The Chinese king Tang Xuan Zong of the Zang dynasty asked a monk who was more than 130 years old, “How could you live so long? Did you take any medicine for that?” The monk answered, “Drank tea daily, no thing else.” Thus goes the legend.
China is the largest producer of Green tea, while Japan and Korea also contribute considerably. Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, Camellia sinensis. What makes it different though is the manner in which the plant is processed. It is the least processed of the commercial teas. The leaves are picked and then immediately ‘fired’ — a tea processing term, which means the leaves are either steamed or heated. The leaves are then dried. This process also helps retain the antioxidants that retard the aging process in human beings.
Our body use Oxygen and simultaneously produce free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin cells and cause the skin to wrinkle and lose elasticity. Antioxidants are molecules that help neutralize these free radicals. The antioxidant benefits of Green Tea come from a biological compound called polyphenols. A sub-group of polyphenols called catechins effectively destroy free radicals and help slow down the aging process. The most powerful of these catechins in green tea is the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). When an antioxidant meets a free radical, it engulfs the free radical to form weak, harmless free radicals that are unlikely to further damage your body.
In one study healthy cells exposed to “amlyoid”, a protein linked to Alzheimer ‘s disease died due to the high toxicity of this protein. However, cells exposed to amlyoid and then exposed to green tea extracts containing catechins survived.
It is said that a daily dosage of 300-400 mg of polyphenols is essential to reduce age spots, ensure flawless skin and to protect the skin from the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. Green tea is a natural astringent and anti-bacterial agent that can detoxify and purify the skin. Green tea extracts, when applied topically or when consumed as a beverage also reduces the risk of skin cancer (melanoma). According to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, benzol peroxide used in acne medications, when applied on the skin can cause skin tumors. Applying green tea topically to the same area prior to the application of benzol peroxide protects against such skin tumors.
A range of cosmetic and beauty care products including body lotion, shampoos, conditioners, face creams are out in the market today with green tea extracts. Tea Tree Oil, a tree native to Australia, is also being largely used in anti-aging cosmetic products. The leaves of this plant Melaleuca alternifolia, was used by Australian aboriginals as a substitute to tea leaves. It is used to treat several skin diseases.