Green tea is tea that has undergone the least possible oxidation while processing. In case of green tea processing the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (the real tea plant) are steamed and dried while the fermentation process is done away with. For over a thousand years the goodness of green tea has been known in China.
Writings by a Zen priest dating back to 1191 A.D. describing how green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs of the human body, especially the heart, bear testimony to this. The account Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea) further ascribes the following medicinal qualities to tea- easing the effects of alcohol, curing blotchiness, curing indigestion, acting as stimulant, curing beriberi, preventing fatigue, improving urinary function and enhancing brain function and memory capacity. Thus, the book seeks to establish (green) tea as a complete health tonic.
A number of green tea varieties are found in the various provinces of China. The Zhejiang Province is home to the most famous of all teas- the Xi Hu Longjing. There is also Japanese Green tea i.e. tea cultivated, steamed and dried in Japan. The best Japanese green tea hails from the Uji region of Kyoto. Besides, green tea from Sri Lanka (Ceylon), India (Darjeeling and Assam) and Vietnam are also available and greatly esteemed.
There is little difference in the brewing process of the ordinary black or darker teas and that of the green tea. Usually, green tea is brewed using hot water that is at temperatures below boiling point. Boiling water is considered to be too hot and can turn the tea bitter. The 80-90 degree centigrade range is considered appropriate for brewing green tea.
Not only does green tea contain a whole lot of valuable nutrients but also antioxidants. Recent studies carried out indicate that green tea consumption may lower the risk of cancer as well while also serving as a treatment aid for the disease. The green tea has been found to be useful for- enhancing cognitive abilities, stopping of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, treating of arthritis and treating of multiple sclerosis.
It acts towards preventing degradation of cell membranes by neutralizing the spread of free radicals occurring during oxidation. It also LDL cholesterol while increasing fat oxidation (elimination of excess body fat as energy) by the body and raising metabolism. Green tea drinking has been known to have an anti diabetic effect too.
There has now been observed the trend of resorting to green tea for losing weight. Green tea contains Catechins that activate the burning of fat as energy source and help bring about weight loss.
The stress relieving properties of green tea is also being utilized gainfully of late. Consuming several cups of green tea daily can prevent the onset of a number of debilitating conditions and can delay the process of aging. It has been observed that the Japanese people drinking green tea often during the day enjoy a longer life.