Is Green Tea an Herbal Tea?

Green tea, like black and oolong varieties, is made with leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal tea differs significantly in that it typically uses herbs, flowers, roots, seeds or spices not related to Camellia sinensis as its base ingredient. Herbal tea has become increasingly popular due to its numerous health benefits as well as vibrant flavors.

Green tea is a drink, while herbal teas are infusions of non-tea plants used medicinally for centuries. Unlike green tea, herbal tea does not contain caffeine and many people drink it for various reasons such as weight loss, anxiety, insomnia and heart disease. Sales have seen tremendous growth over the last several years in the US and there is evidence supporting its many claimed benefits.

Scientific studies have established that green tea polyphenols help protect cells against free radical damage by stimulating antioxidant enzymes and increasing energy production in cells. Furthermore, green tea polyphenols also have antibacterial and anticarcinogenic properties while other chemicals like alkaloids and amino acid compounds contain stimulant effects which may aid weight loss. A 2021 study linked tea consumption with reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases especially among smokers.

Studies conducted both clinically and laboratory have confirmed that green tea’s primary polyphenol, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can protect against skin cancer by supporting cell proliferation that blocks UVB radiation that causes sunburns and skin cancer. One such study demonstrated that regular green tea drinkers had much reduced risks of skin cancer than nondrinkers.

Green tea has been shown to exert a profound impact on metabolic processes in both the liver and gut, particularly for diabetics and those living with cardiovascular conditions. It helps break down fat more effectively, clears out toxic substances from your system faster, manages blood sugar more effectively in diabetics, lowers levels of fats in blood, improves digestion and enhances immunity – as well as helping prevent inflammation disorders and alleviate their severity – such as constipation symptoms.

Studies have also demonstrated that regular tea consumption reduces the risks of some cancers, such as prostate and ovarian. Green tea’s EGCG has been linked with reduced breast cancer risks; and may provide protection from lung, colorectal, esophageal, gastric cancers as well as pancreatic cancers.

Though moderate consumption of green tea is generally considered safe, drinking too much may interfere with iron absorption and should be avoided by women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, infants and young children. People with liver, kidney or heart conditions should consult with their healthcare provider before drinking green tea; and avoid mixing it with stimulant beverages like coffee, guarana or ephedra (ma huang), which have stimulating effects on the central nervous system – such combinations could result in low blood pressure or heart rate that is potentially life threatening.

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