Green Tea Magic
By Vera Tweed
This ancient elixir thwarts aging and illness.

All things “green” are favored today, but green tea got a head start nearly 5,000 years ago when ancient civilizations began to recognize its therapeutic properties and delicate taste. And ever since, it’s been helping people around the world to increase stamina and keep all manner of health hazards at bay, including Father Time.

Long ago, only the wealthy elite of China could afford the medicinal tea, brewing it with leaves freshly plucked from their gardens. By the 15th century, green tea was more broadly available, and on long sea passages, provided China’s sailors with sufficient vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

Fast-forward to the present to find more than 3,000 published studies examining the various healing constituents of the greenish beverage. Chief among these is EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the most active and well studied of numerous antioxidants in green tea, and one which is sometimes extracted and used as a separate ingredient in supplement and skin care products.

Drinks and Supplements
Studies have demonstrated multiple benefits of drinking green tea or taking an extract, including protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, gum disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, age-related mental decline, and some cancers; improved resistance to the flu; less likelihood of blood clots; improved recovery after a heart attack; improved blood pressure; better blood sugar control among diabetics; and better results from diet-and-exercise programs for weight loss.

One study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked green tea consumption and health among more than 40,000 people in Japan for 11 years. Compared to those who drank less than one cup of green tea daily, men and women who drank five or more cups per day were less likely to die prematurely from any cause, including the following:

Skin Care
According to researchers, green tea used topically on skin has antiaging, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiacne effects. The antioxidants in green tea fight aging by inhibiting the depletion of collagen from skin, thereby helping to prevent sagging and wrinkles; they also reduce inflammation. In a study presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Dermatology, a cream with a concentrated green tea extract improved rosacea by 70 percent.

Green tea also shields against damage from the sun’s UV rays. When used in a sunscreen or applied on the skin right after sun exposure, antioxidants in green tea enhance the skin’s natural defense mechanisms and inhibit oxidation, inflammation, and cancer development, according to research published in Experimental Dermatology and other journals. Green tea is not a replacement for sunscreen, but according to research published in Skin Therapy Letter, it does reduce the number of sunburn cells.

Shopping Guide
Green tea is available as tea leaves, in tea bags, bottled drinks, nutrition bars, and other foods; as an extract in supplements; and as an ingredient in skin creams, lotions, and sunscreens.

For health benefits, three or more cups of green tea daily is recommended, with or without caffeine. For green tea extract supplements, the amount taken is most often equivalent to 80 to 120 mg of polyphenols and 50 to 75 mg of EGCG, three times daily.

Use skin care products with green tea daily, especially during and after sun exposure. For blemishes, puffy eyes, inflamed or sunburned skin and cuts, scrapes or bites, apply green tea directly with a cotton pad soaked in the brew.

Brewing Basics
Let water barely boil and allow to cool slightly before brewing, as green tea requires a cooler temperature than black tea. Steep for 30 seconds to one minute, unless a specific variety requires longer brewing. For iced tea, double the usual amount of tea, brew, and allow to cool before pouring over ice cubes. To vary flavor, brew with slices of lemon or ginger and add a touch of honey or agave syrup.

Product Examples

Nature’s Answer Natural Green Tea Energy with Yerba Maté energize in minutes with no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

Irwin Naturals Oolong & Matcha Tea combines four varieties of teas and traditional Asian herbs to help you burn excess calories.

The Crystal Essence Chamomile & Green Tea Mineral Deodorant Roll-On by French Transit combines the soothing qualities of chamomile with the powerful antioxidants of green tea.

Pure & Basic Green Tea Naturals Extra Cleansing Liquid Hand Soap uses 100 percent vegetarian ingredients, and is free from parabens and glycol.

Get green tea antioxidants by adding just a few drops of HerbaSway HerbaGreen Tea Concentrate to any beverage. This blend is sweetened with stevia and lo han.


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