Green Tea: Antioxidants in a Cup

Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-255


By Diana Rosen

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11 Reasons to Drink Green Tea
  1. Lowers the risk of cancer
  2. Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
  3. Improves dental health and bone density
  4. Improves the fight against flus and other viral diseases
  5. Prevents infection
  6. Strengthens capillaries
  7. Reduces cholesterol
  8. Is a natural diuretic
  9. Is refreshing and relaxing
  10. Helps focus and stimulates thinking
  11. Tastes great



I began my life in tea as most North Americans do, thinking of “real” tea as that golden red-brown liquid into which one pours a dollop of milk and a spoonful or more of sugar. As my circle of tea acquaintances grew, I was introduced to tea “plain,” and my appreciation grew to embrace the briskness of a Ceylon, the dark sweetness of a Yunnan black, the complexity of a genuine single-estate Darjeeling.

With great fortune, my first experiences with green tea were ideal, for I was introduced by an avid and experienced Chinese teaman who served me in his own authentic Chinese teahouse. Tea was offered in a covered cup, curved slightly inward to fit even the smallest hands and placed atop a matching saucer that kept the hot cup from harming the hands. A domed lid was used as a paddle to push the fresh green leaves back and forth until they gave up their sweetness and provided me with their ambrosial nectar.

I was in love. I quickly and enthusiastically embraced the Chinese styles of preparation, acquiring the accoutrements one by one until my tea cabinet was full of their beauty.

The more I drank green tea, the more appreciative I was. The more varieties I experienced, the more astonished I became that this innocent leaf could be dried, steamed, or lightly pan-fired, and shaped in countless ways, always with the same result — pure pleasure. It was easy to understand the teaman’s demands for beauty both in the dried state and in the infused leaf.

The Everyday Pleasure of Tea

The Chinese greet friends with, “Have you leisure time to have tea with me?” The result will be relaxed, happy hours drinking your favorite teas while talking, perhaps engaging in a clattering mah-jongg game or listening to finches chirp sweetly as they swing in bamboo cages hanging from the ceiling of the teahouse. If you are really fortunate, you may stumble into a teahouse where traditional storytellers spin their centuries-old tales, which are sometimes more intoxicating than wine!

For the Japanese, green tea is an everyday pleasure drunk with morning rice (or even poured over it), served with other meals and to visitors, and, on important occasions, served much more elegantly at the formal tea ceremony called chanoyu. This way of tea never ceases to transport me, to offer a long-lasting spiritual vacation, to take me to a place of calm and serene attitude that derives solely from watching the ballet of chanoyu, in which the simplicity of water and leaf is elevated to pure art.

For the Vietnamese, Indonesians, and those in other tea-growing countries in the Pacific Rim, green tea is the everyday tea, ranging from the straightforward, even blunt taste of a roughly processed green to that world of savoring just beyond exquisite that comes from drinking the most cherished, most tenderly handled teas in the world.

To the Nepalese, Indians, and Sri Lankans, especially those dedicated to organic tea farming, their green teas bring many health-giving properties and nearly infinite tasting pleasures, without sacrificing the indescribable qualities that make the Nepalese, Indian, and Ceylonese teas endlessly satisfying to the palate.

The Ten Virtues of Tea

Myo-ei Shonin of Togano-o once wrote on his kettle what he considered the virtues of tea:

1. Has the blessing of all the deities

2. Promotes filial piety

3. Drives away the devil

4. Banishes drowsiness

5. Keeps the five viscera* in harmony

6. Wards off disease

7. Strengthens friendships

8. Disciplines body and mind

9. Destroys passions

10. Gives a peaceful death

*The liver is said to like acid taste, the lungs pungent, the heart bitter, the spleen sweet, and the kidneys salt.

Is Green Tea Really Good for You?

Happily, I can say that not only is tea enjoyable, it’s good for you. For centuries, China has praised the health benefits of its native plant. Scientists around the world have researched and examined the leaf exhaustively, and they feel now that they know some of the reasons this simple beverage does so much. Tea provides benefits for bones and teeth. Its vital chemical compounds have been found to fight cancer, help stabilize diabetes, and do much to prevent cardiovascular disease. Tea can even make your skin healthier and prettier.

And the most beneficial, most healthful tea is the barely processed leaf from the Camellia sinensis bush — green tea.


On Sale
Jul 1, 2000
Page Count
32 pages

Diana Rosen

Diana Rosen

About the Author

Diana Rosen has a special interest in the traditions of world cultures and practices that enhance spirituality in everyday life. Her books include The Book of Green Tea, Chai, Steeped in Tea, and Taking Time for Tea.

Learn more about this author