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Green tea has been used for centuries by traditional Chinese and Indian healers as a diuretic to rid the body of excess fluid, as an astringent to heal wounds, and as a stimulant to restore energy levels.
Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. These leaves can be brewed into a beverage or used to prepare an extract. Both preparations are effective as holistic medicines, though the extract contains more of the plant's active ingredients.
Recent scientific studies have confirmed the efficacy of green tea against a variety of health ailments including various types of cancer, gastrointestinal disorders and diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. There have been no scientific studies to date investigating the effectiveness of green tea extract for thyroid treatment. Green tea contains catechins and caffeine, however, and research confirms these substances stimulate the metabolism and burn fat. These properties can be extremely helpful for people suffering from hypothyroidism.
Green tea contains powerful antioxidant substances called polyphenols. Antioxidants are molecules that help protect the body against environmental toxins called free radicals.
Free radicals are molecularly unstable compounds that damage the body by grabbing electrons from the metabolic enzymes the body uses for proper cellular functioning. Scientists believe that free radicals may be responsible for many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease, as well as the ravages of aging. The polyphenols in green tea have been proven to neutralize free radicals, which prevents them from damaging the body.
The National Institutes of Health say green tea may be effective against many different types of cancer. Women who drink two or more cups of green tea every day, for example, had ovarian cancer rates that were 46 percent lower than those of women who did not drink green tea.
Scientific research also suggests that green tea reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Green tea also appears to be effective in the fight against hyperlipidemia, cervical dysplasia and orthostatic hypotension.
Several recent studies suggest that green tea may be effective in the management of diabetes. The University of Maryland is currently conducting a clinical trial to determine the effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on the body's response to insulin.
EGCG is one of the most common antioxidants found in green tea, and has been found to be effective in the treatment of HIV, cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome as well as other medical conditions.
New research released in the February 2013 issue of "Current Opinion in Lipidology" suggests that green tea lowers levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL), so-called "bad cholesterol." Meanwhile Brazilian scientists have performed animal studies that have found green tea helps protect the retina against damage caused by certain types of amino acid toxicities. Finally, animal studies coming out of China suggest that the polyphenols in green tea reduce the formation of fat deposits.
A growing body of scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of green tea as a medicine that can benefit many different types of illness.