Research is showing that L-Theanine is effective in improving anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration and memory loss.
It is likely that the Japanese have been drinking Green Tea for over 5000 years. According to Eisai, who brought Buddhism to Japan in the 12th century and wrote Japan’s first book about tea, green tea is a precious medicine for health and long life. Modern research agrees, with, promising results in research trials happening throughout the world.
So what is Green Tea?
All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, with the type of tea determined by the amount of time the leaves are exposed to air (or oxidized) resulting in distinct types of tea. Green tea is produced from the green leaves before any oxidation has occurred,
The health benefits of Green Tea are connected to two main constituents
- The antioxidants it contains, primarily flavonoids, also known as catechins. These act as powerful preventers of free-radical damage and support overall immune function and stability– particularly against viruses. Research is suggesting that this translates into the capacity to inhibit growth of cancer cells, improve inflammation, allergies, cardiovascular health, cholesterol imbalances and protect the entire body from oxidative damage due to toxins in our environment.
- Tea is the only plant that makes the amino acid L-Theanine, which stimulates alpha brain waves, which are associated with a relaxed but alert mental state – similar to that achieved during meditation. . It is thought likely that L-Theanine increases brain serotonin, dopamine and GABA levels and has affinities for several glutamate receptor subtypes. Research is showing that L-Theanine is effective in improving anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration and memory loss. Interestingly, it is the L-Theanine which balances out the stimulating effects of caffeine contained in green tea.
The concentrations of catechins versus L-Theanine will vary, depending on location, seasonal conditions and when the leaves are picked. High concentrations are found in tea leaves of Ichibancha (the first pick of the year) and in the tea leaves grown in the shade. The location, health and richness of the soil, care during harvesting and processing will also affect the quality of the tea and associated health benefits.
Matcha, the tea used in a Japanese tea ceremony, is a very fine green powder made from the green leaves of tea bushes grown in the shade. It’s the only tea where the leaves are consumed as part of the drink rather than being infused in hot water and the claims therefore, are that the antioxidant content is higher and that it is a particularly rich source of L-Theanine.
Whether you use this or another well-chosen type, to have 1-2 cups of Green Tea a day is a very nice, very easy thing to do and very likely to have significant health benefits, so enjoy!