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Green Tea: An Oriental Panacea Revived

March 19, 2004


A medicinal beverage in Asia for almost 4000 years, green tea is creating a splash in Western society recently. The humble tea leaves belie a bittersweet taste, delicate texture and unique aroma that give rise to a wide array of health benefits.

History

Green tea has been a traditional drink in Japan for over a thousand years, originating in 2737BC as Emperor Shen Nung caught the freshest aroma when some leaves accidentally fell into his cup of simmering water. This royal discovery led to a rich store of wonderful stories passed down from generation to generation, of wonderful health and vitality bestowed upon all of those who drank this beverage.

By Nur Syahid

Ecology

Most teas are harvested from camellia sinensis, a native Asian plant that thrives on high altitudes, rich mineral soils and warm climate. To harvest tea leaves of exceptional quality, the bush is constantly pruned to bring forth an abundance of tender shiny leaves and pure white petals.

There are about 33 types of green tea worldwide and, depending on the region, tea garden and harvest process, each tea emanates its own unique taste.

Compared to its relatives, black tea and oolong tea, which undergo complex processing, green tea stands out in its purity. Immediately after harvesting, green tea leaves are fried or lightly steamed to prevent oxidation and destroy enzymes that would otherwise ferment the health-enhancing polyphenols.

Health Notes

The wondrous benefits of green tea extend way beyond its popular conception of detoxifying and deceleration of the aging process. Packed with polyphenols, catechin, fluoride, manganese, potassium, minerals and vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E, green tea brims with goodness for whoever consumes it.

Polyphenols or flavonoids are natural chemicals found in plants. As one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, polyphenols scavenge the destructive free radicals in the body and have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

Catechin, which gives green tea its bittersweet taste, helps eliminate food poisoning pathogens, reduces allergic reactions, balances cholesterol levels, prevents cold and promotes good immunity.

Fluoride, naturally found in tea, is renowned for its ability to promote good dental health and retards the onset of cavities. To add on to this repertoire, green tea also aids in digestion, reduces phlegm, improves eyesight and enhances mental prowess. As green tea is spreading its wide-ranging benefits throughout the world, Bel’Air has also spearheaded the first-ever green tea essential oil, giving a modern twist to an ancient panacea. As green tea increases the rate of metabolism and burns off more calories, this innovative product has also worked wonders as a slimming aid for many of our users.

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