October 20, 2010

Drink to Your Health!!!

Chado-En Tea Docents

And drink lots of it! Green tea of course! We’ve all heard the benefits of drinking green tea.  The drinking of green tea helps reduce many health problems.  According to The Green Tea Book: The Science-Backed Miracle Cure by Dr. Lester Mitscher and Victoria Dolby Toews:   one to two cups of tea daily lowers the risk of severe hardening of the arteries by 46%.  Two cups a day leads to 50% reduction in heart disease in general. Three cups daily lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.  Four cups a day greatly lowers the risk of skin cancer, and five cups a day daily lowers stroke risk by 62% in women and 42% in men, plus reduces the chances of developing breast cancer in women.

In addition, L-theanine represents more than 50% of the amino acids found in green tea.  It remains unaltered only in non-fermented leaves.  L-theanine primes the response of the body’s immune system, specific the gamma-delta T cell.   Some studies show the gamma-delta T cells in the blood to be the first line of defense in the body’s response to fight off many types of bacteria, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.  L-theanine also promotes the formation of the neurotransmitter dopamine and increases alpha-waves in the brain.  Not only does it help relax us, it helps improve memory and works to repair the cranial vascular system in the prevention of dementia.  Green tea is a great stimulant as it is a relaxant.

In addition to all the health benefits, green tea has beauty benefits as well.  It contains polyphenols which are antioxidants and they protect your skin in several ways.  Every day life, with all of the free radicals in the environment damages the collagen and elastin in the skin, which contributes to older looking skin.  The flavonoids in the green tea have been shown to prevent damage to collagen and elastin, keeping the skin stronger, smoother and more elastic. In other words, less wrinkled, which is something we all strive for!  

The list of health benefits of drinking green tea continues to grow and develop as new research is done every day.  Of course the fact that many cultures for thousands of years have used this single plant to improve health and wellness certainly must mean something.  You can view recently published studies by the World Green Tea Association of Japan and the fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health visit the Tea Docents website at www.chadoen.com

Now while I intellectually know all of the benefits of drinking green tea, why haven’t I been drinking more??? The answer, quite simply, is because of the taste.  I find it bitter, and have to add sweetener to be able to drink it.  And I find it much too bitter to be able to drink multiple cups of it daily.  So when I saw that Norma Kamali was going to be presenting at green tea tasting and demo of its uses in personal care at her series of presentations in her wellness café, I had to go!  I was sure that Norma knew something that I didn’t!

I arrive at Norma’s Wellness Café, which will be my home for most Wednesdays for the rest of the year as I follow Norma’s fascinating presentations on Wellness, to find Nez and Donna Tokugawa of Chado-En Tea Docents.  (www.chadoen.com) Donna, dressed very elegant in a Japanese Kimono, is behind the beauty bar with a double-lined glass steeping cup.  There is a stainless steel infuser in the cup and loose tea leaves nearby.  She pours cold water into the tea…..and within a few minutes she hands me a cup of green tea. It is the first time that I’ve ever had room temperature brewed green tea……and it won’t be my last! Absolutely NO bitter taste……smooth, something I could actually drink all day long.  Sweet, cold infused tea.  I was surprised by many different factors of the tea.  The type I tried as Karigane (you can learn about all of the different type teas on their site) it is grown in Kyoto, which has some of the most pristine gardens in the world.  It is certified organic, (and Japan’s standards are probably stricter than our own!)  It was loose leaf, which certainly added to the flavor.  This particular tea is hand sheared by farmers to include not only the leaves but the stems, giving it additional sweetness and more medicinal benefits.  The whole leaf is able to open up which is not only better for the flavor, but it allows all of the properties of the tea to be activated which is better for our health.  Loose leaf teas are also more economical and better for the environment.

I was also surprised to learn that the tea infused was able to be re-used for the remainder of the day.  For those of you worried about caffeine, the bulk of the caffeine is released in its first infusion, so there is less of it around for subsequent infusions. Green teas also have one-third the caffeine of coffee, and it has other natural chemicals that work in conjunction with the caffeine that result in a more relaxed yet alert feeling.  Green tea provides a more even energy boost without the dramatic highs and lows and over stimulating effects that are often associated with caffeine. 

There were also other added benefits to the tea.  Nez used the tea from my first infusion and created a daily skin care kit for me.  He put it in a dish and dropped a blooming mask into the tea.  He unfolded the mask and let it absorb the tea until it was totally saturated.  We then applied the mask to my face for about 15 minutes.  Incredible! The caffeine works to tighten my skin, and it was left amazingly soft.  We also bottled the rest of the tea from my brewing which I can use as a spritz for the remainder of the day.  I now start my days with Karigane, and love the fact that I am able to achieve the synergistic effect of health and beauty from within and on the surface of my skin to nourish, heal and rejuvenate.

Once you have brewed and enjoyed the benefits of the tea, try some of the uses to extract even more benefits from your used leaves.  It works in the kitchen to keep the refrigerator smelling fresh and can be used to clean cutting boards, remove smells from hands, and condition pots and pans.  The tannin reacts with iron and will take away rust.  Well drained leaves can be spread on hard wood floors and swept.  They can be tied in rag and used to polish furniture.  They can be used to keep shoes fresh and odor free. They can be used in the garden. In addition to being compost material, they also ward off pesky pests.  Who knew there were so many uses!

Be sure to check out Chado-En, it will change how you view green tea forever!

Watch the video on the home page at www.itsaglamthing.com

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