Tea Mail – January 2004
The Big Health News in December
Another busy month, with important news stories breaking almost daily.
Dr Ian Appleton, senior lecturer at New Zealand’s University of Otago pharmacology department, said research he was leading had begun to highlight the neuroprotective effects of catechins, key biologically active compounds in green tea, in the aftermath of strokes.
While international drug companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research, there are still no clinically proven treatments which can prevent a secondary wave of brain damage after the initial stroke. Ironically, green tea could provide the key to a more successful post-stroke neuroprotective therapy than all of the costly man-made drugs considered so far.
Researchers at The Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California have identified ingredients in green and black teas that are potent inhibitors of a family of proteins implicated in many types of cancer, and discovered how these ingredients, called polyphenols, work to prevent the growth of cancer cells. This epidemiological evidence has been supported by “in vitro” laboratory studies, which indicate that green tea and certain black teas prevent cancer. The critical question of “how” consumption of green or black tea might prevent cancer has eluded researchers until now.
Researchers at the University of Rochester have zeroed in on two chemicals in tea that help protect against harmful cigarette smoke. “We did experiments with concentrations that would be present perhaps in one cup of green tea and that was very effective in blocking the effects of these tobacco smoke constituents,” toxicologist Thomas Gasiewicz said.
The researchers tested extracts of green tea on the hydrocarbon (AH) receptor — a key protein that tobacco relies on to cause cancer. Two of the tea’s potent chemical compounds – abbreviated EGCG and EGC — shut down the toxic protein in the cancer cells of mice. Now, there’s some evidence it may work the same in human cells.
But most striking was confirmation from the December issue of the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter ‘Health After 50′, which reports that for the first time there is concrete evidence that certain extracts from black, green or red tea help lower bad cholesterol. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 240 people with elevated cholesterol, all of whom were on low-fat diets, took either a daily capsule containing tea extracts (equivalent to drinking seven cups of high-quality black tea a day) or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those taking the tea capsule lowered their LDL cholesterol by 16 percent, compared with no changes in those taking the placebo.
Morning cuppa good medicine
Research projects have lead to the conclusion that tea could help fight cancer and heart disease. It is also said to slow the ageing process and contribute to weight loss and a healthier immune system. The medicinal properties of tea come from its high level of antioxidants, especially a phytochemical called EGCG. These antioxidants repair cellular damage by neutralising harmful oxygen molecules, called free radicals.
Through comparative diet studies between Chinese and Australian men, Australian researchers discovered that drinking green tea can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Last year the same team uncovered links between green tea and prevention of ovarian cancer. A Dutch study has also revealed that green tea reduces the risk of heart attack.
Time for tea – Take time to rejuvenate with a soothing cup of tea
Some reports say tea appears to reduce the incidence of dental cavities and has shown promise as a weight-loss agent that can promote the burning of fat and help to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Black and oolong teas also seem to have medicinal properties. However, nutritionists warn that medicinal effects of tea are only present in brewed teas. Instant tea and specially made teas for cold-water brewing do not contain the same healthful properties.
As of late, there has been a resurgence of tea popularity. Americans are drinking more tea for healthful reasons, and several teas of foreign origin such as Chai, a spiced milk tea from India, and Taiwanese bubble tea, which contain tapioca pearls for bubbles, have become popular drinks in many areas. Tea manufacturers now offer tea in a wide array of flavors to entice tea drinkers.
Herb Blurb – This year resolve to try some herbal teas
The more popular black and green teas come from the camellia sinensis plant . Whether they are called oolong, ceylon, formosa or assam, they all come from the same plant. So why do they taste different? As with fine wine, there are many variables: 1) The climate in which the tea is grown 2) How and when it is harvested 3) How it is processed or “fermented” 4) How the tea is stored/packaged.
Green tea is unfermented and often sold as a whole leaf. Oolong is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented and usually cut/sifted. Black and green teas carry a similar amount of caffeine, but green teas carry more anti-oxidants and chlorophyll, which help prevent degenerative diseases and cancer.
A true herbal tea is a good source of nutritious vitamins, minerals and protective phytochemicals — not to mention flavor and aroma. So take advantage of what is quickly becoming the energizing, creative and tasty replacement to the “cocktail.” Hot or cold, tea does a body good.
