Green tea is a beverage made from the Camelia sinensis plant, a shrub native to Southern China that has been used through time for its many attributed benefits. It is of major cultural importance in Asia where it is known as China’s National Drink. Both India and China have incorporated green tea in their complementary medicine practices for supporting digestion, cardiovascular and mental health among others. In the last decade alone, there have been numerous studies that have endorsed green tea’s diverse applications in promoting health. These studies have also ushered in a newfound appreciation for green tea in the West.
As a botanical therapy, green tea can be used as a hot beverage a few times a day or as a supplement that is standardised to polyphenols. One cup of green tea, in addition to polyphenols, also contains alkaloids such as caffeine although not in as large amounts as in coffee. Although it is safe when consumed regularly, the presence of caffeine in green tea can create side effects if it is over-consumed. It is interesting to note that the Chinese originally consumed green tea as a powder (matcha) and with time, transitioned into steeping the loose leaves. Its evolution of use in recent times has paralleled some exciting scientific findings. This article will discuss the applications of green tea therapeutically in weight loss and as an adjunctive treatment for cancer.
WEIGHT LOSS: One recent double-blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial of 115 women with central obesity, who had taken 857mg of EGCG for 12 weeks had significant weight loss, a decrease in BMI and reduced waist circumference. Blood work also showed a decrease in total cholesterol and in LDL (low-density lipoproteins). There were no side effects or adverse events.
CANCER: Green tea has been reported to be protective against several types of cancers, including osteosarcoma, leukemia, skin, breast, prostate, esophageal, stomach, colorectal, pancreatic, lung, cervical and bladder cancer. Green tea is composed of catechins, which are polyphenolic flavonoid-derived compounds that have been found to inhibit cancer growth.
We always suggest seeking the advice of your Naturopathic Doctor prior to making any modifications regarding your health, as every individual is unique.