Elizabeth Heck is an herbalist, writer and educator. She is the founding spirit behind Botanical Home Remedies which offers herbal home remedies courses and educational articles.
The value of drinking green tea goes far beyond flavor alone. I absolutely enjoy the soothing comfort of a tasty warm cup of tea, but green tea is so much more than an enjoyable drink.
As an herbalist and cancer survivor, I have long respected and relied on this plant beverage for its exceptional healing properties. After all, green tea’s recognition for valuable heath benefits has been known throughout history.
Today’s modern research has confirmed this long held belief. University of Maryland Medical Center and Harvard Medical School are just two of the institutions leading research in the healthful effects of drinking green tea. Even my modern medicine-trained oncologist acknowledged it’s powerful healing potential as part of my cancer treatment. But what exactly is it about green tea that makes it so beneficial to our health?
Green tea, which comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, contains several different compounds. Most notably are the polyphenols. Polyphenols act as powerful antioxidants in the body. We need these antioxidants to inhibit free radicals that cause damage to our bodies on a cellular level. Turns out that green tea is extremely high in these polyphenols, in particular, catechins.
Catechins are not only antioxidant, they also help suppress chronic inflammation due to immune, digestive, environmental toxin and stress factors. For these reasons, green tea is held in high regard by medical scientists for its ability to help reduce the effects of aging and age related diseases.
One of the most important areas of study is green tea consumption and outcomes in people with cancer. It has been found to aid the growth of healthy cells while likely destroying cancer cells. Anticancer activity has been shown effective for skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestine, colon and bladder cancers. That is quite a list!
Green tea has also been shown effective for cardiovascular disease helping to prevent atherosclerosis and lower cholesterol. It can even help control blood sugar levels to manage diabetes. While results for these conditions are positive, many studies are still in the works for other additional health benefits of this amazing tea.
Even though green tea does contain caffeine, another compound called theanine produces relaxing effects. More calm in our lives can only add to our overall health and wellbeing.
So how much green tea should you be drinking to enjoy these health benefits? Most experts recommend drinking four to five cups a day. However, even consuming two to three cups a day will have a positive effect. Enjoy it freshly brewed for the best results.