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Green Tea & Human Health by Dr. Itaro Oguni

The Japanese custom of drinking green tea came from China about 800AD. The use of tea started when Buddhist monks, who had gone to China for study, returned to Japan bringing tea with them as a everyday beverage. Present in daily life from time immemorial, Japanese tea is chosen according to one’s mood and the occasion. Gyokuro is the best and unique premium Japanese green tea, while Bancha is enjoyed with the family after a meal. In the Kamakura era (1191 – 1333), the monk Eisai stressed the beneficial effects of tea in his book “Maintaining Health by Drinking Tea” (1211):

“Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health. Tea has an extraordinary power to prolong life. Anywhere a person cultivates tea, long life will follow. In ancient and modern times, tea is the elixir that creates the mountain-dwelling immortal.”

Green tea has from early times been highly valued as a powerful medication. But in recent years research into the effects of green tea has progressed so far it can now provide scientific confirmation for the legendary saying that “Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health.” It is becoming increasingly clear that green tea has a broad efficacy in preventing disease.

The designation of each type of tea varies according to the part of the leaf used, the region in which it is produced and the production process. In the production process of tea – the leaves are either roasted, fermented or steamed. Apart from herbal teas, all the teas produced come from the same source, the tea tree. The leaves of Japanese green tea are steamed after harvesting, which prevents them from fermenting and changing colour. Oolong tea is made from partly fermented leaves. For black tea the leaves are left completely fermented in the shade until they turn a red colour, then are dried. Japanese green tea is recognised as the most natural of the teas and at one time was used as a natural remedy.

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Gyokuro is the best and unique premium Japanese green tea. Old tea trees are shaded to reduce the effect of photosynthesis. This is a tea with a mild flavor and is of the best and unique quality. It is the only tea leaf that can be eaten.

Once harvested, the leaves are steamed, rolled and then dried. It makes up 80% of premium Japanese green tea.

Genmaicha is obtained by adding Genmai (husked grains of rice) to Bancha. It has the aroma of Genmai and a mild flavor.

Houjicha is a Bancha or Sencha tea that has been roasted. With a distinctive aroma, it is mild to the palate.

The leaves of Matcha keep their shape throughout production and are ground into a powder at the end of the process.

Catechins (Main Component)

Caffeine

Vitamin C

Vitamin B Complex

y-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA)

Flavonoids

Polysaccharides

Fluoride

Vitamin E

Theanine (a kind of amino acid)

Edible per 100g

Green Tea

Water

Protein

Lipid

Saccharinity

Fiber

Ash

Calcium

Phosphoric Acid

Gyokuro

3.1g

29.8g

4.1g

32.7g

11.1g

6.4g

390mg

410mg

Matcha

4.8g

30.7g

5.3g

28.6g

10.0g

7.4g

420mg

350mg

Sencha

4.9g

24.0g

4.6g

35.2g

10.6g

5.4g

440mg

280mg

Fried Tea

5.0g

24.2g

3.5g

35.6g

10.7g

5.5g

490mg

250mg

Bancha

4.4g

19.7g

4.4g

33.5g

19.5g

5.5g

740mg

210mg

Houjicha

2.2g

18.2g

4.8g

39.2g

18.7g

5.5g

490mg

280mg

Genmaicha

2.9g

13.0g

3.4g

62.9g

7.9g

3.1g

270mg

230mg

Fermented Tea

Oolong tea

5.4g

19.4g

2.8g

39.8g

12.4g

5.3g

310mg

230mg

Black tea

6.0g

20.6g

2.5g

32.1g

10.9g

5.2g

470mg

320mg

Rosted Coffee Beans

2.2g

12.6g

16.0g

46.9g

9.0g

4.2g

120mg

170mg

Green Tea

Iron

Sodium

Potassium

Carotene

Vit. A, D

Vit. B1

Vit. B2

B1

Vit. C

Gyokuro

10.4mg

11mg

2 800mg

21.000ug

12 000IU

0.30mg

1.16mg

6.0mg

110mg

Matcha

17.0mg

6mg

2 700mg

29.000ug

16 000IU

0.60mg

1.35mg

4.0mg

60mg

Sencha

20.0mg

3mg

2 200mg

13.000ug

7 200IU

0.35mg

1.40mg

4.0mg

250mg

Fried Tea

24.0mg

4mg

2 200mg

13.000ug

7 200IU

0.35mg

1.80mg

7.0mg

200mg

Bancha

38.0mg

4mg

1 900mg

14.000ug

7 800IU

0.25mg

1.40mg

5.4mg

150mg

Houjicha

12.9mg

6mg

1 900mg

12.000ug

6 700IU

0.10mg

0.82mg

5.6mg

44mg

Genmaicha

10.3mg

6mg

960mg

7.000ug

3 900IU

0.16mg

0.71mg

3.9mg

75mg

Fermented Tea

Oolong tea

32.4mg

7mg

1 800mg

15.000ug

8 300IU

0.13mg

0.86mg

5.7mg

8mg

Black tea

17.4mg

3mg

2 000mg

900ug

500IU

0.10mg

0.80mg

10.0mg

0mg

Rosted Coffee Beans

4.2mg

3mg

2 000mg

0ug

0IU

0mg

0.12mg

3.5mg

0mg

Source: Japan Tea Exporter’s Association