More Green Tea Benefits and Uses

In Asian countries like China, Japan and India, green tea is held in high esteem. It is a brew thought to purify the body, delight the senses and lift the spirits.

For at least fifteen years, medical researchers around the world have been looking at green tea. Studies in Japan have showed lowered rates of lung cancer, stomach cancer and skin tumors, and lowered blood cholesterol among people who drink green tea every day. Although black and oolong tea also contain some of the same preventive compounds, green tea is thought to contain the highest and most effective levels.

Men who drink at least 10 cups of green tea a day have lower cholesterol and may be less likely to suffer from heart disease, according to a Japanese study. The findings lend support to previous test tube and animal studies that suggest chemicals in green tea may ward off heart disease. The association between green tea and serum total cholesterol implies that green tea may act preventively against cardiovascular disease.

Researchers interviewed 1,371 men over the age of 40, and took their blood samples. Average cholesterol levels were about 183 among those who drank at least 10 cups of green tea a day compared to 194 among those who drank less than four cups a day. Researchers said the difference was big enough to suggest a health benefit from green tea.

Green tea also contains vitamin C; the amount varies depending on the type of leaf, but the average in two small cups of brewed tea is nearly equal to that in a cup of orange juice. In Asia, green tea was originally used by Zen monks to keep awake during long periods of meditation. A mild stimulant, it contains less caffeine than black tea and half the caffeine of coffee.

Green tea also apparently has antibacterial qualities, which were discovered 5,000 years ago by the Chinese, who used it to purify drinking water. The tea, which contains substantial amounts of fluoride, is also being studied in both US and Asia as a preventative for dental plaque.

"Green tea has no known toxicity, so it's certainly not going to hurt you and it may very well help you," said Dr. Hasan Muzaffar of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In laboratory tests on animals, Dr. Muzaffar, a specialist in skin cancer, has found that green tea might help prevent or cure skin cancer.

For delicious green tea extracts, see:
Green Tea Extracts

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Stress Free Holidays

This year I'm torn on what to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas. On the one hand I'm obligated to spend with my family, but would also like to entertain my friends who have no family in the area.

I've always tried to be a good guest when visiting friends and family and here are a few other ways on How to Be a Heavenly Houseguest over the holidays.

After all the holidays are about spending time with family and friends and hopefully about letting things go from past family rifts and looking forward to the year ahead.

Here is what I try to do to de-stress if I am a guest or entertaining:

  1. Plan ahead - This seems so obvious and is rarely implemented. Start months in advanced if you can. Who will be attending or where will you be headed? What is on the menu and what are you expected to bring? Will there be activites or just a lot of visiting and preparing food?

    Make lists and prioritorize. Arrange appropriately: Thinks that must be done, things that can be put off, items that can be delegated or even omitted.

    Don't make more work for yourself than you have to. Plan your work and work your plan!
  2. Schedule down time - Bring or offer something to read. If you are a crafter bring your knitting, crochet or needlework. Use early morning or going to bed for time to journal about things you are thankful for.

    Research and have a traditional tea time and offer snacks. Plan out a night cap. It's perfectly acceptable to bring a bottle of wine, port, gourmet coffee or tea and even treats like cookies or a cake. In advanced ask your host if it will be appropriate and maybe plan out an hour which everyone can have a sit down and unwind.
  3. Go for a walk together or alone - Exercise is one of the best ways to destress!

    Get out of the house for awhile and escape the family rukus or connect with a family member or friend on a liesurely stroll.

Make the holidays pleasant for everyone and make it a Thanksgiving or Christmas for everyone to remember.

Japanese Tea Ceremony - Still an Important Part of Japanese Culture

The Japanese tea ceremony is a unique Japanese cultural tradition, which began in the 15th century. It has evolved and changed over the centuries, and today there are many different styles and schools of tea in Japan. Despite the various styles and schools of tea, they all share the same overall philosophy, which has been shaped by its origins in Zen Buddhism.

The guiding philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony rests on the principles:
'Wa'- Harmony
'Kei'- Respect
'Sei'- Purity
'Jaku'- Serenity

One of the key historical figures in the Japanese tea ceremony - Sen no Rikyu, is believed to have emphasized these principles in the development of the tea ceremony. Sen no Rikyu is credited with having developed all the steps in the tea ceremony and with turning it into a ritual which he passed down onto his students.

Sen no Rikyu emphasized the spirituality and the simplicity in the art of drinking green tea.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Today
Today the Japanese tea ceremony is still actively studied by students of all ages. There are tea ceremony clubs in high schools, cities and the countryside. Although the Japanese tea ceremony was restricted to only the wealthy in the past, today it is something everyone can take part in.
Apart from people studying the tea ceremony as an interest, they are also held to mark a special event (wedding) or time of the year (New Year). That is why, most Japanese people have experienced the tea ceremony, most likely by being a guest at one.

The Setting
The Japanese Tea Ceremony usually takes place in a traditional Japanese tatami room. A traditional tea room has a raised alcove at the front of the room, which is simply and elegantly decorated with a hanging scroll and a flower arrangement.

The hanging scroll usually has a simple poem written in Japanese calligraphy, which has been carefully chosen by the host to set the mood and atmosphere of the tea ceremony.

The Tea Ceremony Itself
There are many steps which the host will carry out during the tea ceremony. The most important thing for the host to do for the guests, is to create an atmosphere of tranquility and calm.

Initially the host will greet the waiting guests, by serving them some traditional Japanese sweets.

The host will then bring in the tea and tea utensils to be used in preparing the tea (There are many unique utensils used only in performing the Japanese tea ceremony).

The host will then tell the guests to relax, and enjoy their sweets while the tea is prepared.
During this time there are usually no words spoken, and the guest can observe the host preparing the tea.

Once the matcha green tea has been prepared, it is served to the guest.

The host will ask the guest 'How do you like the tea?', to which the guest replies saying 'It is very delcious'.

After all the guests have enjoyed and finished drinking the tea, the host cleans all the utensils and then invites the guests to hold and look at them. Each utensil including the tea container, the tea scoop and bowl are handmade by skilled craftsmen. At this time, the guest can ask the host questions about each utensil (artist, style etc.).

Finally, the host will take all the utensils and tea out of the tea room and thank the guests for coming, marking the end of the tea ceremony.

Brigita Feltham is the creator and owner of Infusious Tea. After spending over 3 years in Japan, green tea became a part of Brigita's daily lifestyle as it is for most Japanese people.

Brigita began to study tea ceremony and found out that not only does green tea have wonderful health benefits, but it also has a rich cultural tradition in Japan. Brigita would now like to share her knowledge and love of Japanese green tea.

If you would like more information on Japanese green tea visit:

Japan Green Tea

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