Learn the Herbs: Matcha

Matcha green tea has experienced immense popularity in the past few years. It may have initially emerged as a new trend in the health and wellness industry, but it has now transcended the fad status and known as a superfood/beverage. And rightly so!

Several research studies have confirmed that the bright green colored and earthy flavored Matcha tea is packed with powerful health beneficial compounds. Before we dig into the properties and uses of Matcha, let’s briefly discuss where does Matcha come from and how it is different from regular green tea.

Where Does Matcha Come From?

Matcha comes from the same plant all teas come from, i.e. Camellia Sinensis. However, the plants cultivated to make Matcha are grown a little differently than those grown for other teas.

Camellia plants grown for Matcha are covered with shade about 3 to 4 weeks before harvest, to protect them from direct sunlight. This leads to the overproduction of chlorophyll, which gives Matcha its bright green color, and an increase in the concentration of L-theanine, an amino acid believed to give Matcha its rich umami flavor.

How is Matcha Green Tea Made?

The leaves of these specially-grown Camellia plants are hand-picked, steamed, dried, deveined, and destemmed.

The traditional method calls for grinding these dried leaves in mortar and pestle. However, they have been replaced by machines in the commercial industry.

Chemical Composition of Matcha

Matcha green tea contains the following major chemical compounds:

  • Polyphenols
  • Theanine
  • Chlorophyll
  • Catechins
  • Caffeine[1]

A Brief History of Matcha’s Use

Matcha may have gained worldwide popularity only recently, but it has been a vital part of East Asian culture for centuries. Matcha made its debut around 1,000 years ago, 7th century, in China. The traditional Chinese method of preparing Matcha was brought to Japan during the 11th/12thcentury, by a Buddhist monk. Japanese have been drinking Matcha green tea ever since. Even the name Matcha comes from Japanese – “Ma” means “ground or rubbed” and “cha” means “tea.”

Health Benefits of Matcha

Matcha green tea can offer a wide range of health benefits. Some of them are as follows:

·       It HelpsPrevent and Fight Against Free Radical Damage

The role of free radical in cell damage and development of various chronic diseases have long been established.

Matcha green tea is rich in Catechins – a class of flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants. It is also the best condensed source of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a type of Catechin[2] and gives Matcha many of its antioxidant benefits. A research study showed that Matcha contains up to 137 times more catechins than other teas.[3]

Simply put, Matcha green tea is one of the best natural sources of antioxidants that help prevent and fight against free radical damage and lower the risk of many chronic diseases.

Antioxidants are also known to be beneficial for the heart, brain, immune system, and skin.

·       It Helps Calm Nerves

As mentioned above, the special growing method used for tea plants cultivated to make Matcha lead to a significant increase in the concentration of L-theanine in tea leaves.

L-theanine is an amino acid that has been found to increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA by crossing the blood-brain barrier. This, in turn, can help calm nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, and induce relaxation.[4]

Research has also shown that L-theanine can help you relax without making you feel tired or drowsy. It does so by increasing the frequency of alpha waves in the brain.[5]

·       Improves Brain Function

Many research studies have found evidence that various chemical compounds present in Matcha green tea can help boost brain function.

Research shows that Matcha causes an improvement in attention, reaction time, and memory.[6] A small research study also showed that the daily consumption of a small amount of Matcha can help improve brain function in the elderly.[7]

These effects are primarily associated with caffeine and L-theanine; the concentrations of both are higher in Matcha than regular green tea.

L-theaninenot only promotes alertness, but also helps prevent the crash that generally follows caffeine consumption.

Conclusion

The benefits of Matcha have been long known. The tea had been an integral part of the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony throughout history. It was also widely used by the monks during their meditation sessions to promote alertness yet stay calm. Even though it has gained worldwide popularity only recently, it has been widely studied by scientists. Research has also confirmed many of its acclaimed benefits, so there is no point in not making it a part of your daily routine.

Experience the incredible benefits of Matcha with our pure and organic Matcha green tea tincture that offers greater versatility than standard Matcha powder.

 

 

References: 

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/

[3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14518774/

[4]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224499000448, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182482/, https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jphs/105/2/105_2_211/_article

[5]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18296328/

[6]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28784536/

[7]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25268837/

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