Green Tea: Lesson 1 Why Green Tea, EGCG?

The Chinese have claimed for thousands of years, that drinking tea is good for your mental and physical health. But only recently have scientists been able to investigate those claims by isolating the components of tea and putting them to the test in laboratory experiments.

In the 1970’s, scientists began to study a specific group of people living in the Shizouka Prefecture, an area in central Japan where green tea is grown and consumed in great quantities. Epidemiologists noticed that people here had a much lower rate of death from stomach cancer than people living elsewhere in Japan. This low death rate was very significant because stomach cancer was (and still is) the most prevalent form of cancer in Japan.

While studying the people in the Shizouka prefecture, researchers were surprised to discover that, not only did they die less often from stomach cancer; their death rates from all types of cancer were significantly lower.

Naturally, the scientists became both curious and excited. This led to exhaustive studies of the population. The only major difference they could find was the people who lived in the Shizouka Prefecture drank significantly more green tea than people living in areas with higher rates of cancer.

In Japan, nearly everyone drinks green tea. But they really drink it in the Shizouka Prefecture. They sip constantly throughout the day, since acres and acres of tea grow right there, practically in their backyards. The water is always boiling, and fresh tea leaves are added to the teapot often, to refresh the brew.

Researchers have also studied drinkers of black tea, but didn’t see the same dramatic cancer-protective effects as they saw in Shizouka. But, why not they wondered? What did green tea have that black tea didn’t? Catechins. Catechins make up as much as 30% of the dry weight of green tea leaves, but only 3-10% of black tea. So, the scientist went back to their laboratories determined to prove (or disprove) the theory that the catechins in green tea were the miracle substance that could help prevent cancer.

In these laboratory tests, researchers used a scientific process to extract the catechins from green tea and condense them into a powdered form, in order to gain maximum efficiency. This powder was then mixed with food or drinking water or diluted and injected into the skin. Catechins have been tested for years, to research their physiological effects, and the results have been a resounding success.

As you will see in the lessons to come, green tea protects against many of the most dangerous and deadly diseases plaguing humankind today, and no matter how much green tea you drink, there are literally no adverse side effects.

Before we explore the benefits of green tea and EGCG, let’s understand how much green tea we need to take each day.