Short of your laundry, it seems that there’s very little that green tea doesn’t do. But what is this miracle liquid, and where does it come from? Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant– the same glossy-leaved bush that graces us with black, white and oolong teas, and a close relative of the blooming camellias that are a staple of local landscaping. Green tea leaves are picked, steamed and dried without much further processing, which is why they have higher levels of beneficial compounds, including the antioxidant polyphenols and catechins, as compared to the fermented or roasted black and oolong teas. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a medical doctor specializing in holistic therapies, these are just some of of green tea’s amazing capabilities:
- Lowers cholesterol levels and rates of heart disease
- Helps protect against bacterial infections
- Promotes joint health and stronger bones
- Reduces inflammation
- Enhances the effects of antibiotics, even against drug-resistant bacteria and “superbugs”
Who could ask for anything more?
[alert type=”notice”] Try substituting green tea for coffee in your daily routine– one of the Roza daughters tried this, and found that she got sick about half as often as she had before![/alert]
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I know what you may be thinking: maybe you don’t like the taste of green tea, or think you don’t. Fortunately for you, green tea comes in many different varieties. My first suggestion is to make an investment in your health and enjoyment, and try a high-quality Japanese green tea, like a bancha or sencha. Tea drinking is taken very seriously in Japan, where there are innumerable, subtly different varieties and a near-sacred ritual surrounding its consumption. In any case, they know what they’re doing, and it shows in the tea. I recommend buying a good quality loose tea, not one in bags; try your local health food store. Open the airtight jar in which bulk tea should be stored. Take a look at the tea– is it dark green? Does it smell fragrant? Do you see dried leaves, or some twiggy particles that look like they were swept off of the tea factory floor? You want an aromatic, deep green tea, not something that looks like hay. Buy 50 or 100 grams to see if you like this tea, and take it home for a test run.
Brew the tea with very hot water– the water should be just off the boil as you empty it into the pot or mug, and the tea should be in the brewing container before the water is poured over it. This is so that the water is really hot when it hits the tea, and more flavorful and aromatic compounds will dissolve. Steep for two or three minutes, and taste the tea as it brews, to determine how strong you like it. Remove the leaves after about three minutes (if you leave them in too long the tea can get rather bitter), and sip your tea. Enjoy better health and a pleasant tea-drinking experience!
As a final note, we would like to express our condolences to the families of the more than 11,000 people killed in the recent Japanese disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.