Matcha comes in several grades that aren’t officially regulated, but the most important distinction is between ceremonial and culinary grade matcha. Ceremonial grade is made from the youngest, most tender tea leaves and is smooth and fine in texture. Use it when you’re planning to drink pure, unadulterated matcha or a top-notch latte. Culinary matcha is a less expensive and made from comparatively older leaves. It is best for baking, cooking, or making blended drinks where the matcha flavor is not imperative. (“Premium” or “select” matcha is somewhere in between the two major grades, and you can find organic versions of matcha in each category.)
Ginger Root, the underground stem, or rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale, has been used in many herbal traditions since ancient times. In Ayurveda, Ginger is known as the wonder herb, and it's no wonder, since Ayurveda employs Ginger for a wide variety of health applications, including digestive support. Historically, Ginger Root was also one of the most respected herbs for supporting joint health. Additionally, Ginger Root has been traditionally used to support healthy peripheral circulation; and can aid in warming up cold hands and feet, and will also promote sweating when needed.
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The oldest tea producing region in Japan is Uji, located near the former capital of Kyoto. It is thought that seeds sent by Eisai were planted in Uji, becoming the basis of the tea industry there. Today, Japan's most expensive premium teas are still grown in Uji. The largest tea producing area today is Shizuoka Prefecture, which accounts for 40% of total Japanese sencha production. Other major tea producing regions include the island of Kyushu and the prefectures of Shiga, Gifu, and Saitama in central Honshu.
A stone mill consists of two granite parts, with a slight opening in the middle called "Fukumi." The tea is funneled in from the top, filling in this small space, and pushed out gradually. Though each stone mill can only grind up to 30-40g of Matcha per hour (that's approximately one tin), only these mills made of granite are able to preserve the color, flavor, and nutritional components of Matcha.
In one study, daily consumption of green tea was correlated with a lower risk of death from any cause; an increase of one cup of green tea per day was linked with a 4% lower risk of death from any cause. A separate analysis found that an increase of three cups of tea or green tea per day was associated with a small lower risk of total mortality in Asians and women.
It depends not only on the processing method the tea producers use, but also on the cultivation practices the tea growers use. What time of year is the tea plucked? How is the plant pruned? What parts of the plant are plucked? Are the plants treated with chemicals or are they organically grown? What kind of heat is applied to the tea leaves to stop oxidation? How are the tea leaves shaped, rolled and dried? Are the leaves left whole or cut in smaller pieces?
One-1/2 teaspoon serving of matcha, no more than once daily, is certainly a valuable addition to any diet, says Zeitlin. Like with another substance currently having a moment, turmeric, you can get your dose by eating or drinking it, though Zeitlin says drinking it as a tea, how it was initially intended, provides all the benefits without the added calories.
"Drink tea if you enjoy it, in moderation, and not because you're taking it as a medicine," says Dr. Sesso. Stirring in a little sugar is fine, but if you add a few heaping teaspoons of sugar, you're probably canceling out tea's possible benefits, he notes. And beware of the sugar found in many bottled teas, some of which contain as much as nine teaspoons of sugar per serving—almost as much as colas and other soft drinks. Check bottled tea labels and choose only pure, unadulterated tea—or save money and brew your own at home.
A juniper berry is not a true berry, but is a seed cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales that give it a berry-like appearance. Used as a spice in European cuisine, juniper berry has been used in traditional herbal medicine to support kidney and urinary tract function, as well as to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. The essential oil can be stimulating to the kidneys. The warming and bitter properties support digestion and can soothe intestinal gas. Juniper berry can also be warming for the joints.
Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at www.MedicineHunter.com
According to science, matcha is something of a miracle supplement. For one, it makes you feel good. One recent study examined the effects of the phytochemicals in green tea on mood and cognition. The combo of caffeine (present in most green teas) and L-theanine, an amino acid found in some teas, were found to “improve performance in attention-switching tasks and alertness, but to a lesser extent than caffeine alone,” partly because of how L-theanine chills you out.
Flavan-3-ols, the type of flavonoids found in green tea and other teas, provide many of the anti-aging effects of green tea. Catechins in various types of teas are the polyphenols that seem to have the most potent antioxidant effects, according to Natural Standard, the leading and most respected reviewer of herbal compounds. Specific flavan-3-ols found in green tea include monomers (catechins) called:
As everyday impurities find their way into our bodies, we may be left feeling tired or out of balance. Yogi DeTox tea combines time-honored cleansing herbs Burdock and Dandelion with Juniper Berry and an Ayurvedic blend called “trikatu” (Ginger, Black Pepper and Long Pepper), traditionally used to support digestion and circulation. Indian Sarsaparilla, Licorice, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Clove round out this delicious blend for a perfectly spiced tea. As part of an overall wellness program, Yogi DeTox tea helps bring healthy balance from within.*
Red rooibos tea is an excellent thirst quencher and does wonders for athletes, hyperactive children, and those who travel often, whether for pleasure or business. Most people prefer to brew red rooibos loose leaf tea in its natural form without using any sweeteners. For those who simply want a refreshing drink, caffeine-free rooibos tea is an ideal choice.
The next morning, I had a bagel and one daily tea, as instructed. I felt my stomach become uneasy as most stomachs do when they’re working their “digestive magic.” Suddenly, the worst cramp of my life hit me out of nowhere. It was the sharpest PANG I’ve ever felt as it made its way from my stomach to my chest. As a reflex, I jumped up. That’s when I felt another wave of pain and swiftly made my way to the restroom.
Some herbalists claim that tea bag compresses speed up the healing of a black eye. To reap the full benefits of green tea and calm puffy tissues, take two wet green tea bags, place them on tired or swollen eyes, and lie down for 15 to 20 minutes as the tea soothes and refreshes. Did you know black tea bags can also reduce puffy eyes? Here are more black tea benefits you never read before.
In January 2015, we wrote about the rapid rise of matcha on the American beverage landscape and posed the question, “Have we reached maximum matcha saturation?” Three years later, we're living amid matcha croissants, matcha custard pie, matcha face masks, matcha lifestyle guides and $50 cups of matcha itself. Clearly, the answer was "No." But what is this powder we're whisking into green lattes, baking into doughnuts, blending into smoothies, and adding to our fish fillets?
There are mixed opinions about how much green tea one should consume. The reality is one cup of green tea isn’t enough to affect your health. Some believe 2 cups of green tea will show benefits while others say 5. Some people say up to 10 cups is ideal but if you’re concerned about spending a lot of time in the bathroom you can add a green tea supplement to your diet.
It’s important to point out that while it might be very beneficial, drinking green tea alone likely won’t improve your life span or protect you from disease. Research suggests that a combination of lifestyle components account for the health benefits observed in people that drink tea. The problem with many studies that investigate the effects of green tea is that they are population studies rather than controlled clinical studies, according to the Mayo Clinic. In many of these studies, other lifestyle factors and habits besides drinking green tea are not well-controlled, so it’s difficult to draw conclusions. Overall, studies have found a great number of health benefits of green tea, especially as it relates to anti-aging, but the bottom line is that the quality of your overall diet is really what’s most important.
On this episode of Consumed, host and Eater Drinks editor Kat Odell looks into the matcha production process — how it differs from that of more traditional steeped green tea, and how two of New York's noted matcha purveyors (Ippodo Tea Company and Matchabar) are working with the product today. Watch the video above for a lesson in powdered green tea; if your interest is piqued, check this map for the best places to drink matcha across the country, and these recipes for making iced matcha drinks at home, perfect for the summer.