An extensive study on Chinese tea and its effects on telomeres conducted in Hong Kong a few years ago confirms the benefits of tea on telomere length and human longevity. According to published results of this study:
The researchers reported that telomere length was associated with tea drinking â€“ participants with the highest intake, three cups per day of tea, had longer telomeres than participants who drank an average of only one quarter of a cup of tea daily.
Green tea polyphenols (EGCG) have demonstrated the ability to extend the lifespan of heart cells when the heart is placed under considerable distress. In addition to lowering free radical damage and improving the function of antioxidant enzymes within the heart, these nutrients were shown to preserve telomeres and reduce heart cell death.
In a previous issue of Tea Tidings, we read about Emporer Xuanzong during the Tang Dynasty who summoned a centenarian herbalist called Chen Zangqi to court in order to ask him for the secret to his longevity. â€œTea,â€ replied the monk. â€œTea is my only medicine.â€ No doubt that monk had unusually long telomeres.
Tea has been cited throughout Chinese history as an elixir of longevity, particularly by monks, martial artists, and masters of medicine, and we have reviewed a lot of scientific evidence which verifies these claims, such as teaâ€™s potent anti-oxidant properties, alkalizing effects, digestive benefits, enhancement of nerve and brain functions, anti-cancer properties, and numerous other aspects. Now we find that tea directly promotes the longevity of the entire human organism by restoring the length of telomeres and thereby protecting the functional integrity of our entire DNA genome, which in turn naturally repairs damage to our cells, tissues, and vital organs.
Ever since the 18th century, when Chinese tea firmly established itself as the most popular beverage on earth, China has taken extraordinary measures to guard the secrets of tea production from the eyes of the outside world. As the worldâ€™s sole source of tea, China enjoyed a profitable monopoly on this precious product, and even after other countries discovered how to grow and process tea, the best Chinese plantations continued to protect their techniques from scrutiny by all competitors, and this secrecy continues today
Ironically, China itself is now beginning to cast probing eyes at Taiwanâ€™s flourishing tea plantations, in order to find out how they produce such high quality tea, particularly High Mountain Oolong, which many connoisseurs in China and elsewhere around the world prize as the finest tea on earth. While itâ€™s possible to visit some of Taiwanâ€™s better tea plantations, most of the top grade producers are closed to the public, and those that are open to outside visitors carefully restrict access to their internal production and processing facilities, in order to prevent leakage of even the slightest trade secret.
It therefore caused quite a tempest in Taiwanâ€™s teapot when four men from mainland China working at a distinguished tea plantation in the famous tea-growing region of Nan Tou County in central Taiwan were discovered taking photographs of internal production techniques and sending them back to mainland China with their mobile phones. Only one of the men was legally qualified to work in Taiwan; the other three came to Taiwan on the pretext of visiting relatives there.Under police interrogation, one of the workers admitted that a big tea company in Chinaâ€™s coastal city of Hsia-Men (â€œAmoyâ€) had paid him 20,000 yuan to come to Taiwan, find employment at a major tea plantation, and collect technical information, trade secrets, and photographs about Taiwanâ€™s tea production, and transmit the data back to the company in China. The case is still under investigation.
â€œJust Gotta Have-a, â€˜nother Cuppa of GABAâ€
If you ever you find yourself suffering from stress, nervous tension, depression, and insomnia, donâ€™t reach for prescription pharma drugs, which are addictive and have serious harmful side-effects. Instead, try steeping up a pot of our special GABA Tea, which is made by one of our original suppliers, the Lin Plantation, from their best grade of organic High Mountain Oolong tea.
Due to a unique processing method that involves several stages of fermentation in anaerobic conditions, this tea contains extraordinarily high amounts of a very bioavailable form of an amino acid called Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, commonly known as "GABA."
Here's what Drs. James & Phyllis Balch write about the benefits of GABA in their excellent reference book on health, Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing:
GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, aiding in proper brain function.GABA is formed in the body from another amino acid, glutamic acid. Its function is to decrease neuron activity and inhibit nerve cells from over-firing. It prevents anxiety and stress-related messages from reaching the motor centers of the brain.
GABA can be taken to calm the body in much the same way as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), and other tranquilizers, but without the fear of addiction [and without the toxic load of pharma drugs]. GABA has been used in the treatment of epilepsy and hypertension. It is good for suppressed sex drive because of its ability as a relaxant. It is also useful for enlarged prostate, probably because it plays a role in the mechanism regulating the release of sex hormones. GABA is effective in treating attention deficit disorder and may reduce cravings for alcohol. It is also thought to promote growth hormone secretion.
Thatâ€™s quite a pot full of health benefits for a natural medicine thatâ€™s as easy to prepare and safe to take as a cup of tea. It also agrees precisely with the results of extensive scientific studies conducted on this tea in Japan and Taiwan, where GABA Tea is now being successfully used to treat hypertension and high blood pressure, relieve depression and anxiety, and as a remedy for insomnia and restlessness, as well as many other chronic conditions.
Our GABA Tea from Lin Plantation is made with the best grade certified organic High Mountain Tea of the Classic Oolong variety. The unique fermentation process results in the natural synthesis of high amounts of GABA within the tea leaves. While many potent herbal medicines are distinguished by their very bitter flavor, this medicinal tea tastes as good as the best organic High Mountain Oolong,with its own unique nuances of fragrance and flavor.
Snow and I serve GABA Tea as a relaxant in our popular "Renew Your Lease on Life" integrated detoxification and regeneration programs in Thailand, Bali, Taiwan, and China, and as an antidote for the physical discomfort and mental malaise that fasting and detox sometimes produce. Itâ€™s an excellent natural remedy for all types of nervous tension, and also makes a very tasty tea for daily consumption after dinner, both for its digestive and its relaxant properties.
Youâ€™ll find it available at reasonable cost on our menu. Click here to go to the relevant section.
Since weâ€™ve been discussing some of the remarkable health benefits of tea in this issue, letâ€™s close with a few observations about teaâ€™s medicinal properties recorded by two of Chinaâ€™s most respected tea masters.
In The Classic Book of Tea, the Tang Dynasty master Lu Yu, revered as Chinaâ€™s patron saint of tea, wrote:
Tea is most suitable as a beverage for people of virtue. When your throat feels parched with thirst, and your energy lies stagnant; when your head aches, and your eyes are blurred and dry; when arms and legs are throbbing, and all your joints feel pain, taking four or five sips of tea, the sweet dew of Heaven, acts as an elixir that swiftly disperse all your symptoms.
During the Ming Dynasty, in his treatise The Canon of Tea, master Gu Yuan-Ching, wrote:
When one drinks true tea, it quenches thirst, digests food, eliminates inflammation, relieves fatigue, strengthens the kidneys, improves vision, enhances thought, soothes irritability, and clears the cloying taste of fats and sweets.Therefore, one should not pass a single day without drinking tea.