White Tea — Virtually unprocessed. This tea is made from the first new growth leaves that appear on green tea plants in early spring. The leaves are allowed to dry naturally on the plant. This tea is a natural wonder as it is made without much help from man. Prices reflect that it is considered a treasure. And the taste? Like a breath of fresh air!
Green Tea May Combat Arthritis
Dr. Tariq Haqqi of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and his team of researchers used mice to study the effect of polyphenols in rheumatoid arthritis. The mice were given either plain water or water enriched with green tea. The dosages given were comparable to human consumption of four cups of green tea per day.
The study concluded that mice which were fed green tea polyphenols were significantly less susceptible to developing arthritis than the mice not fed green tea. For the mice fed green tea that did develop arthritis, it occurred as a late onset and mild. Only 8 out of 18 mice receiving green tea developed arthritis, while 17 out of 18 mice not receiving green tea developed arthritis.
It is also interesting to note that in some countries such as India, China, and Japan green tea is regarded as healthful with the potential to prevent certain illnesses. Seemingly, rheumatoid arthritis in these countries exists at a much lower rate than elsewhere around the world.
Tea drinkers get health boost
“There are some pretty well-substantiated health benefits, particularly related to the green teas,” said Pat Kendall, a food specialist with Colorado State University. More recent research is finding similar benefits with black and red teas, Kendall added.
All three teas contain antioxidants, which, by reducing cell damage, lower the risks of cancer and heart disease, she said. No such health benefits have been found in coffee, Kendall said. In addition to numerous cancer and heart-disease studies, preliminary research suggests that the ancient beverage might tame bad breath, raise good cholesterol and help with weight loss. And for those leery of the approaching flu and cold season, a recent study found tea effective in warding off those bugs.
GREEN tea may help stroke victims
But although international drug companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research, there are still no clinically proven treatments which can prevent a secondary wave of brain damage after the initial stroke, unless treatment is given almost immediately, scientists say.
Ironically, ordinary green tea, which hundreds of millions of people throughout Asia drink every day, could provide the key to a more successful post-stroke neuroprotective therapy than all of the costly man-made drugs considered so far.
Dr Ian Appleton, a senior lecturer in the University of Otago pharmacology department, said research he was leading had begun to highlight the neuroprotective effects of catechins, key biologically active compounds in green tea, in the aftermath of strokes. There were also promising, but unproven, suggestions that taking green tea could also help prevent strokes.
Yet more top quality Seven Cups teas on the way
December was a hectic month here at Seven Cups, as we add more teas to the range and continue the search for the very best teas from China, the country that has historically produced the very best teas anywhere in the world.
By popular demand, we have added an excellent Fragrant Jade green tea to the Seven Cups range. This superior tea really was quite a find, and is available at a great price.
Two very high grade Tieguanyin oolong teas, Li Li Xiang and Monkey Picked, are now available in our tea selection. Our unique contacts in China have finally paved the way for the finest oolongs to hit the world market, and our generous pricing policy has shattered the myth that teas of this quality are unaffordable.
We now have two incredibly high quality black teas in the Seven Cups range – Yunnan Imperial and Yunnan Golden Palace. Black teas are largely dismissed by tea connoisseurs, with the exception of the very finest examples. After the usual Seven Cups research, we are confident that our two new teas will delight even the most skeptical Tea Master – there are very few, if any, black teas in the world that surpass these two varieties.
Excitingly, we have now added our first six puer cakes to the range. These solid ‘bricks’ of aged tea are traditionally sought out by genuine connoisseurs, and several companies now offer them for sale on-line. However, at Seven Cups we have been typically critical in our tea choices, and have found six of the very best aged puer cakes at unbeatable prices. They are similar, but far superior, to other cakes on the market, and are actually lower priced than many of the inferior products offered by other tea importers.
And there are more varieties on the way! Over the coming months, we will be announcing new white, green and flower teas, as well as the impending arrival of black tea from the original,world famous farm of Lapsang Souchong.
The nature of the Chinese tea exporting system has resulted in the total absence, outside China, of many of the very best teas… until now. Teas of this quality are rightly regarded as the champagnes of the tea world, and we are proud to bring you the best of the best. Subscribe to the Seven Cups Newsletter and be the first to find out when we add more amazing teas to the Seven Cups range.