The botanical name of the green tea plant is camellia sinensis. The same plant is used for black teas, but the leaves undergo minimal oxidation during processing in order to create the green varieties. Even though they are all derived from the same plant, the tea's flavor may vary greatly depending on the growing conditions, the harvesting time and the processing used. The caffeine and catechin contents vary, for the same reasons.
Catechins are antioxidants. They are the components of the leaves that have received a great deal of attention from scientific researchers. Most of the research has been done in the area of cancer prevention or treatment, but how catechins can reduce the risk of heart disease is a popular area of study, as well.
According to what we know now, catechins from the green tea plant are beneficial for people with type II diabetes, unhealthy cholesterol levels, anxiety, metabolic disorders, trouble losing weight, arthritis, poor circulation and viral infections. This wide range of benefits is due primarily to the catechins antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, but some of the plant's pharmacological activity has yet to be fully explained.
The only warning is for people that are about to undergo surgery. They should avoid drinking the tea or taking a supplement, because of the anti-coagulant activity. Anti-coagulants reduce the risk of blood clots by preventing blood platelet aggregation. In other words, the catechins prevent the platelets from sticking together. Recovery from many types of surgery relies on the patients' ability to form a clot to stop bleeding.
The green tea plant is not the only one that contains catechins. It is also found in some varieties of the cocoa plant. The presence of these and other antioxidants in plants that are common in specific areas of the world may explain the health and longevity of people native to that area. That's what many researchers believe.
Until recently, green tea drinking was popular in the Eastern World, but black teas were more popular in the West. The incidence of heart disease and cancer is lower in the East than it is in the West. Researchers do not believe that is a coincidence. They believe that it has to do with dietary patterns common to these areas. The interest in the green tea plant came about as a result of examining the typical Japanese diet, as the incidence of heart disease and cancer is low in Japan.
Health experts rarely agree on anything, but one thing that most agree on is the importance of increasing your intake of antioxidants and other nutrients, without increasing your caloric intake. The easiest way to do that is with supplementation. Of course, not all supplements are created equal.
To get the best value for your money, look for one that contains basic vitamins and minerals, in the most readily absorbable form, along with amino acids, trace elements, co-factors and herbal extracts. Other than extracts from the green tea plant, look for turmeric, too. The antioxidants in turmeric are even more amazing. Visit my website to discover the supplements I recommend for you now.