Surprisingly, green tea is obtained from the same plant as black tea, Camellia sinensis. The difference is, green tea leaves are dried and steamed, to optimise antioxidant content. Green tea has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. The shorter processing provides green tea with a much lighter flavour. The season to which the leaves are picked are also vital to green teas health benefits.
The plant originates from China and the Chinese have been consuming green tea for over 3,000 years, with first documented consumption being noted during the reign of Emperor Shennong. Green tea seeds were first brought to Japan during the early 9th Century by Buddhist Monks. The oldest tea producing region is Japan is Uji, located near Kyoto. All commercially produced tea in Japan, is green tea. Most Japanese green teas are blended from leaves grown in different regions.
Apart from having a very high antioxidant content, green tea contains an abundance of a chemical known as, Epigallocatechin gallate or, EGCG for short. EGCG has quite a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial action. In animal studies, it has been proved to inhibit the growth and progression of Helicobactor pylori, a common bacteria that has been linked to contributing to the development of gastritis and stomach ulcers. (1,2)
- Stoicov C; Saffari R; Houghton J. Green tea inhibits Helicobactor growth in vivo and in vitro. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009: 33(5), 473-478
- Jiang J et al. The green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate effectively inhibits Helicobator pylori-induced gastritis in Mongolian gerbils. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015; 9(2): 2479-85