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The Tea of Life

April 15, 2005

I've rediscovered green tea and a wealth of information about it's health benefits, particulars of it's preparation, and the various qualities available.
I once met a couple who cut fine opals for a living. They were old hippies who lived in a junky trailer on the edge of a national forest out in the boonies. Twice a year they flew to China to buy opals and meet with Chinese businessmen who made gem-cutting equipment for them. When I was a newly married bride, my husband took me out to their property to meet them; he had a habit of making odd acquaintances. We sat in the smoke-filled living room of their rundown trailer and listened as they told wild stories and showed us several hundred thousand dollars worth of fine opal beads that they had been working on. The wife asked me if I’d like something to drink, and I hesitated, expecting her to open the fridge and toss me a beer. From behind the Formica countertop, she lifted a beautiful china pot and proceeded to make tea. Ten minutes later, she handed me a tiny china cup with steaming-hot Jasmine Green tea. I had never tasted anything so fine in my whole life. Four years have passed since then, and I still have not succeeded in finding tea like that.
A few months ago I began to search the internet for detox and weight-loss herbs, and rediscovered Green tea. As I began to search, I found a wealth of information about the health benefits of Green tea, the particulars of its preparation, and the various qualities available. The overwhelmingly dominant characteristic of Green tea is its health benefit.
My husband and I both love Jasmine tea (Green tea scented with Jasmine flowers), so we ordered the cheapest Jasmine Green tea in bulk that we could find. It was well worth drinking, but clearly not the stuff of sweet memories. I cannot tell whether there is a difference in health benefits among the various qualities of Green teas, but I gladly pay extra for the flavor alone.
So, not only is Green tea a drink of refinement and beauty, it is a drink of health. You can practically name just about any disease, immune system malfunction, and mystery symptom, and the answer would be (at least in part): “Drink Green tea.” There is far too much information for me to list here, so I will only tempt you with a few of the health facts that I found.

Green Tea is known to help the following conditions:
Cancer – Daily consumption of Green tea is effective, especially in preventing but also treating a wide variety of cancers: Including, bladder, colon, esophagus, pancreas, skin, rectum, respiratory, and stomach). Topical administration of Green tea both prevented and reduced skin tumors in one study.
Leukemia – One study showed that Green tea prompted leukemia cells to die in eight of ten patient samples tested in the laboratory.
Heart Disease – In Japan, researchers found that there were fewer incidents of heart disease among Green tea drinkers.
Blood Pressure – Japanese scientists discovered that Green tea significantly lowers blood pressure and protects against hypertension.
Aging – Researchers believe that Green tea may slow the effects of normal aging and its associated brain regression. According to their study, daily intake of Green tea catechins adds a measurable level of protection to the brain, helping shield it from “irreversible damage due to cerebral ischemia and consequent neurological deficits.” In other words, it will help you stay smart.
Diabetes – Green tea may help to normalize and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Some data suggests that Green tea consumption prevents type II diabetes. In healthy human volunteers, Green tea promoted healthy glucose metabolism. I have always struggled with low blood sugar, and since drinking Green tea, my blood sugar has been completely stable.
Arthritis – The antioxidants in Green tea may also fight inflammation and help prevent arthritis. In one study, mice that were fed Green tea were significantly less susceptible to development of induced arthritis.
Weight loss – Green tea is a natural detox and will help your body flush toxins that break loose with exercise. I drink a large glass of iced Green-Jasmine tea after my daily walk and have noticed that I do not experience muscle soreness, and my weight loss is consistent.
There are a myriad of other health benefits ascribed to Green tea: oral health, headache cure, vision improvement, skin improvement, digestion, etc... The fact is, Green tea will bring your body a general “good health” that may show up in many areas, as well as later on in your “retiring” years.

How do you drink it?
Any way you like. My mom brews it in a coffee pot every morning. She also brews Mint (separately) and Chamomile (separately) and regular Black tea. For a morning drink, the Mint tea can be mixed with the Green tea for a peppy, refreshing drink. For dinnertime, you might drink hot Jasmine Green tea with a little honey, and for a wind-down evening tea, you can add relaxing Chamomile. We drink most of ours chilled.
Many types of green tea come from the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. The different types of tea (e.g. Green tea, Pouchong tea, Oolong tea, Black tea) are the result of differences in the manufacturer’s tea preparation process, and not due to different types of tea plants. Non-fermented and very lightly-fermented (less than 10%) tea is called Green tea. Green tea has a distinct flavor, but readily absorbs or takes on whatever flavor it is mixed with.
I simply fill a wire-mesh strainer with Green tea leaves and pour hot water over them, allowing the tea to brew for 3-5 minutes before lifting out the strainer. After it cools, I put it into the fridge to chill. If you brew Green tea too long, or too strong, it becomes bitter. Rather than becoming overzealous and turn the family against the taste of strong Green tea, it is better to keep it light and pleasant so they will drink it all day long. I even mix it with milk for my toddler’s bottle.  sells a mix called Rise and Shine Tea that includes Green tea. They also sell Green tea, Chamomile, and Mint separately if you would like to make your own mix. We (a family of five) drink 1-2 pounds of dried Jasmine Green tea a month, mostly as an iced tea for dinner and afternoon.

For more information, write to:
1010 Pearl Road
Pleasantville, TN 37033

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