articlemostwanted - Camellia sinensis or Tea is second only to water as the world’s most popular beverage. Using the dried leaves of Camellia sinensis to brew a steaming, soothing drink is an activity that has been going on for thousands of years. Tea’s species name, sinensis, is a reference to China, where both this bushy shrub and tea culture got their start. Precisely when that occurred, however, is unclear, as tea’s historical origins are intertwined with considerable legend and myth. According to one of those legends, the fabled Chinese emperor Shen Nong took the first sip of tea by chance in 2737 B.C. when dried leaves of the tea bush accidentally fell into a pot of boiling water, tinting it a light brown and transforming it into a refreshing drink. By the 4th century Chinese texts consistently mentioned tea in their pages, and within several hundred years it had become the national drink. Tea spread from China to Japan in the 12th century. The Dutch East India Company took the first tea to Europe in the early 1600s. Tea drinking soon became firmly entrenched in England and its North American colonies, where struggles over tea’s taxation and control of its trade helped ignite the American Revolution.
Heart health Cholesterol
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
There are numerous health benefits to drinking tea. Even though black and green tea come from the same plant, much of the current press revolves around green tea, mainly because it contains more of the polyphenol compounds credited with many medicinal benefits. Polyphenols are strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and are thought to combat atherosclerosis, to increase HDL, or good, cholesterol, and to thin the blood slightly. Some research has shown a decrease in risk of stroke or heart attack in people who drink 5 or more cups of green tea daily.
Tea also contains small amounts of caffeine and theophylline, compounds with a stimulating effect. The combined effect of these and polyphenols may help people to lose weight by shifting metabolism and burning fat. One study in 240 overweight people in Japan showed that a green tea extract lowered body weight and fat mass over a 3-month period.
Green tea also is thought to be beneficial in cancer prevention. Those who regularly drink green tea may have lower rates of some cancers, such as breast or colorectal cancer.
How to Use
Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon tea leaves in a cup of hot water (steeping time depends partly on desired strength). For weight loss, weight-loss maintenance, and cancer and heart attack prevention, 4 to 6 cups daily may be necessary. Decaffeinated products are an option and provide most medicinal benefits; however, caffeine and theophylline are part of how tea helps with weight loss. Adding milk to tea may decrease the absorption of polyphenols; the most medicinally effective cup of tea is made with just water and tea leaf, perhaps with a bit of sweetener to taste.
Capsules: Capsules of dried tea leaves standardized to polyphenol content are available; generally, dosage is 500 mg once or twice daily.
There are few problems with tea. Some people feel restless and anxious as a result of the caffeine. Green tea extracts have been associated with a few reports of liver toxicity.
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