Green tea,

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 with 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 very powerful antioxidants.

  • Flavonoids
  • Catechins
  • Epigallocatechin Gallate

 2. Caffeine: Caffaine blocks neurotransmitter Adenosin, which is inhibitory to nerves.

 3. Amino acid:

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

 

Usage or usefulness as traditional medicine:

1. In cardiovascular system:

It helps to lower blood cholesterol level and act as a strong antioxidant. LDL or low density lipid is oxidized and do a major role in the development of certain cardiac problems such as acute heart attack or heart failure. This antioxidant prevents oxidation of LDL and prevents cardiac problems.

2. Controlling hypertension:

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

3. In brain function:

It causes improvement of memory.

It prevents coagulate formation in cerebral vessels and delayed onset of Alzheimer’s disease and helps in improvement of Parkinson’s disease.

Caffeine is a brain stimulator and helps in freshness. It improves moods and memory. It also improves 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 has effect on reducing the headache.

4. Controls and prevents type 2 Diabetes:

Green tea can increase insulin sensitivity and control 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 reduces swelling. It prevents different viral infections like Human Pappiloma 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 sustain way.

It prevents

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

7. Gastrointestinal effects:

Green tea is very helpful for treatment of abdominal disturbance and reduces vomiting and diarrhea. It also used in Crohn’s disease to symptom relieve.

8. As a weight loss supplement:

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

Caffeine causes stimulation of cells and increase 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 kidney:

It prevents renal stone 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 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 on pregnancy and lactation:

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

 

Side effects of green tea:

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

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, a traditional medicine and a healthy drink, has many good effects. We can start a habit to take 4-5 cup of green tea daily.

 

Dr. Hasan Ebna Amin


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