Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Green Tea & Brigitte Mars

Green tea has been used throughout history to improve ailments such as allergies, arteriosclerosis, asthma, cholera, colds, congestion, coughs, depression, diarrhea, digestive infections, dysentery, fatigue, hangovers, hepatitis, migraines, and typhus. Tea helps to constrict the blood vessels, thereby reducing the throbbing pain of an impending headache. In China , medicines made from the polyphenols in tea are used to treat hepatitis, nephritis, and leukemia.

Prevents dental decay by inhibiting the bacteria streptococcus mutans, which are responsible for plaque formation. It can also help inhibit the bacteria that cause halitosis. Green tea is traditionally consumed after a meal to leave the mouth feeling fresh and clean. It is currently being studied to see if it will help prevent osteoporosis.

Green tea is also used topically and in this case is known as a styptic, which helps stop bleeding when applied topically. It has been used lukewarm tea on open wounds, acne, athlete's feet, and sunburn, and appears to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet radiation exposure. Researchers are not yet sure why this works but think it may be due to its antioxidant activity.

Excessive use of green tea can cause nervous irritability and aggravate ulcers, and those with hypertension and insomnia should consider avoiding it.

With so many health benefits, it would be wise for more Americans to consider switching from coffee to tea. I think I'll go brew some tea right now...

Brigitte Mars is an herbalist and nutritional consultant from Boulder , Colorado , who has been working with natural medicine tea leoni for 30 years. She teaches herbology, has a weekly Boulder radio show called Naturally, and is the formulator for UniTea Herbs. She is the author of Elder; Herbs for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails (Keats Publishing), and of a comprehensive CD-ROM on herbs, The Herbal Pharmacy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Green Tea

Today, green tea is getting the majority of the press for its positive effect on health. This is due to the power of its constituents, which include carotenoids, chlorophyll, polysaccharides, fats, vitamins C and E, manganese, potassium and zinc. However, experts agree that it is one type of constituent in particular that provides most of the health benefits. These are polyphenols.

Polyphenols are members of the flavonoid family. They are catechins made of several ringlike structures. Each of these structures has chemicals attached to it called phenol groups, hence the name polyphenols (poly means "many").

Of all three types of tea (green, black, and oolong), green tea contains the most polyphenols: about 15 percent to 30 percent of its weight. The polyphenols in green tea are recognized as anticarcinogenic, and this polyphenol content, along with the naturally occurring vitamin C, helps strengthen blood vessel walls.

Four of these polyphenols are of particular interest: epicatechin (EG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In green tea, about half of the polyphenols are EGCG.

EGCG is a powerful antioxidant and has been found to be 20 times stronger than vitamin E in protecting brain lipids, which are very susceptible to oxidative stress. (Chem Pharm Bulletin 38 [1990]: 1049) In animal studies with mice, ECG has been shown to reduce the rate of lung, skin, and stomach cancer. (Preventative Medicine 21)

Green tea is regarded as an antioxidant. The polyphenols, especially EGCG, prevent free radical damage and have even been found to detoxify free radicals produced by the environmental toxin paraquat. (Carcinogenesis 10 [1989]: 1003)

As a whole, human studies indicate that consuming green tea can lower the rate of esophageal cancer, mouth cancers, and gastric cancers. Recent research indicates that green tea may reduce the risk of some forms of stomach cancer. Surveys of Japanese tea drinkers show that those who consume four to six cups of green tea a day have lower levels of breast, esophageal, liver, lung, and skin cancers than those who consume less green tea or none at all.

At a meeting of the American Chemical Society in 1991, researchers reported that even cigarette smokers who consumed green tea had a 45 percent lower risk of cancer than non-tea drinkers. As an anti-tumor agent, green tea has an anti-mutation factor that helps DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) to reproduce accurately rather than in mutated forms. Green tea's catechin content is believed to be responsible for this effect. Even though Japan has one of the highest rates of smokers in the world, they have one of the lowest rates of lung cancer of any developed nation.

Green tea is a hypotensive, lowering blood pressure and helping to increase blood flow to the heart. Many Asians have long consumed green tea with meals, and this practice is now showing to reduce arterial disease. Many heart attacks are brought on by blood platelet aggregation and green tea prevents the blood from "clumping together" and forming clots that can lead to stroke. One study indicates that 6,000 Japanese women who were nondrinkers and nonsmokers over 40 who drank about five cups of green tea a day had a 50 percent decrease in the risk of stroke. (Natural Health [March/April 1994])

Whereas coffee can elevate cholesterol levels, green tea helps lower them. (HerbalGram 37 [1996]) The catechin content of green tea helps to break down cholesterol and increase its elimination through the bowels. Green tea also helps to keep blood sugar levels moderate.

