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Related to camellia sinensis: Camellia japonica
An evergreen with an endless supply of tea! Use the young new leaves. Either boil the leaves for 15 seconds or freeze them for 30 minutes, then dry them for later use as tea. Green tea is very high in antioxidants that help protect cholesterol in blood from oxidating and forming free radicals. Green tea is a better antioxidant than either oolong or black tea. These are actually all the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference is that green tea is unfermented. Oolong is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented. The fermentation process destroys many of the antioxidant polyphenols. White tea, is are also from the C. sinensis plant, but contains the baby leaf buds. Green tea is known for its anti-cancer properties from the antioxidant and antiviral nature of the polyphenols. Green tea also helps with weight loss due to both the xanthines (caffeine, theophylline, theobromine) that act as thermogenics (increases temperature through the increased burning of body fat) and suppresses appetite. Also contains theanine, which has calming action on the body and counters the stimulant action of the tiny amount of caffeine in the plant. Take green tea by itself because it contains substances that can render other herbs or medications useless to the body, including what you eat. Green tea can hinder the absorption of nutrients into the body. Contains tiny amount of flouride, so take a break once in a while. An alternative antioxidant tea to consider is red tea (rooibos, honey bush)...a mild, slightly sweet tea with antioxidant properties 30 times greater than green tea, and very low in polyphenols, so it will not interfere with other herbs or medications. Rooibos is also anti-cancer.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz