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What is 'Gunpowder' Green Tea?
What is Gunpowder Green Tea?
Gunpowder green tea is one of the green teas of China: it comes from the Fujian Province. It is called 'gunpowder' because the tightly rolled leaves look like pellets, and with the dark grayish color, it is said to resemble gunpowder (see image below). The taste is thick and strong with a hint of smoky flavor and a slight after taste.
Gunpowder green tea is also known as Pearl tea and Zhu Cha and is considered an everyday tea. It is the typical green tea of the West, largely due to it being one of the first high volume green teas exported from China. This tea is so common in Brooklyn, New York at the various African markets and restaurants. It is easy to find in loose tea form.
Once hot water is added to the tightly rolled tea leaves, they expand and open up. Like all the other green teas, gunpowder green tea has a multitude of health benefits. Also, Japanese researchers recently found that green tea is number one when it comes to fighting bad breath (halitosis)*.
The healthy ingredients in green tea are:
Catechins - this is the core compound. It has cancer reducing properites, reduces blood cholesterol, balances blood sugar, inhibits hypertension, and kills bacteria and virus. This ingredient also prevents bad breath (halitosis)
Fluoride - prevents cavities
Flavonoids - also prevents bad breath, and strengthens blood vessel walls
Polysaccharides - helps lower blood sugar
r-Amino Butyric Acid - helps lower blood pressure
Vitamin-B Complex - helps carbohydrate metabolism
Vitamin-C - prevents flu, strengthens the immune system and reduces stress
Vitamin-E - an antioxidant, helps regulate aging.
Theanine (amino acid) - this acid gives green tea its taste
Recent studies have shown green tea to have greater antioxidant protection than vitamins C and E. Both green tea and black tea come from the same tea plant (Camelia Sinensis) but green tea has been shown to be 6% more potent as an antioxidant.
Other benefits of green tea are said to be useful in:
- the prevention of colds and flu and the hastening of recovery
- aiding or preventing type-2 diabetes
- aiding sufferers of Parkinson's disease
- slowing the HIV infection process
- boosting the immune function of skin cells
- the relief and prevention of arthritis
- reducing the risk of stroke
- the prevention of osteoporosis
- reducing the DNA damage in smokers
- improving bone structure
- the prevention of blood clotting
- the control of body weight by increasing energy expenditure/has thermogenic properties which promote fat burning
Where to find the tea:
Gunpowder green tea can be found in Chinese, and Korean supermarkets. It can aslo be found in African markets and restaurants as it is the classic tea used in The Naa Naa Marcoaine and for The Senegalese. (In both cases the word The means tea but I do not have the appropriate French accent marks). Excellent quality gunpowder green tea can also be purchased in specialty shops and online.
*While a multitude of dental products, gum, mints, and foods are supposed to work as breath fresheners, Japanese researchers tested a variety of products and found only one winner: green tea. The secret is a chemical in the tea that also has antioxidant properties (e.g. catechins - the core compound, flavonoids).
Relax! Enjoy a cup of tea!
See links below for much more tea information
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