Contraindications for green tea

Green tea contains caffeine, although usually about 4 times less than coffee. Individuals with conditions which may be complicated by high caffeine intake (including insomnia, depression, and pregnancy) should not add green tea to their diet. People taking the class of antidepressant called MAO inhibitors may want to avoid the caffeine in green tea.

We spend a lot of time researching the internet and we found that the most affordable high quality green tea (in bags) on the internet can be found here Green tea extracts in capsules can be found here
Dentalnotes, Winter 2001 pg 1
Chemoprevention of Oral Cancer by Green Tea; Biochemistry 11/01; Dr.
Hsu, Dr Singh, Fr Lewis, Dr Borke, Dr. Dickinson, Ms Drake, Dr. Caughman, Dr Schuster.
Imai K, et al. Cancer-preventive effects of drinking green tea among
a Japanese population. Prev Med 26(6): 769–775, 1997
Hamilton-Miller JM. Antimicrobial properties of tea (Camellia sinensis
L.). Antimicro Agents Chemother 1995;39(11):2375–77.
You SQ. Study on feasibility of Chinese green tea polyphenols (CTP)
for preventing dental caries. Chin J Stom 1993;28(4):197–199.
Hamilton -Miller JM. Antimicrobial properties of tea (Camellia sinensis
L.). Antimicro Ag Chemo 1995;39(11):2375–2377.
Tea (Camellia sinensis) has a history of mythological proportions, no matter where in the world you look. In the West, the word Thea, which is Greek for "goddess", gives tea its name. In the East, in China , a popular legend has Chinese emperor Shen Nung "discovering" tea when some leaves from a nearby tea bush blew into a pot of water he was boiling for drinking water. In India , ancient legend tells the tale of Siddhartha Guatma, the founder of Buddhism, despairing after falling asleep during meditation. He was so upset with himself that he ripped off his eyelids and threw them to the ground where they rooted and grew into the first tea plant, with the shape of its leaves resembling the eyelid.

Whether you believe any of these stories or not, we do know that the leaves from this evergreen shrub have been consumed for over 4,000 years and that they have always been known for health.

Some historians assert that tea was first consumed in China to flavor water that was boiled to protect people from bacterial contamination. In 1211 a.d., a Japanese monk named Eisai wrote a book called Maintaining Health by Drinking Tea in which he said, "Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health. Tea has the extraordinary power to prolong life. Anywhere a person cultivates tea, long life will follow. In ancient and modern times, tea is an elixir that creates the mountain dwelling immortal." The sixteenth-century European explorers who first tried tea reported that it was used to treat fever, headache, joint pain, and stomachache.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Green tea or green tea extract?

Capsulized extracts of green tea are available, and a typical dosage is 100 to 150 mg 3 times daily of a green tea extract standardized to contain 80% total polyphenols and 50% epigallocatechin gallate. The efficacy of these preparations compared to the consumption of the tea itself is not known at this point.

Green tea is not just beneficial for cancer

Green tea also appears to be beneficial for heart disease: It lowers cholesterol, reduces platelet aggregation (clumping), and lowers blood pressure, all of which may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease.

Evidence is increasing that consumption of green tea may have beneficial effects on prevention of several cancers in addition to oral cancer, including colon, pancreatic and stomach cancer.

Green tea may stimulate the immune system

immune system to help defend the body against bacterial infections, including dental plaque. Green tea has anti-bacterial properties and stimulates the production of immune cells.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Green tea comes in both caffeinated and decaffeinated forms

Oral cancer rates in China are half that of North America
In China, oral cancer rates are 1/2 that of North America, even though smoking rates - a known risk factor for oral cancer are 3 times higher in China. Each year, more than 30,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer, resulting in an estimated 7,800 deaths.
The mouth's oxygen-rich environment connects to several blood vessels which provide a perfect habitat to house oral cancer cells, and in turn allows the cancerous cells to multiply quickly. Ingesting or swishing with green tea introduces the tea's polyphenols to the oral cancer cells lining the mouth. For patients, in order to reap green tea's anticancer benefits, the mouth's mucous lining must be exposed to 4 to 6 cups of green tea a day.