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Green Tea VS. Black Tea

Black, Green or Herbal?

First cultivated in China nearly 5,000 years ago, tea is consumed in greater quantity worldwide than any other beverage except water. The beverage is made from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, which is native to India and perhaps parts of China and Japan.

Black, green and oolong teas are all made from this plant but differ in their methods of preparation. All tea leaves are withered, rolled and heated, but black teas go through an oxidative process known as fermentation before the final heating process. Oolong teas are partially fermented.

Herbal teas are not derived from Camellia sinensis, but from the leaves, bark, roots, seeds and flowers of other plants. These teas have not been associated with the many healing benefits related to black and green teas.

Source: Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; Tea Association, Tea Council and Specialty Tea Registry (STAR)

Green Tea
Natural Remedy

What is green tea?

Green tea comes from a large shrub with evergreen leaves. The shrub is native to eastern Asia. It has leathery, dark green leaves and fragrant, white flowers. The dried, cured leaves have been used to prepare brewed drinks for more than 4000 years.

Green tea and black tea come from the same plant, but green tea leaves are less processed than black tea. (Black tea is fermented but green tea is not.) Green tea retains many chemicals of the fresh leaf.

The scientific name for green tea is Camellia sinensis. Common names include green tea and Chinese tea.

What is green tea used for?

Green tea is said to have effects that are antimicrobial (fights bacteria), antimutagenic (prevents mutation of bacteria), and antioxidant (helps reduce harmful chemicals in the body).

Green tea is thought to:

  • Reduce the risk of cancer and other fatal diseases.
  • Lower lipid (cholesterol/fat) blood levels.
  • Help prevent dental cavities.
  • Treat stomach problems (such as diarrhea and vomiting).

How is green tea taken?

Green tea can be drunk, or it can be swallowed in the form of a tablet or capsule. An active ingredient of green tea used in the tablets or capsules is called epigallocatechin. Follow the directions printed on the product label.

What are the side effects?

Side effects are possible in people who have sensitive stomachs. Heartburn, stomach irritation, loss of appetite, and diarrhea could result from drinking large amounts of green tea.

Green tea has caffeine in it, which could cause side effects such as:

  • nervousness
  • insomnia
  • a need to urinate more often
  • an increase in blood pressure
  • an increase in your heart rate.

What precautions are there?

  • If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breast-feeding, avoid drinking green tea because the caffeine it contains may be harmful to the baby.
  • If you have a weakened cardiovascular system (heart and circulatory system), kidney disease, or abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone, you should not take green tea without the approval of your doctor.
  • If you are prone to spasms or have certain psychic disorders (such as panicky states of anxiety), you should not use green tea without the approval of your doctor.
  • Green tea may worsen asthma.
  • Green tea may decrease the effect of warfarin (Coumadin). If you are taking this medicine, talk to your doctor before taking green tea.
  • If you are being treated for a medical condition (especially if you are taking prescription medicine), you should get the approval of your doctor before taking any natural remedy.
  • Some natural remedies have the same effects as prescription medicines. This means there is a danger of being overmedicated. If you have any unusual effects while taking any natural remedy, get advice from a doctor right away.

Remember when taking any natural remedy:

  • "Natural" does not always mean safe.
  • Natural remedies and prescription medicines may interact.
  • Lack of standardization may result in products with different strengths and effects.
  • Lack of quality control may allow contamination of products.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should get the approval of your doctor before taking any natural remedy.
  • Follow dosage recommendations on the package. Do not increase dosages.
  • Do not use natural remedies for long periods of time without advice from your doctor.
  • If you have any questions about any natural remedy, ask your doctor.
  • Infants, children, and the elderly should not use natural remedies without advice from a health care professional.

Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

The information included here is based on information found in scientific journals, study reports, news releases, and other publications. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy and complete nature of the information. Nothing herein should be interpreted as a recommendation by the author or publisher for the use of any natural remedy.


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