The finely ground, bright emerald-green tea powder we’re going to present to you today is called matcha or maccha. It is a natural, organic green tea and has been the heart of the famous Japanese tea ceremony for over 900 years.
Matcha originated in China in the IX century. It was used as a drug for the treatment of various ailments. But, its word somehow got elapsed in China. It was the Zen Buddhist monks from Japan who realized its true potential at the end of the XII century.
Matcha is harvested by hand to ensure selection of youngest and smallest leaves for the finest quality tea. Leaves used for matcha are briefly steamed to protect them from oxidation and preserve its flavor and nutritional content unlike other green teas.
Matcha is being prized in Japan numerous years, but, recently this miraculous powder has been gaining recognition in the western world because of its unique flavor and remarkable therapeutic qualities.
Energy + Calm
The process of shading and harvesting increases the content of L-Theanine which is an amino acid that helps the balance of caffeine, which makes matcha tea very unique. Matcha may contain the same caffeine as other types of tea, but the L-Theanine is known to create calmness without drowsiness.
The high concentration of antioxidants is another benefit of matcha. According to one study, matcha has 137 times the polyphenols (notably, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)) than regular green tea! This type of green tea actually contains over 60x the antioxidants of spinach and 7x the antioxidants of high-quality dark chocolate.
Some evidence claims that these polyphenols may have a protective effect against some types of cancer.
EGCG, which can be found in high concentrations in matcha, has been shown to increase the rate of burning stored fat as energy, but it also decreases the formation of new fat cells. According to other studies, the catechins in matcha increase the body’s rate of calorie burning each day and offer additional fat burning benefit during exercise.
A 2011 study performed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the catechins in green tea had a significant effect on lowering the LDL cholesterol. A Cochrane review from 2013 also showed that regular green tea consumption was associated with lower blood pressure, as well as a decreased risk of stroke.
The L-Theanine in green tea is known to help in the stimulation of alpha brain waves. These waves are known for their ability to help increase focus and concentration.
An increased amount of chlorophyll is created by the process of shading the matcha leaves, which some preliminary research has shown may help the body eliminate heavy metals and other harmful build-ups. This area still lacks research, but numerous alternative doctors recommend chlorophyll for this purpose precisely.
Skin health may be also helped to support by reducing inflammation and free radicals that accelerate skin aging by the same antioxidants that make green tea protective, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Matcha helps the prevention of cancer attributing to the presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which possesses chemo-preventive properties.
Protection against HIV
The epigallocatechin present in matcha is also efficient in the prevention of HIV. The consumption of matcha tea may also help in protecting the brain of HIV patients. This defensive act is attributed to the penetration power of epigallocatechin through the blood brain barriers which is not feasible for the commercially available anti-retroviral drugs.
A Word of Caution!
Matcha is a healthy green tea which clearly possesses multi-dimensional benefits. But, you should know that it contains some amount of caffeine that may trigger allergic reactions in some people who are easily susceptible. Allergic reactions often include diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Caffeine can also cause drug interactions based on the amount consumed. If you haven’t used matcha before and are unaware of its sensitivities, you should ensure natural vigilance while trying it for the first time. Always consult a doctor so that you can understand matcha better before you even consider trying matcha tea for therapeutic purposes. Women who are pregnant or are in the process of lactation should be extra careful.