Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, which is native to China (from the 10th century BC) and South East Asia. It is now cultivated in many other tropical or sub-tropical regions, and the leaves are used to make numerous variations of a wonderful beverage loosely referred to as “tea”.
Different teas, including white, yellow, green, black oolong and pu-erh, are a result of processing techniques, and subsequently to different levels of oxidation. Once tea leaves are picked they are usually left out in the sun to become slightly wilted. The leaves are then rolled to break open their tissue. The inner chemicals react with the air and begin to ferment. During the fermentation, the leaves darken and change from green to red and finally to black. After the fermenting is complete, the leaves are dried and then packaged.
Green tea, however, is dried, but not wilted, and it doesn’t go through enzymatic oxidation, which the tea industry calls fermentation. Black tea is wilted and also fully oxidised, whereas the process to make oolong tea is somewhere between the two: it is wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized.
The taste of green tea is often described as light and grassy, while black tea usually has a stronger, sweeter taste.
Tea contains more than 700 chemicals, including flavonoids, polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides with antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-radiation properties. It has also cooling and astringent properties, due to its tannin content.
Tea also prevents dental cavities due to the presence of fluorine, and helps to normalise blood pressure. It is also good for lipid depressing activity (for reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol), and the prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing blood-glucose levels. Tea also possesses anti-bacterial activities against various gram-positive and gram-negative human pathogenic bacteria.
Green tea is particularly good for your health, as it contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which cannot be found anywhere else. EGCG has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that may help prevent the development and growth of skin tumors.
Green Tea is one of many special ingredients in some Inlight products that contribute to their unique natural potency. The Organic Firm & Tone Oil, for example partly owes its toning and astringent properties to the inclusion of Green Tea.
So here’s to the fantastic, health giving ingredient, Green Tea: cheers!
Dr Mariano Spiezia
Inlight Organic Skincare