Green Tea | Black Tea - Very Useful Herb for Many Health Problems

Green tea, black tea

Camellia sinensis Theaceae Also called Tea plant.


Originating in China and India, tea is still a vitally important crop in both countries. Black and green tea are both prepared from the same plant - the leaves are simply cured in different ways. The shrub can reach a height if 10m but it is normally clipped to just 1m.Tea flowers are white and sweet smelling;fruits are round capsules.


Parts used

  • Leaves
  • The leaves, gathered all year round, usually by hand, are used to make green or black tea.
  • The topmost leaves are more aromatic; just the leaf bud and two adjacent young leaves are picked.
  • Black tea is fermented; green tea is gently steamed - and its active constituents are stronger.
  • Tea is drunk as an infusion, either on its own or blended with other plants such as mint or lemon.
  • Tea leaf is used in pharmaceutical preparations including powders and extracts.

Constituents

The main active constituent of both green and black teas is caffeine, which has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Tea contains phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins. However, the fermentation process alters the polyphenols in black tea, and green tea appears to be the more medicinally powerful.


Medicinal uses

Tea leaves have been used for thousands of years to make a thirstquenching infusion and a medicinal beverage. In traditional Chinese medicine, green tea is prescribed for a wide range of ailments including headaches, depression and fatigue. It is also reputed to prolong life.


Recent research has focused on the cancer-fighting potential of green tea. Several animal studies have found that antioxidant polyphenols in green tea inhibit various cancers particularly those of the prostate, pancreas, colon and rectum. These antioxidant compounds work by blocking the formation of cancer causing compounds such as nitrosamines, suppressing the activation of carcinogens and neutralising cancer-causing agents.


The stimulant and diuretic effects of both green and black teas are largely due their caffeine content. The stimulant action makes tea a good remedy for nervous exhaustion; its diuretic effect is a useful complement for peoplefollowing weight loss programmes. Tea is also antibacterial, and its tannins make it an effective remedy for treating diarrhea.


A cooled infusion of tea can be applied externally to soothe tired eyes and skin inflammation; in 2002 American research confirmed that tea pigments have anti-inflammatory properties


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT nervous exhaustion, excess weight
INFUSION Put 1 teaspoon of black or green tea into a cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 2 cups a day.


CAPSULES (375mg green tea extract) Take 2 capsules in the morning and 2 at lunchtime.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation?

This tropical plant grows best in warm humid climates and in Britain would need to be cultivated in a heated greenhouse.


CAUTIONS

Drinking tea in the evening may induce insomnia.


A large intake of tea can cause constipation, indigestion and agitation, due to excess caffeine.


Pregnant women are advised to limit their intake of tea to two or three cups a day.



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