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Green tea.

Author

No Authors Listed.

Date

8/2000

Journal

Altern Med Rev

Abstract

Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world today, second only to water, and its medicinal properties have been widely explored. The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is a member of the Theaceae family, and black, oolong, and green tea are produced from its leaves. It is an evergreen shrub or tree and can grow to heights of 30 feet, but is usually pruned to 2-5 feet for cultivation. The leaves are dark green, alternate and oval, with serrated edges, and the blossoms are white, fragrant, and appear in clusters or singly. Unlike black and oolong tea, green tea production does not involve oxidation of young tea leaves. Green tea is produced from steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures, thereby inactivating the oxidizing enzymes and leaving the polyphenol content intact. The polyphenols found in tea are more commonly known as flavonols or catechins and comprise 30-40 percent of the extractable solids of dried green tea leaves. The main catechins in green tea are epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), with the latter being the highest in concentration. Green tea polyphenols have demonstrated significant antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, thermogenic, probiotic, and antimicrobial properties in numerous human, animal, and in vitro studies.

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