Historical researchers suggests that the practice of boiling tea leaves in water can be traced back five thousand years to China and India, where tea was considered a delicacy. Aside from the social aspect of drinking tea, this drink has also played a large cultural role throughout the Orient, and continues to be popular to day.
Tea is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is indigenous to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
There are three different types of tea – green, oolong and black, which are all produced by the exact same plant, but are processed differently to create different types of tea. Green tea is refers to a drink made from unfermented leaves; oolong tea contains leaves which are partially fermented; and black tea leaves are fully fermented. Green and oolong tea are most common in the Orient, while black tea is used most commonly in the United States and Europe.
Recently, green tea in particular has been studied with regard to its benefits in preventing and lessening the power of certain diseases. It is true that green tea has amazing health benefits, though it certainly is not a substitution for medical care. However, green tea is a popular choice for people who suffer from:
– various types of cancer;
– high cholesterol;
– poor cognition;
– low or inconsistent blood sugar;
– abnormal body temperature; and
– poor digestion.
It has been suggested that the even though the French population is known for the consumption of high-calorie diets, their additional consumption of large quantities of green tea has something to do with their low incidence of heart disease. This is also true for the Japanese population, which has a low incidence of heart disease despite the high usage of tobacco products.
The propensity of health in drinkers of green tea are attributed to the high incidence of polyphenols in the leaves, which are antioxidants that help to relieve the body of free radicals, which can cause all types of diseases. Free radicals are naturally occurring in the body, but are increased due to various environmental situations, such as high pollution or UV light. Black tea contains only around 10% polyphenols because the leaves are fully fermented, while green tea contains a minimum of 30% polyphenols.
It is recommended that adults consume three-to-four cups of green tea each day for maximum effect. In some cases, however, green tea can cause negative effects in people with stomach ulcers, psychological disorders, heart problems and hyperthyroidism. It is also not good for women who are pregnant. Patients who are currently taking antibiotics, blood thinners, chemotherapy and oral contraceptives should also avoid green tea.