Seven Cups Poem
The first drink sleekly moistened my lips and throat;
Immortals come down to earth
- Lu Tong, (Master Jade Spring)
Times of drinking tea:
When in idle moments, thoughts confused, biting time to songs, when the music stops, living in seclusion, enjoying scholarly past times, conversing late at night, studying on sunny days, in the bridal chamber, detaining favored guest, playing host to scholar or pretty people, visiting friends returned from far away, in perfect weather, when skies are overcast, watching boats gliding past, mist trees or in the garden, when flowers are in bud and the birds are singing, on hot days, after drunken friends are left, when youngsters have gone out, when viewing temples or scenic rocks.
Tea drinking was popular in ancient China as tea was regarded as one of the seven daily necessities, the others being firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Shanghai tea house
Green Tea and its health benefits have been enjoyed by Asians for many centuries. From early time green tea has been highly valued for its medicinal uses. Studies into the effects of green tea have progressed far in recent years, and scientific research is now confirming 4,000 years of folklore and medical practice in Asia, that green tea is a key element in achieving and maintaining good health. What Asians have known for centuries about drinking green tea can now benefit the entire world.
The health benefits of green tea are varied and wide-ranging. Because its chemical makeup gives positive effects to so many different bodily systems, it makes sense to use green tea to achieve those health benefits.
Recent studies have shown green tea has far greater antioxidant protection than the well-known polyphenols in antioxidant vitamins such as C and E.
Although oxygen is necessary for human life, it can be a harmful agent in the form of active or free radical oxygen. Active oxygen can combine with anything in the body and oxidize it with consequent destruction of cell membranes, damage to DNA, and oxidation of lipids (fats). All of these can lead to cancer.
So how can we prevent all of this unnecessary oxygen? The simple answer is by drinking green tea. The antioxidant properties of green tea have been shown to efficiently scavenge these toxins. Green tea antioxidant activity is particularly important for preventing lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is a factor in the spoilage of oils and fatty constituents of foods. This spoilage often plays a key role in the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque. The antioxidant properties of green tea help prevent this spoilage.
Green Tea and Black Tea both come from the same tea plant (Camelia Sinensis), however in a study comparing green tea to black tea, researchers have found that green tea is 6% more potent as an antioxidant. Michael Murry, M.D. explains this is because "Green tea is produced by lightly steaming the fresh cut black tea leaf. To produce black tea, the leaves are oxidized. During oxidation, many of the polyphenol substances, compounds with potent antioxidant and anticancer properties, are destroyed. Unlike black tea, green tea is very high in polyphenols."
The anticancer effects are the result of green tea polyphenols blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds as well as effectively detoxifying or trapping cancer-causing chemicals.
The forms of cancer that green tea shows the most aid in preventing are cancers of the gastrointestinal tract such as cancer of the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and colon. Also, green tea has shown preventative properties for lung cancer and estrogen-related cancers such as most breast cancers. A report from the National Cancer Institute found that Chinese men and women who drink green tea have a reduced risk of developing esophageal skin cancer.
A very detailed, very technical account of polyphenols and flavonoids appears on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition website.
Cholesterol is usually cited as the 'bad guy' for causing various diseases in adults, but it's a chemical that is naturally present and necessary in our bodies for important processes such as manufacturing cell membranes and fusing cells. But there is 'good' cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol. Researchers found that by drinking green tea the 'bad' cholesterol can be reduced, and tea-drinkers can eat almost twice the foods containing cholesterol as a those who don't drink green tea, but still have an equal cholesterol count.
Blood Pressure Reduction
High blood pressure is know to give the vascular system serious problems and contributes to atherscloerosis. Atherscloerosis will then initiate heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Green tea has been extensively tested and been found to be highly beneficial in lowering blood pressure and aiding the recovery of heart attack victims.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from tooth decay to HIV. In studies green tea has even protected rats from cholera, and has been shown to inhibit the spread of disease. Green tea can aid with relieving influenza or diarrhea.
Reduction of Blood Sugar
About 60 years ago, Dr. Minowada of Kyoto University noticed that sugar in the urine of patients hospitalized for diabetes fell markedly during periods when they participated in a Tea Ceremony. Modern science is studying and confirming this.
Green tea, with its all-important chemical compounds, has also shown many other benefits and potential uses.
Preventing and hastening recovery from colds and flu.
Preventing bad breath (halitosis).
Aiding with the prevention and relief of type-two diabetes.
Blocking key receptors in producing allergic reactions.
Aiding Parkinson's disease sufferers.
Slowing the HIV infection process.
Maintains healthy fluid balance.
Relieves fatigue and stress.
Boosting the immune function of skin cells.
Relieving and preventing arthritis.
Reducing the risk of stroke.
Reducing DNA damage in smokers.
Delaying the signs of ageing.
Improving bone structure.
Preventing dangerous blood-clotting.
Calorie burning - green tea is increasingly being used as part of a healthy diet, as it can play a role in controlling body weight and composition via the activation of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, or both. It works by increasing energy expenditure, and has thermogenic properties which promote fat burning.
There are hundreds of books, magazine articles, scientific papers and reports available covering all of these topics and more, some in great depth. We have selected just a few of the many website articles on the subject of green tea and health, so you can see for yourself some of the wide and varied research currently ongoing in this area.
More specific studies