight ounce cups of green tea per day should be good enough for most people.
If you don't like drinking green tea, or find the process of brewing green tea to be more that you are willing to go through 4 to 5 times per day, there are companies who produce "Green Tea Capsules" which contain doses of EGCG.
It's been said that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Since no one has found any instances of "death by green tea", it certainly can't do you any harm (and it just might do you some good), to introduce green tea into your life.