Hot and cold green tea remain popular beverages for health-conscious people, but a little-known fact is that the botanical also comes in supplement form. If you find the taste of green tea bitter, or are looking for a non-caffeinated source of the herb, you may find that green tea pills offer a more convenient delivery system. Always check with your doctor before taking them to minimize the risk of drug interactions and side effects.
As with black and oolong teas, green tea comes from the plant Camellia sinesis. Farmers process the leaves differently for each of the major types of tea. Green tea leaves receive the least amount of processing and fermenting, which seems to leave more of its antioxidant properties intact, according to MedlinePlus. Green tea pills, also known as supplements or extracts, contain the dried leaf. Caffeine-free versions of green tea pills are preferable, unless you are specifically looking to use the product to improve mental alertness. Ask your doctor for recommended doses of either caffeinated or caffeine-free green tea supplements.
The leaves of green tea contain compounds called polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. As with fruits and vegetables containing antioxidant vitamins, green tea is increasingly popular for its potential ability to lower the risk of disease and to fight conditions relating to aging, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Green tea appears to have more powerful antioxidant properties than even vitamin C, UMMC notes.
According to UMMC, green tea extract performed well in studies studying there herb's ability to lowering the risk of cancer. It may also contain disease by killing existing cancer cells, UMMC notes. Among the cancers which green tea may help to fight are breast cancer, bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer. Like other antioxidants, green tea appears to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Finally, the extract's anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful alternative medicine for irritable bowel disease and arthritis.
Green tea may help fight conditions that are both cosmetic and health issues, according to UMMC. The medical website points to promising weight loss research linking green tea extract to raising the body's metabolism and fat-burning abilities. The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine notes that the extract's antioxidant properties, which protect cells from environmental toxins, includes some potential for shielding skin from sun damage. The caffeine in green tea also helps some people stay alert.
Your physician remains the best source of advice about using herbal supplements to address your health concerns. Research is ongoing concerning whether green tea pills are miracle drugs or simply mildly healthy. Even respected medical institutions may differ on the issue. UMMC states that green tea definitely has properties which help prevent cancer, and may actually prevent it. The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine, on the other hand, states that research is still too laboratory-based, with not enough human trials to draw conclusions about the issue of preventing or protecting against cancer.