Green tea leaves have long been used throughout Asia as medicine for poor digestion, body aches and pains, headaches and general improved well being.
Very little processing is required to produce green tea. In most cases the leaves are dried immediately after harvesting or briefly treated with steam prior to drying. There are a few types of tea that are also lightly roasted. Because of this minimal processing, the leaves keep their green color and more importantly they keep the very valuable ingredients that contribute to their healing properties. Green tea leaves contain caffeine, tannins, essential oils, proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as fluoride, zinc and potassium.
Green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed by the body to protect cells from free radicals (unstable molecules found in our cells). Too much free radical damage, over time, could lead to diseases which includes cancer. As part of our regular cell processing, antioxidants attach themselves to free radicals and this results in the neutralization these molecules. Drinking green tea regularly has been linked (via loads of research) with the prevention of cancer; it lowers the risk high blood cholesterol, harmful blood clotting and stroke.
Green tea is very good for arthritis sufferers because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
The caffeine in green tea has an invigorating effect and it promotes concentration.
Green tea is also antibacterial and the trace element fluorine helps to fight tooth decay. Just one cup of tea a day will be beneficial in the prevention of decay. Green tea is also ideal after dinner as a palette cleanser.
Many Naturopaths recommend green tea to cleanse the body. It is a useful addition to all types of detoxification diets. It contains no calories, no carbs and is referred to as the 'fat eater' in China due to its cholesterol-lowering properties.
Green tea is an excellent thirst quencher. It is enjoyed at any time of the day and is also delicious hot or cold. Try it with a squeeze of lemon, over ice for a very refreshing drink.
Usual Preparation of The Tea: Use one level teaspoon of tea leaves per cup. Boil your water and then let the water sit for a couple of minutes - to cool slightly. Boil to 70 degrees Celsius if you have one of those fancy kettles. Pour the water over the tea and leave the tea to brew.
Brewing the tea for 2-3 minutes will give you a mild tasting but highly stimulating tea.
Brewing the tea for 4-6 minutes yields a less stimulating and stronger tasting tea.
Special Note: The caffeine in green tea can cause heart palpitations in extra sensitive people. To reduce the amount of caffeine in your tea, put one teaspoon of leaves in your cup, pour a little bit of hot water over it and allow it to stand for 30 seconds then strain. Now use the leaves to prepare your tea as usual.