Green Tea: Benefits and Myths

green-tea-benefits-myths

Green Tea: Benefits and Myths

Green tea; the botanical name ‘Camellia sinensis,’ an ancient herbal medicine first used in China. With a thousand years of health healing history, it is still now a very familiar drink worldwide. During processing, green tea undergoes minimal oxidation and fermentation.

Parts of Camellia sinensis used as green tea:

  1. Leaf bud
  2. Leaf
  3. Stem

Manufactured as-

  1. Bottled and sweated with artificial sweetener
  2. In Single tea bags
  3. Loose leaf
  4. Instant powder form

 

Main ingredients with their mechanism of action:

1. Polyphenols: All act as potent antioxidants.

  • Flavonoids
  • Catechins
  • Epigallocatechin Gallate

 2. Caffeine: Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter Adenosine, which is inhibitory to nerves.

 3. Amino acid:

  • L-theanine: It acts as a stimulator to inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and also serves as an antioxidant.

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Usage or usefulness of green tea as traditional medicine:

1. In the cardiovascular system:

It helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and act as a potent antioxidant. LDL or low-density lipid is oxidized and plays a significant role in the development of some cardiac issues such as acute heart attack or heart failure. This antioxidant prevents the oxidation of LDL and prevents cardiac problems.

2. Controlling hypertension:

Increased blood cholesterol levels and obesity are two major risk factors to develop hypertension or high blood pressure. Green tea (Catechins) reduces cholesterol and triglyceride level in the blood and helps in weight loss, and prevents developing and control high blood pressure. It also prevents dizziness and orthostatic hypotension in older people.

3. In brain function:

It causes the improvement of memory.

It prevents coagulation in cerebral vessels and delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and helps in the improvement of Parkinson’s disease.

Caffeine is a brain stimulator and helps in freshness. It improves moods and memory. It also enhances responsiveness too. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1356551)  and (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1572S.long)

Adenosine Improve brain function

Amino acid L-thiamine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulates neurotransmitter GABA, acts as an anxiolytic and cures chronic fatigue syndrome.

It affects reducing the headache.

4. Controls and prevents type 2 Diabetes:

Green tea can increase insulin sensitivity and control of type-2 diabetes. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23803878 )

It also has a preventive effect on developing type-2 diabetes. It reduces about 42% risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

5. Boosts our immunity:

It helps to boost our immunity. Its polyphenols reduce inflammation and reduce swelling. It prevents different viral infections like Human Papilloma Virus and prevents cervical dyspepsia. It also prevents influenza virus infection.

It acts as a bactericidal and prevents infections.

6. As an anti-cancer medication:

Several studies show that green tea has a strong inhibitory effect on cancer cell growth. Catechins and Epigallocatechin Gallate decrease cancer cell growth in a sustained way.

It prevents

It also has a positive effect on the lungs, gastric, and skin cancer prevention.

7. Gastrointestinal effects:

Green tea is beneficial for the treatment of abdominal disturbance and reduces vomiting and diarrhoea. It is also used in Crohn’s disease for symptom relief.

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8. As a weight loss supplement:

Green tea is used to reduce weight. Though it doesn’t affect rapidly, Catechins causes increased metabolism of fat and fat burn. It also reduces cholesterol and triglyceride level in the blood.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326618)

Caffeine causes stimulation of cells and increases metabolism and calorie consumption. Ultimately body weight reduces. But some study shows no effect on weight loss and some shows opposite. (http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/292/1/R77)

9. Effects on the kidney:

It prevents renal stones and improves kidney function.

10. Prevent skin damage:

It is used to improve skin complexion and cleanliness. FDA approved a cream made from green tea extract used in the genital wart.

 

There are many more good effects of green tea like it prevent osteoporosis, relieves stress, etc. and act as a breath freshener!

 

Effects of green tea on pregnancy and lactation:

It is not established either it has any good or bad effects during pregnancy and lactation. But it should be avoided during pregnancy. It may cause harm to the fetus.

 

Side effects of green tea:

  • In anaemia, it may worsen the disease.
  • In an anxiety disordered patient, it may worsen the symptom.
  • Caffeine increases bleeding tendency. It should not be used by patients who are already taking blood thinners.
  • Arrhythmia of the heart may develop by excess taking of green tea.
  • Sometimes, it causes diarrhoea, and worse, the symptom of IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)
  • It may cause glaucoma to our eye and may do injury to our liver.
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Some myths of green tea-

‘Adding milk with green tea can cause damage to our body.’

It is wrong. But adding milk may impair its efficacy on our body. Milk will reduce its absorption in our gastrointestinal tract. (http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/8617188)

‘It can cause allergic reactions'

Yes. If you are allergic to any herbal product, please use it cautiously. If any allergic reaction occurs, stop taking green tea and consult with a doctor.

‘Green tea causes dehydration.’

No. It will rehydrate you.

‘Magic toy of weight loss.’

Wrong. It may reduce your weight, but not in a dramatic way. If you take other measures of weight loss, it may act as an additive to them.

Green tea, traditional medicine, and a healthy drink have many good effects. We can start a habit of taking 4-5 cups of green tea daily.

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Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin

 

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