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                                                                           Seven Cups Poem                                

               The first drink sleekly moistened my lips and throat; 
The second banished all my loneliness;       
The third expelled the dullness from my mind,
            Inducing inspirations born from all the books I've read;
The fourth broke me out in light perspiration,
                          Disbursing a lifetime's troubles through my pores.                       
The fifth drink bathed every atom of my being.
      The sixth lifted me higher to kinship with Immortals.
The seventh is the utmost I can drink - 
A light breeze jets out from under my arms and 
Master Jade Spring is who rides upon this breeze
       To some place whereupon tasting cakes of Imperial tea 

Immortals come down to earth
           Guarded by their divinity, of course, from wind and rain.

- Lu Tong, (Master Jade Spring)
Taoist recluse and "tea fanatic"

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.

  Antioxidant

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.

  Cancer Prevention

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 Reduction

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.

 

Other benefits

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.

Preventing osteoporosis.

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.

  Further Reading

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.

General information

The British Tea Council's Tea & Health Facts is one of the best sources of accurate on-line information. For balanced, in-depth articles on the various health aspects of green tea, including hundreds of references to further reading, see their comprehensive Fact Sheets. They are all printable as .pdf files.

An unbiased overview by the American Cancer Society of the health benefits of tea-drinking, including many references to further reading and research.

The Google Green Tea News Search gives links to all the latest stories and updates mentioning green tea - note: not all links are actually relevant to green tea and health!

  More specific studies

An article by Science Daily, which summarizes recent research that the chemical compounds epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC) suggest that "green tea's ability to fight cancer is even more potent and varied than scientists suspected". The findings, by scientists at the University of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center, appear in 'Chemical Research in Toxicology', published by the American Chemical Society.

The Hometown Channel's report on the compound methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea which blocks key receptors in producing allergic reactions.

A report by CNN Health on the findings of a study, published in the American Heart Association's journal 'Circulation', of the recovery success over four years of 1,900 heart attack victims. The research, undertaken by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, reports the survival rate of tea drinkers (who consume two or more cups a day) is increased by 44%, and up to 28% for less frequent tea drinkers.

The BBC has featured many health reports extolling the virtues of tea-drinking. These include reports of the cancer prevention properties (April 2002 and August 2003), arthritis-fighting properties, bone-strengthening, heart disease benefits and prevention of Parkinson's disease.

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